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Apprenticeships, the Bagnalls experience

Apprenticeships are becoming increasingly popular throughout the UK. Indeed, statistics from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) confirm this surge in popularity, with 5.3% of the UK population (2.4 million people) holding an apprenticeship as their highest qualification. This number has almost doubled since 2011, when apprentices were first added as an option on the ONS census.

According to government figures, 740,400 people were completing apprenticeships in the 2021/22 academic year. 349,200 of those were new apprenticeship starters, highlighting an increase of 9% in new people opting for apprenticeships compared to the previous year.

To mark National Apprenticeship Week (5-11 February), we spoke with apprentices and ex-apprentices at national decorating contractors Bagnalls to discover how their experience has prepared them for a successful career. The company is a platinum member of The 5% Club – confirming that at least 10% of its workforce is ‘earning and learning’.

‘Skills for Life’

The theme of National Apprenticeship Week 2024 is ‘Skills for Life’. The aim is to help apprentices build the right foundation of knowledge so they can go on to have an incredible career and contribute towards a highly skilled UK workforce.

An apprenticeship opens doors to further related career paths, including the chance to complete further qualifications, enter higher education and even diversify into a management position. Bagnalls’ Branch Manager Jane Potter also began her career as an apprentice. She comments: “I have progressed from valued apprentice to management level. My apprenticeship allowed me to gain skills for life and kickstarted my career – I was able to work alongside highly trained people who helped to guide me.”

Thanks to the success seen by those completing apprenticeships, public opinion is changing for the better. 57% of UK adults now believe that apprenticeships provide better value for money than university courses. Almost 40% of those surveyed also think apprenticeships are better at providing long-lasting skills within the chosen field and over half believe an apprenticeship will better prepare students to enter the workplace.

Joel Mortlock, previous Bagnalls apprentice and current Group Academy Tutor for the company, agrees. He reveals: “The recognised qualification you will receive when you complete your apprenticeship is another great benefit of the course – opening doors for you and highlighting your determination to succeed.”

Amazing apprenticeships

An apprenticeship allows talented individuals to begin earning money and kickstart their career, while learning the skills they need to succeed. Recent research has shown that apprentices are 9% more likely to find full-time employment after finishing their course than university graduates.

Joel comments, “With Bagnalls, after you’ve finished your apprenticeship, you will also earn a full-time job alongside those you know and have already worked with. This will help set you up for the future and means you won’t have to take a break from earning!”

By opting for an apprenticeship, students can also surround themselves with like-minded, determined people and make important connections within their chosen field. Katie Sanders, current Bagnalls apprentice, comments: “The people I work with are really friendly and always willing to have a laugh! If I ever need advice, my coworkers are always happy to show me different ways to tackle a job.” Once Katie finishes her apprenticeship, she will have a network of co-workers and friends to help her progress through her career.

Max Antenbring, Trainee Contracts Manager at Bagnalls, agrees with Katie. He says: “The best thing about taking on an apprenticeship with Bagnalls is the team I work with! Everyone that I spend my time with is extremely helpful and always willing to give with advice.”

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