Teenagers, Young people, Education, Advice, Apprenticeships, University

Uni Vs. Apprenticeships

Most schools and colleges act as though the only option post-school is university. And who can blame them? Apprenticeships are only for things like carpentry and hairdressing, right? Wrong.

Although degrees are extremely useful and respected by employers, something that is equally – if not more – important, is experience. With university + social life taking up most hours out of the week, a lot of university students don’t have time or energy for a job, therefore they leave uni at minimum age 21 with a degree but little/no experience. This often leads to them starting off at the bottom of the pile all over again. On top of this, they are left in thousands of pounds of debt from their student loans.

Now, this is not at all to put anyone off going to uni; it is a fantastic experience and extremely valuable, and necessary for certain careers. However, it is not for everyone, and it is certainly not the only way to get a qualification.

Apprenticeships have advanced a lot in recent years, with a lot of money now being put into them, and you can now get a degree from them – on top of the experience you get! And there are apprenticeships in almost every career out there: accounting, journalism, business, marketing, law, education etc.

In addition, as most apprenticeships are only a year long – unless you get offered a job at the end – you could still go to university afterwards. Apprenticeships are a good way of seeing if that career is right for you and getting experience which would look good on your personal statement, especially if you have never studied a subject close to the career you want to go in to (e.g. marketing, which you can’t study in school or college). Universities like to see that you have done something which shows you are passionate about the subject you will be studying. Moreover, for someone who is uncertain of the career they want to go into, the average £40,000 cost of 3 years of university (for tuition and maintenance fees combined) is an exorbitant amount of money; there is no point in spending that much money “just because”. Apprenticeships also suit people who prefer to learn by doing, rather than by theoretical learning.

And you get paid, instead of ending up in more debt! Granted, the minimum wage for apprenticeships is only £3.50 an hour for the first year, but they are also paying for your qualification, and some companies pay a fair bit more than the minimum. It’s also a good way to save up a bit before going to uni. You could earn up to £10,000 per year instead of spending £9000 a year on tuition.

How apprenticeships work:

Technically, in an apprenticeship you will have a job. You will have an interview and work for the company as any other employee. However, it is slightly different as on either 2 days a week, or in a block of a few weeks, you will go to a college or education centre to learn your qualification, which will link in with what you are doing at work. Your employer won’t expect you to know everything at first, but they are there to support you. According to QA Apprenticeships’ research, 94% of those who do apprenticeships though QA go on to have a full time job once the apprenticeship is finished, and 100% are satisfied with their job.

Whatever you choose to do post-college, it is important to know all of your options and not be rushed or pressured into a decision by family/friends/societal expectations.

Here is a link to the government website with a list of all possible apprenticeships at all different skill levels: https://www.findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk/apprenticeshipsearch

Here are some apprenticeship providers:

QA Apprenticeships: http://apprenticeships.qa.com/

AIM Apprenticeships: http://www.aimapprenticeships.co.uk

3AAA: https://3aaa.co.uk/

Here is another good post on the topic:

https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/66040468/posts/1851

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Politics, Teenagers, Uncategorized, Young people

5 ways you can get involved in politics right now

Too many times, people assume that teenagers are only interested in sex, social media and drinking. But what can you do if you are a teenager or in your twenties and actually want to make a difference?

1. Read a newspaper.

Whether you go to your nearest WHSmiths or Newsagents to pick up a paper or just read articles online, you can find out so much about politics. I would recommend reading from a variety of sources as all papers are biased in some way, and you want to form your own opinion on politics rather than believe whatever a certain paper tells you. Try The Guardian, The Economist, The Daily Mail, The Independent, and The Times, and see how the same stories are portrayed in different ways.

2. Join a political party.

It can cost less than you may think. Some political parties you can join for as little as £1 per year, and you don’t even need to be a British citizen. There are concessions for younger members and all of the main parties offer concessions to low earners and/or the unemployed; many additionally offer large discounts to members of the armed forces.

14-19 year olds and members of the Armed Forces can join the Labour party where in their first year they only pay £1. From ages 20-26 you pay £12 per year. A standard membership to the Labour party will cost you £46.56 per annum, unless you are retired, unemployed, a member of an affiliated trade union or you work under 16 hours per week, where you pay only £23.52. If you don’t want to do that, you can become a ‘registered supporter’ for a one-off minimum fee of £3 if, say, you wanted to be able to vote on their new leader.

Students and people under 26 can join the Liberal Democrats for £1 in their first year, and £6 in the years following that. Those on state benefits (with the exception of child benefit and state pensions) are also charged £6/annum. The standard fee is £12 a year.

If you are under 23, you can become a member of the Conservative party for only £5, or anyone can become a “supporter” for £1. Their standard membership fee is £25.

If you are under 22, you can get a one year membership to UKIP for £2. If you are a member of the Armed Forces you can join for £5 a year. However, the standard fee if you are over 22 is £30 per year.

Students can join the Green Party for £5 a year and for low income earners, the fee is £10.50 per year. The standard fee is £31 per year.

But what do you get for this money?

You can…

  • Stand for office in that party
  • Vote to select the candidates for your local MP
  • Vote in the party’s leadership elections
  • Receive newsletters from your political party constituency
  • Receive invites to local events and campaign communications from the national party

You may also receive special access to a members website or be offered exclusive discounts. Some parties also allow members to have a say on party policies.

3. Sign/start petitions.

Websites like change.org make it easy for you to start your own petition, or sign ones you agree with. You can also share the links on social media to increase their popularity. All petitions with over 10,000 signatures receive a response from the government, and those with over 100,000 signatures will be considered for debate in Parliament. If you pay a specific amount of money, your petition will be shown to a number of potential supporters, but actually signing and starting petitions is free.

4. Email your local MP.

If there is a particular issue you feel strongly about, email your local MP or even the Prime Minister.

5. Join a pressure group.

Pressure groups are organisations which campaign for changes in the law or new legislation in specific areas. As such, they can have a strong influence on public opinion and voting behaviour.

There are hundreds of pressure groups in the UK, tackling issues from animal welfare to LGBTQ+ rights. Cause or “promotional” pressure groups are open to all and therefore the easiest for you to join.

To join Greenpeace, for example, all you need to do is go on their website, click on “join the movement” and then tell them your name and email address.

Thanks for reading my first blog post, guys! I hope it helped some of you and I plan on writing many different blog posts in the future; not just on politics 🙂