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Be an apprentice in the recession

Published on: 18 Jun 2009

Anthony Trainor is a part-time Building Engineering BSc student at the University Of Westminster and a apprentice mechanical engineer in building services at Lorne Stewart. He says being a modern apprentice will get you valuable work experience which will also help with your studies.

Westminster University construction students at Constructionarium
Westminster University construction students at Constructionarium

The economic recession has made it hard to find work. However, as a modern apprentice, companies are often obliged to keep you employed until you are qualified.

They may also provide funds that can help you complete your studies. This could mean paying for your tuition fees with some companies also funding travel and stationery expenses.

Some councils also encourage apprenticeships in the forms of grants.

Most importantly, while you are completing the course, you will be gaining valuable experience on the work front, which will also help with your studies.

Although initially a company will probably only offer a minimum wage, with good results and progress at work, you may even get a yearly increase.

Many companies adopt a day release programme which allows you to go to work for four days out of the five for you to attend classes.

Although, this could mean using some of your holiday entitlement for studying and coursework.

Other companies offer a block release, so that you spend around six months at your university or college and six months working as a full-time employee.

Either way it is vital to stay on top of your work and studies as failing either could lead to unemployment.

The downside is that it’s not always easy sacrificing your own time in order to succeed.

Plus, at times you will be dealing with clients' problems and coursework at the same time. You will also have to fit in lectures, and sometimes even re-sits!

With many companies looking to save money at this difficult time, a lot of companies will not be hiring for some time. However, apprentices are the way forward, as they aren't expensive and if taught correctly and by the right people, they can be the people to engineer the way forward.

In my opinion, apprentices will have the upper hand over full-time students, as they will have hands-on knowledge.