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From JP Morgan To Great Ormond Street Hospital: Apprentices On How Your Child Could Start Their Career In An Incredible Workplace

We’re talking debt-free training and entry into the country’s most competitive professions.
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The initial screams, shocks and celebrations of A Level results day are over. And, unless they’ve got it all mapped out, the 18 year olds in your household are probably assessing their options.

Whether they got the grades they wanted, but have deferred their place at uni to take a gap year, are keen to get right into work or missed the mark with their results, it’s an idea to get apprenticeships on their radar.

Workplaces all over the country, from top tier city law firms to leading finance institutions, innovative technology outfits and NHS Trusts are providing on-and-off-the-job training alongside a salary - and the promise of the turbocharged employability that such experience could bring.

HuffPost UK chatted to some young people who are thriving on their apprenticeships. Here’s some thoughts on the advice they’d give to their peers thinking about their next move.

Tai Ahmed, 20, apprentice at Dentons UK and Middle East LLP, London

I knew I wanted to be a solicitor and applied to uni - I had offers from Bristol and UCL to study law, which I had deferred, because I wanted to do a gap year. I ended up coming across my apprenticeship with legal firm Dentons when I was browsing on the Internet. I saw that I could qualify by working alongside some of the best lawyers in the world without getting into debt and while getting a salary. It takes six years to qualify and, at the end, I’ll have an LLB [a law degree] and an LPC [the vocational course that’s taken after a law degree, to go on to qualify as a solicitor]. My family thought it was too good to be true!

I applied online, then did a critical thinking aptitude test, then a video interview and then came in for an in-person meeting. I started last September and I’ve already grown a lot. I came with no knowledge of the law and now I feel comfortable in the department. I’d say that the biggest challenge is adapting to office life straight from school. Life as a lawyer in the city is intense, with long hours - but I’ve gotten used to it.

I’d encourage people who’ve got their results to think about their end goal. What do you want in your career? Is there a route to get there faster, or to make you a better professional at the end?

Olivia Wheeler, 19, apprentice at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust, Colchester (commutes to London)

Olivia Wheeler

When I was in college, I knew I wanted to do an apprenticeship next, so I researched them on the Government’s ‘Find an Apprenticeship’ website. There, I found my business admin apprenticeship at Great Ormond Street Hospital, which I thought was the best fit. I applied online, then went to an assessment day, then to an interview and then was offered the position.

Honestly, it’s the best life decision I’ve ever made. I’ve had some incredible opportunities. I joined the Young Apprentice Ambassadors Network, which is made up of past and present apprentices and promotes apprenticeships to parents, young people and companies and was selected as the events lead, which is great as I want to go into events management.

I submitted a piece to policy research organisation the Learning and Work Institute, which they published in a collection of essays titled: ‘All Change: Where Next For Apprenticeships’ - and which led to me being invited to speak at an event at the House of Commons.

I’d advise young people to research apprenticeships - I had no idea about all of the big companies that offer them.

Afeefa Ali, 22, apprentice at Lloyds Banking Group, Preston (commutes to Chester)

Afeefa Ali

My dad did an apprenticeship in engineering at the National Grid, so I’d known about them from a young age. I’m also the type of person that would rather apply my learning rather than do theory work. So, while I had an offer to study Medicine at Sheffield Uni, I was desperate for an apprenticeship. I went on a website called Not Going To Uni and applied for some that I found on there - including my Lloyds one, which I found the most attractive because of the
qualifications you could receive. My mum ‘ummed and arred’ at the time, but now, she’s so proud of what I’ve achieved.

I work in Chester and travel to London once every two weeks for a couple of days. I’ll have been here for four years in October - I started when I was 19. In that time, I’ve gained the APM Project Management Qualification and have been promoted into a project manager role. I’m also a BME [Black and minority ethnic] reach advocate across the industry for apprentices and deliver school
and college talks. The biggest challenge? Probably the age gap between you and some colleagues when you first join.

To young people considering their options, I’d say, apprenticeships are available in almost every industry now, from finance to engineering, in all of the big corporations. Do the research, get in touch with your local national apprenticeship ambassadors and ask them questions.

Harry Wright, 21, apprentice at JP Morgan, Bournemouth

Harry Wright

I had always imagined going to uni, but, when it came to results day, the expectations set for me (and by me) weren’t matched with the reality. I had offers - albeit not from my first choice - but I didn’t feel engaged with the idea of going. I had met some of the team from JP Morgan at careers events, and I also knew someone else who had previously completed the apprenticeship there. I liked the idea of learning a trade but studying on top and getting qualifications.

I’ve gained my Investment Operations Certificate from the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investments and, now, I’ve moved onto a second degree equivalent apprenticeship with the company. Plus, I was named valedictorian for my cohort of apprentices. I’m earning rather than paying, too, which is nice.

My parents presumed I would go to university, and were surprised when I told them I didn’t think that would be the best thing for me, but their opinions have changed as a result of seeing all the opportunities I’ve been given. They’ve even gone as far as to say that if [modern] apprenticeships were around when they were younger, they would have looked into going down this route.

The advice I’d give to people who’ve just got their results? Don’t panic and rush into things. I took three days to discuss everything with my school and family after receiving mine. Also, I didn’t relocate, but I know people who did for their apprenticeships, if you want that feeling of living in halls.

To find out more about apprenticeships go to: There are
thousands of live vacancies. Could there be one, just right for your child?