National Apprenticeship Week: Creating unique opportunities for on-the-job training
This newspaper's publisher Johnston Press is among the thousands of companies working with colleges and training providers to offer apprenticeships in a huge range of industries.
In the not-so-distant past, apprenticeships were limited to the construction and engineering trades - but in recent years opportunities have expanded to include a variety of job sectors, covering literally hundreds of different roles.
It also used be that apprenticeships were looked down on as being for non-academics only, though mercifully, this is a thoroughly outdated view.
These days, most apprentices, if not all, are assessed by their learning provider and their company, as well as completing regular coursework and revising to pass exams.
The vast majority of modern apprenticeships are paid, and have significant benefits for both the individual and the employer.
An individual gains nationally recognised qualifications while working for an employer; the employer, in turn, benefits from a willing-to-work employee who can learn on the job.
The rise in university tuition fees, coupled with the Government’s focus on creating rigorous and quality schemes, means that apprenticeships are fast becoming an attractive route into employment.
From animal care to administration, fencing to floristry, horticulture to housing and games testing to journalism, there’s an apprenticeship to suit your needs.
Time was when an apprenticeship meant training to become a skilled tradesman of some description - plumber, electrician or builder for instance.
In recent years, though, apprenticeships have gone mainstream, with just about every industry imaginable offering young people on-the-job training.
What this means is that there are plenty of unique opportunities out there for anyone who wants to gain workplace experience.
Some modern apprenticeships you may not have heard of include crime scene photographer, playworker, chocolatier, equine dentistry, radio plugger and space engineer.
Johnston Press South Advanced Content team manager Neil Pickford, whose team work with the company’s apprentices, said: “We are delighted to be offering our apprentices a chance to get into what remains a fantastic industry.
“Times have changed in the 25 years since I started out as a trainee reporter, but working in the media as a journalist remains as exciting, and perhaps even more challenging, than ever.
“Not only do we provide news, views and local information in print, we now do it through social media and the internet, and often as it happens through breaking stories online and through new mediums such as Facebook Live.
“Our apprentices will get a fantastic grounding in the industry and I wish them well for the future.”
To find out more about apprenticeships visit www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/national-apprenticeship-week-2018-naw-2018
:: Keep an eye out during the week for interviews with the individual apprentices about their time with us.