Dan’s story: Apprenticeships v Uni

By Dan Matthews

On 5th May 2020
When I was a kid, I wanted to be a Doctor, and a Teacher, definitely a Vet – oh, and a brief period of being absolutely determined to make it as Prime Minister.

As I got older and made the jump from primary school to secondary school, I started to realise the importance of working hard if I was to make it in one of my varied job choices.

When it came to choosing my GCSE subjects, I found it really difficult. I didn’t really know what subjects to go for, and I was dreading having to do Maths as I always struggled with it. They were two hard years – and during that time, I started to realise that my childhood aspirations weren’t necessarily realistic.

“When I told my parents I didn’t want to go to university, it didn’t go down too well…”

I ended up doing better than I imagined in my GCSE’s and decided to go on to do my A-levels in English (I love writing), Theatre Studies (I’m definitely a bit of a drama queen) and Business Studies (my parents said it would be a good ‘all-rounder’). 

Something changed in me during those years, I guess I grew up a bit. The more I learned about the ‘real’ world, the more excited I was to go out and discover it for myself. It was great to learn the theories in textbooks, but I wanted to experience it for myself.

During the summer holidays, I worked part time in a shop. I really loved it and I soon got a bit of a reputation for being great at sales. I realised that everything I had been learning in my A levels had set me up for this. I was able to communicate confidently (thanks to Theatre studies), I could use the right language that people understood and were inspired by (there’s the English, right there), and I also understood what the business was trying to achieve and what part I played in getting there (you guessed it, business studies to the rescue). 

I remember going home one evening after work and telling my parents I didn’t want to go to university. It didn’t go down too well. ”What are you going to do instead? What will the neighbours say? You won’t get a job without qualifications….” the list went on. 

They kinda had a point, so I started looking around online and after a while, I got reading about Apprenticeships. That’s when I discovered HTP. It sounded like a win-win situation. I’d have a job in a real company. I’d get paid. I’d get qualified. I’d have no student debt… It all sounded a bit too good to be true. 

“I absolutely loved going to work, learning every day and earning my own money, too.”

Literally from my first meeting with HTP it felt different to anything I’d experienced before. It felt professional, I felt like an adult, and if I’m honest, I felt SO relieved. It wasn’t long before they found me a placement at a local law firm. Ok, so I wasn’t being hired as a trainee Barrister, but it was a foot in the door, and I’d get some great experience. 

The people there were really welcoming, and they didn’t treat me as a child. They gave me real work to do, and I had the support of my mentor, Lydia. 

I absolutely loved going to work, learning every day and earning my own money, too. I enjoyed going for my training days at HTP. The tutors were really knowledgeable, and unlike school, I was able to immediately put what I was learning into practice.

The year whizzed by, and before I knew it, I was approaching my final few weeks of my Apprenticeship. I was starting to worry about finding a ‘real’ job. One morning, my boss asked me to come to her office… ‘we want to offer you a permanent role’, she said. The rest is a bit of a blur. I was over the moon! 

As I stepped on to the stage at the Graduation ceremony to collect my certificate, I looked over at my Mum and Dad. I think it’s safe to say they were proud of me after all…

 

For more information on how you can start your dream career call us on 01983 533926 or fill in our enquiry form

Just to let you know, we’ve changed the learner’s name, and used a generic image at the request of the learner – but this is a genuine story of a real apprentice.

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