Are apprenticeships a good alternative to university?

Are apprenticeships a good alternative to university?

Chantel, 18, has recently joined Parenta and is doing a business administration apprenticeship. Here, she gives her honest opinion on what she thinks the benefits of not going to university are:

University isn’t for everyone.

It’s that time of year where students are applying to prospective universities; the majority are twiddling their thumbs wondering whether they should or shouldn’t go. It has become common knowledge that, over the last few years, education fees are increasing dramatically; making it harder for students to go away to university and there is a lot of pressure on alternative routes as not being substantial enough to get them very far.

In recent years, the apprenticeship scheme has become increasingly popular with 55,000 18-year-olds opting for apprenticeships last year.

As someone who has already been through the system this year, I wholeheartedly understand the pressures that come with the next coming months. My decision to apply and go to university was not of complete choice, I conformed to the pressures of modern day education, although I liked the idea, I knew deep down university was not for me.

After battling with living at university, moving back home, essays, travelling, family and finances (yes it is harder than you think) 6 weeks later  I finally decided to hang up my cap and gown and leave. I’d love to be able to say something clichéd like ‘it was the hardest thing I ever had to do,’ but in actual fact since starting my apprenticeship at Parenta I can honestly say I am a lot happier.

Apprenticeships enable you to work alongside people who have the necessary experience and have already been through the learning process, therefore they become friends as well as colleagues that you can rely on and go to with questions, as opposed to professors who you only correspond with via email and often find intimidating and domineering. As well as this, apprenticeships are an interactive way to learn everything you need to succeed in your desired role, whilst also providing you with all the essential experience.

Unlike going to university, where your free time is consumed with essays or working to pay the extortionate fees, in an apprenticeship, when you clock out your time is yours, there is no wasting time walking from lecture to lecture, you can go home to your friends and family at the end your shift and you’ll be getting paid for the time you have been there rather than juggling work with essay writing.

The most important thing to bear in mind when you’re making your final decision is unless you want to be a doctor, university is not an obligation and even after 3 years dedication there is no guaranteed job at the end of it. With an apprenticeship, often the role is yours after a mere year provided you’re dedicated and work hard.

Would you like to find out more about doing an Apprenticeship? 



Why GCSE requirements will cause childcare costs to rise further

Why GCSE requirements will cause childcare costs to rise further

There’s no shortage of reports highlighting rising childcare costs. Recently, a study by the Family and Childcare Trust (formerly the Daycare Trust) showed that part-time childcare is now costing most families more than their mortgage or monthly food bill.

A few weeks earlier, we reported that the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) had published findings showing that 500,000 mothers could be out of work because the childcare on offer is expensive and inflexible.

Parents are struggling to afford care for their young children and childcare settings, in the majority of cases, certainly can’t afford to cut prices.

That’s why the announcement that entrants to Early Years’ Level 3 educator training courses will need to hold GCSE’s in English and Mathematics at grade C or above, has come as somewhat of a surprise to many in the industry.

In theory, the aim to raise the overall quality of literacy and numeracy of those joining the workforce is a good idea. You’d hope that competency would be passed down to the children.

In practice, however, it’s hard to see how this won’t cause some problems. At Parenta, the overwhelming majority of entrants to childcare courses (we have around 1500 learners at any one time) take functional skills tests because they don’t have A-C grades.

These functional skills tests still ensure a level of competency, but also give a second chance to those who may have not performed well on the day they took their exam. And, in a number of cases, that exam was taken years ago.

As those that work in settings will know, there is a lot more to caring for and nurturing young children than can be assessed in an academic qualification. And there’s a lot more to education than English and Maths.

With higher-qualified staff come higher wage bills. Instead of developing staff, those with GCSEs will be more sought after and command higher salaries. This, in turn, will lead to higher fees for parents. Some nurseries already look for strong academic grades and, in an ideal world, it’s understandable that a combination of personality and academic achievement would be sought after. Others, however, aren’t in the financial position to do so, or simply don’t have enough of these types of candidate available locally.

Surely, the key for parents is to know that their children are in safe hands, on their way to a good education and to becoming well-rounded human beings. Is this new requirement the way to achieve this? Or will it just prevent some fantastic child carers from developing careers? Leave your comments below.

View our blog for more valuable news and information affecting the Childcare Sector.

Early years apprenticeship bursary doubled to £3,000

Early years apprenticeship bursary doubled to £3,000

Two hundred early years apprentices will benefit from an increased bursary of £3,000 - up from £1,500 - with a further £300 available for training and study as part of the government’s drive to attract high-quality candidates to the profession.

The bursaries, announced in May this year, are available to those taking part in an early years apprenticeship scheme which offers a high-quality route to becoming an early years educator, the modern equivalent of the highly respected nursery nurse diploma. The first 200 successful applicants to the bursary scheme will secure the increased award of £3,000.

Evidence shows that gaps in educational attainment between the most disadvantaged children and those from wealthier backgrounds are already well established before children reach school. We know that qualified and highly skilled leadership is the best way to improve outcomes for these children, by raising standards and ensuring that all young children receive the best possible start in life.

In ‘More great childcare’, the government set out its plans to increase the number of skilled staff working in the early years, and to improve qualifications so that parents and providers have greater confidence in the calibre of people teaching young children.

Elizabeth Truss, Childcare and Education Minister, said:

"Caring for and educating young children requires great skills and specific experience. I hope the increased bursaries announced today encourage more talented people to start a career in early education, which can be a fantastically rewarding job.

Research shows that a third of children are starting school without basic language and communication skills - in poorer areas, this rises to more than a half. Knowledgeable and experienced staff, such as the new early years educators, will play a vital role in providing good quality early years education to ensure that all children - no matter what their starting point in life - develop the skills they need for learning."

To be eligible, applicants will need to secure an apprenticeship position in a nursery, school nursery, or children’s centre that delivers the early learning places for 2-year-olds and hold at least a GCSE, at grade C or above, in English and Maths.

Parenta are one of the UK's leading specialist childcare training providers, and can help you find the right apprenticeship for you, as well as guiding you through the bursary application.  If you, or your staff, need to take your next career step, just let us know by completing the relevant form below.

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