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Why I chose the apprenticeship route #NAW2018


It is currently National Apprenticeship Week (#NAW2018) across England, which celebrates the success of apprenticeship schemes, whilst encouraging even more individuals to consider this option as the next step towards their ideal career.

Apprenticeships offer a great alternative to university, with qualifications ranging from intermediate level (GCSE equivalent), all the way up to degree level.

Many would consider university the ‘only way’ of gaining a qualification towards a long-term career – however, as an individual who has experienced both this route and who is currently pursuing an apprenticeship, I believe the power that lies within the latter is often underestimated.

Last September, I started a degree in Fashion and Textile Design at the University of Portsmouth, as I believed this was the obvious next step in working towards a career. Unsure of what I wanted to do long- term, I picked an area I believed I would be interested in, and one in which I was familiar, having studied textiles previously.

However, it soon became apparent that this wasn’t the correct decision for me, and – after researching other alternatives within higher education that were available to me – I decided to withdraw from university and apply for an apprenticeship in PR and communications at OxLEP.

The apprenticeship concept appeals to me, as – whilst still gaining a recognised qualification – I feel the benefit of working within a professional environment and the ‘earn-while-you-learn’ approach is more suited to me personally.

I also believe the effort I put in and my ability to apply myself to any role to the best of my ability is of more merit to me, making an apprenticeship more likely to highlight my strengths.

Having been successful in my application, I am currently working towards a Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship qualification in PR and Communications.

I have always had an interest in public relations; the power of reputation and how channels such as social media can be used to present a brand. However – I didn’t realise this was an area that could be pursued through the apprenticeship format.

I am now in my second week working for OxLEP, where I am thoroughly enjoying my role and would urge any individuals and businesses unsure about what an apprenticeship can do for them to fully-research and consider this area.

I believe apprenticeships to be hugely-beneficial, as well as a worthy alternative to university.

Leona Weston
PR and Communications Apprentice – OxLEP