From younger people starting out in their careers, to well-established workers, the pandemic has sparked a significant change in career direction for thousands of people, and apprenticeships are coming into their own to make this happen – not just for school leavers, but experienced workers wanting to upskill and retrain.
According to leading Yorkshire-based training firm, Eden Training Solutions, the idea that apprenticeships are just for teenagers is a widespread misconception. Apprenticeship training can be embarked upon by anybody over the age of 16 looking for a career change, wanting to upskill or secure a new role after taking time out from work, as well as those starting out in their career,
Be it through personal choice or imposed through redundancy or sudden lack of jobs in certain markets, Eden Training Solutions, which facilitates a broad spectrum of professional training for thousands of 16–60-year-olds across the UK each year, has seen a 50% increase in demand for training in jobs that have featured heavily in the news over the past year, such as education and childcare.
Jon O’Boyle, Director of Operations at Eden Training Solutions, comments: “The increased demand for teacher assistant qualifications, for example, is a direct response to the pandemic. Education has never before been in the media spotlight as it has over the past year. Be it positive or negative news, this exposure has inspired thousands of individuals to pursue a new career in this industry.
“What’s more, the demand for training in leadership and managerial skills, across all industries, has increased massively – indicating that people are using this time, especially when furloughed, so upskill, retrain and boost their CVs.”
Despite gyms being closed for significant periods of time, people at all stages in their working life are also clamouring to join the virtual PT movement which has enjoyed huge growth off the back of the pandemic. Other ‘pandemic-inspired’ careers include childcare, healthcare and human resources, which have all experienced an upsurge in interest over the past year.
A recent report stated that more than half of UK workers – 53% – plan to make changes to their careers in the next 12 months as a direct result of the Coronavirus pandemic, with the majority of these opting to retrain. Allan McIntyre, 52, an ex-recruitment consultant from Doncaster, is one of these people, having recently re-trained as a personal trainer under the UK’s apprenticeship scheme. Allan explains: “Prior to the pandemic, I’d been working in a high-pressured recruitment position – which can only be described as a roller coaster – for most of my professional life until I was furloughed during the first lockdown.
“I decided this was my chance to really make a go at it as a career. Whilst on furlough, I didn’t waste any time in future-proofing my prospects and completed my Level 3 in personal training. I’m now out of recruitment and have a position lined-up to work as a PT within a local, high-profile gym once the restrictions are lifted.
“The pandemic gave me the push I needed to move away from a job that wasn’t giving me any satisfaction or sense of security, and instead pursue a career in something I enjoy. The apprenticeship levy scheme has allowed me to take control of my future and optimise my job prospects.”
National Apprenticeship Week, 8th – 14th February, is the perfect time for workers and employees to discover that apprenticeship training remains fully available throughout the pandemic.
In January 2020, prior to the pandemic arriving in the UK, a report by UK charity, Education & Employers, which gathered data from 7,000 individuals aged 14 to 18 in the UK, showed that there was a significant trend for young people to aspire for careers in areas where demand drastically outstrips supply. Arts and culture, entertainment and sport, were the most aspirational sectors, followed by financial, insurance, banking, education, legal and scientific.
However, as many of these sectors find themselves struggling to survive, particularly media, journalism and the arts, and unemployment at an all-time high, with UK unemployment likely to reach 2.6 million in the middle of 2021, it makes sense that new career paths must be pursued.
Eden Training Solutions urges individuals looking to upskill, retrain or embark on a career now or in the future to investigate the range of funded opportunities available through the national apprentice scheme, be it through their current employer or individually. Jon O’Boyle of Eden Training Solutions concludes: “apprenticeship training is the key to avoiding mass unemployment, whilst paving the way to fill skills shortages in industries with a sustained abundance of jobs”.