As an Applegate Workplace Degree Student with a deep-routed interest in education and geographical recruitment challenges; and now a Young Apprentice Ambassador – I have taken on a fantastic role raising awareness of the different options available to young people on completing sixth form, college or school.

Apprenticeship participation now stands at a record level - there were 491,300 apprenticeship starts in the 2016 to 2017 academic year of which 121,250 (24.6%) were under 19. Sadly however, according to political journalist Alice Thomson, snobbery is killing the apprenticeship dream. One of my aims is to remove the stigma of apprenticeships being ‘lesser’.

Approximately half of the 18-year-olds finishing Sixth Form or College in England and Wales continue to university to pursue higher education via the traditional channel of full time university courses. Here, they pay £9,500 per annum in tuition fees to learn in a traditionally safe environment overseen by vice-chancellors and an army of support staff. It is fantastic that these young people have taken the leap to university. It is arguable that those of us interested in education and the future of young people should also be interested in those that go straight into the workplace.

The climate of the employment market is changing, becoming more competitive, and the stakes are higher than ever. Many argue that a degree does not differentiate candidates anymore, but experience is a key indicator of employability.

Of course, my role as a Business Apprentice at Applegate gives me a lot to talk about and it’s all good! The ‘First Rung’ scheme matches £10k of my savings on a deposit for a house, my BSc Hons Degree is paid for and I am on my way to gaining five years of valuable workplace experience; three incredibly good reasons for choosing the Degree Apprenticeship route over a traditional university one.

I am pleased to be part of the Young Apprentice Ambassador Network. As one of a growing number of ambassadors for the South West, I look forward to sharing my experiences as an Apprentice; as well as learning from my fantastic fellow students in the South West.

Are you a student interested in Apprenticeships or an Employer seeking more information on how to become an Apprenticeship Provider? I’d be happy to help! Just send me an email on

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