Ladder for Shropshire: Don't be quick to dismiss apprenticeships

After feeling completely lost on what to do in his career, Ryan Lloyd eventually went on to start an apprenticeship, which he has credited for changing his life for the better.

Shoothill digital marketing executive Ryan Lloyd
Shoothill digital marketing executive Ryan Lloyd

Ryan joined Shrewsbury-based software specialist Shoothill as a digital marketing apprentice and has since progressed to become a digital marketing specialist.

"You can 'try before you buy' when purchasing material assets worth thousands of pounds, but nobody gets to try a degree before getting into significant debt," he said.

"Apprenticeships, however, allow young people to try something new, get paid, and even get a chance of getting the degree later. So why are apprenticeships still so easily dismissed?

"The attitude surrounding the word ‘apprentice’ is still negative and it’s frustrating. The word is linked with a negative stereotype: young naïve school leavers who have ‘getting the coffees in’ at the top of their list of workplace responsibilities.

"The word could do with being replaced with something that doesn’t sound so old-fashioned – ironic considering the opportunity apprenticeships create for the future.

"Everyone has heard of apprenticeships, but sadly, only a small percentage of people understand their value – something which Shoothill has been trying to communicate for years having seen the benefit ‘growing your own crop’ has on both business and individual.

"Millions of young people across the country are now finishing their exams but are still scratching their heads, wondering what they want to do with their lives after they close the textbooks for the final time.

"I wish somebody told me at the time that this is totally normal – so here I am telling you now. No child can ever really have a true answer to 'what do you want to be when you grow up?' until they’ve tried things first. Trying a career before committing with your wallet is vastly underrated.

"The school process can feel like being stuck on a mass production line. But everybody is different, and one size just does not fit all as cliché as it sounds.

"My advice to any young person unsure on the next step is to just get stuck in, find what you enjoy, and become a qualified expert later – because this works, carries much less risk, and is far more affordable, I know as I have followed that route myself and now have a good career in marketing."

Shoothill is now looking for a business software administration apprentice to join the team. If anyone is interested visit https://www.findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk/apprenticeship/1000048272

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