No matter how much you think you're prepared for these opportunities, there are always things that surprise you. As school leavers around the country prepare to collect their A-Level and GCSE results this month, I thought I'd share my advice and what I wish I knew before starting my apprenticeship.
For too long, a stigma clouded apprenticeships. But now that stigma has gone. A degree is no longer the only route that the ambitious and capable can take on their way to fulfilling their potential. Apprenticeships are a wholly viable option. A-Level leavers must make the choice that is right for them as individuals.
Good luck to students who receive their A Level results today. If you have achieved your aims, good on you. If not, please do not despair. The longer you live, the less important they will be. Take it from me, the exam results you achieve at school are no criteria for a successful career.
Ask questions, see if you can speak to past or present apprentices. Gather knowledge. It is not all about the money either. Remembering that there is more to a job than salary and benefits will help you, the candidate, make the right choice. A key question to ask any potential employer is about the opportunities at the end of the training period.
This year over 90 businesses from across the country were given a chance to showcase their Apprenticeship programme, and bring benefits to local people through the community challenges they undertook. Teams also raised around £35,000 as part of the Challenge and are helping to recruit the future generation of apprentices.
You might think that, like me, you have to come from a farming background to succeed in the industry, but that's not the case at all. Young people from all backgrounds can make a success of it, especially those that have an interest in science, business and technology.
Our research further highlighted that outdated views are still prevalent with nearly half of parents (48 per cent) thinking that apprenticeships are geared more towards boys than girls and almost a third (32 per cent) thinking they are for less academically able young people. This is certainly not the case.
In real life, the moral universe is rarely as clear-cut as respectable doctors vs murderers. It's about the subtle slide into the pit and the fact that often, there's something to enjoy on the way down. If there weren't something in it for us, we wouldn't go there in the first place.
Grammar is drilled into us at school with rules that don't make sense. So what hope do we have? In writing, we make mistakes that we'd never make in speech. This is the clue. Verbs are tricky, even nightmarish if you get up close.
Last year, I think my favourite mother-wanting-to-share-news was to be found in Curry's, I wandered the aisle looking for batteries and spied the lady, hovering, patiently by the wide screen TV's. She caught my eye we exchanged smiles and bang! She practically shouted at me, whilst pointing at the screen, 'Oh BBC!' I gave a small nod. She wasn't done.