Benefits of Higher Apprenticeships: My Experience
Written by Amy Bowyer, Essential Skills Wales Internal Quality Assurer at itec Skills and Employment.
In 2019, I began my Management L4 higher apprenticeship following a promotion to leading a team and managing the Essential Skills for the Apprenticeship department at my company. I really enjoyed working on the assignments and gathering the evidence from my role for my framework; I found it interesting to understand how my role fitted in with the occupational standards. Here are some of the key benefits I experienced whilst completing my higher apprenticeship.
Completing the higher apprenticeship alongside my job, training for and competing in dressage and raising a young child wasn’t easy but has been so worthwhile. I have now evidenced professional skills and experience which I can use for my future career and to support my colleagues also. Some of my time doing my higher apprenticeship was through the first lockdown in 2020; meaning a whole new way of working and adapting to life on Zoom! This, however, also gave me lots to write about for my qualification – what better than a once in a lifetime event to learn new skills quickly and give evidence for a qualification!
Develop New Skills
The management higher apprenticeship has allowed me to realise the importance of speaking up as needed to resolve a problem or reach an understanding. I am quite shy by nature so have found speaking up difficult in the past. Completing the higher apprenticeship has boosted my confidence and given me the theoretical knowledge as well as the practical skills needed for my role. I feel it has made me a better leader as I have a wider understanding of my team and colleagues and the challenges they are facing and how to support them.
Higher Apprenticeships are a great alternative to university, offering qualifications up to degree level, without the extortionate tuition fees. Higher Apprentices typically split their time between college and the workplace. With lower-level apprenticeships they are employed throughout, and the cost of the fees are shared between government and their employer, meaning not only are you saving money by doing a higher apprenticeship, so will your employer! These savings are also usually transferred to the apprentice, through the means of an increased monthly wage.
I would highly recommend apprenticeships to anyone looking for a change in career, starting out in a career or leaving school. Having done both university and a higher apprenticeship, I can see the benefits of each. But if you want real-life experience and a qualification, apprenticeships are definitely worth it, the added bonus being free from a student loan upon completion!