Having been an apprentice, I am now very aware that there are a considerable amount of people out there with a negative view of Apprenticeships - whether that is through a bad experience or through just hearing the ever-changing Chinese whispers that get thrown around regarding Apprenticeships. Trust me, the Apprenticeship experience is simply only a positive one.
The importance of your digital profile can't be overlooked. It can propel you into the stratosphere of cyberfame within minutes, as the two chaps above know well. More realistically, a complete, professional, grammatically-correct digital profile can give you a huge advantage when it comes to recruitment.
If I read the words 'team player' one more time, I'm going to scream. We're hiring at work. And everyone who applies is dedicated and conscientious, and strategic, and tactical, and organised... and dull. Nigh on every CV sounds exactly the same (no-one tell us they're a lazy misanthrope who can't multitask, strangely - though I'd be tempted to interview them).
Ten years on from leaving school choosing an Apprenticeship was the best and most important decision I made. In addition to "earn while you learn" benefits, Apprenticeships deliver true life skills like no other programme and develop you as a person. For employers who wouldn't want passionate, determined, dynamic, creative, energetic people in their organisation?
I am such a massive convert to the business value in Apprenticeships - I just want to shout about it and make more businesses realise the opportunity and see more young people realising their potential. It seems that finally more people are cottoning on to the value of being an apprentice, but we just need more businesses to take it on.
A company culture is often created by a single person: the company founder. It is a set of values and behaviours that employees are asked to buy into in order to be successful at that company. If "done well" the company culture can bring many benefits. A positive company culture gives clients and customers a strong brand to identify with; it helps employees understand what success and achievement looks like, and gives them clear goals.
I don't advocate employing candidates that you are unsure of, and taking a gamble with peoples's livelihoods and careers. However, it can definitely pay dividends to use the probation period as an extension of the selection process. It benefits both the employer and employee to treat the first three-month's probation as a final interview.
Today's job market is tough. And there's no reason to imagine that it's going to get any easier any time soon. There's only one reliable way to get a job. We all know what it is, and mainly we try to ignore it, because it feels uncomfortable. It's about going out there, talking to people and making new contacts.
Whether the economy is booming or stumbling along, taking charge of your career and planning your next step should always be a priority. You can't wait for your genius to be benevolently discovered - the bottom line is that no one is as interested in your career, your talents, your aspirations as you are.
The distinction between voluntary involvement and enforced quotas is a very important one. Though well-intentioned, the introduction of quotas can lead to accusations of tokenism, and create resentment and tension amongst the workforce - in particular given the implication that positive discrimination in favour of one group will inevitably result in negative discrimination against another.