So currently I am doing a level 4 apprenticeship in project management, which is 1.5 years, and I only have 5 months of it left, and I started when I was 18 after finishing A Levels and now I am 19.
It is great in many senses:
-close to home
-well paid i.e. I started on £17k and have had a £850 pay rise every 6 months so am now on £18.7k and I also get a £2.4k travel allowance just as money so if I don't spend that I can just keep the rest so technically am on £21.1k, which is fantastic for someone my age with only A Levels
-respected, global, company
-can pretty much do whatever relevant training I want
-mental health is better as I get more sleep, mostly not stressed as I don't have much to do/worry about each day
However, it's not as perfect as it seems:
-it's badly structured
-I'm not really well looked after i.e. I only see my line manager every 6 months for my PDR (personal development review) and the project manager of the project I am on is in Birmingham, whereas, I am in London
-I rarely do project management activities... pretty much all I do is Document Control (type of admin)... or nothing all day just browsing the internet doing what I want (which is good in the sense I'm getting paid to do nothing... but I genuinely want to learn and doing nothing/Document Control isn't exactly going to help progress my career)
-it's not clear what my progression will be after the apprenticeship
-there is little company social life/most other people are over 40 and I feel like I don't quite fit in
-when I do actually bring up the issue that I'm not being given enough work, or quality work, etc.. they basically promise that things will get better, but it never does, or blame me saying it is my fault
Reason why I took the Apprenticeship:
-My A Levels (Maths, Biology, Physics) weren't as good as they should've been (I got BBC, having come from a position of all A*/As at /GCSE, and at one of the best schools in the UK).. I had family problems and deaths and all sorts of ****.. which I never actually told the school about. I know BBC is actually fine but at the time it seemed awful and meant I was unlikely to get into a top uni, and my school was horrible about it and told me not to apply to uni.
-I'd become sick of school and I find exams cause me huge anxiety so my mental health was not so good so working matched my style better
-I thought that if they were paying me £17k, which is a fairly considerable amount of money, they would actually be dedicated to me and look after me better and give me more guidance, and it would be a worthwhile career option as opposed to university. (i.e. I genuinely wanted to do it, just how I've been treated, and actually experiencing the career, have given me doubts). It also turned out that the training was only 5 weeks full time at the college and then the exams 9 months after with no training (kinda ridiculous) and the rest of the time is just to make a portfolio of evidence showing that you have achieved some objectives.
Further reasons why I want to quit (and go to uni instead):
-I might not even complete the apprenticeship as I don't run any projects, and do not get the exposure to complete my portfolio
-They say that it's a great opportunity.. but it really doesn't feel like it as I'm not even doing project management just admin
-I am academic so I suit the uni style of learning
-if I don't quit now having a higher level qualification would mean that I lose all funding for uni
-I want a degree (I probably could get one through my company, but I want to go to uni full time)
-Benefits of going to uni full time include: meeting new young people, having long HOLIDAYS, different atmosphere!
-The degree gives more flexibility than being stuck in the project management career path (one I don't think I want to do any more)
-I have longer to decide what I actually want to do and more time to get experience/work experience/internships during my holidays
-Salary rise is faster i.e. I'd be more likely to start on £27k (and I think the kind of person I am I would be the one that manages to get the well paid graduate jobs) and then go up quicker each year
-Career progression is faster i.e. quicker to get chartered (I'm thinking of doing engineering)/professionally qualified, more flexibility in the role, often graduate schemes better structured and do 6 months in each part of the business.
What I am worried about:
-There is a clause in my contract which says: ''The Company enters into this agreement on the understanding that the training being undertaken will benefit the business in the future. Should you leave the company whilst the course is still in progress the company reserve the right to recover the full cost of the fees paid on your behalf. Should you choose to leave the Company before the period of two years after completion has expired, the Company will reserve the right to recover the cost of the course, exam, subscription and/or enrolment fees that have been paid. The amount recovered will be in proportion to the time served and therefore dependent on the number of completed months since course completion, diminishing to no payment after 24 months.'' I have not been told how much this costs and how much I would have to pay back. There is also another bit in my contract which says that ''The course will be funded by the college and the government.'' so as the company isn't even paying anything (apart from my salary when I'm actually on the course) I'm not entirely sure how they could reclaim the costs paid on my behalf... as they haven't actually paid anything on my behalf..(although I suppose the government/college might charge them for it if I don't complete it). I was also 18 when I started so should've been fully government funded then.
-if/when I apply to uni, they say the funding you get is course length+one year extra. So as I have done over 1 year that become 1.5 years rounded up, so if I quit the funding I would get to uni would be course length - 0.5 years... also I probably wouldn't be able to afford that 1/2 a year. However, if you've had problems/dropped out for that reason you could still get the full funding. This year I have had my father die, I have also had a miscarriage which was devastating, and I have had two estranged sisters causing havoc for my family, and my 98 year old grandma with alzheimer's being ill. Do you think this could be enough to mean I would still be eligible for funding? And how/to whom do you state this to be able to get the funding? ..I'd hate to think that I missed out on my chance to go to uni for just 5 weeks at a college :/
-How would I approach finding out the potential cost of dropping out? (and considering the company hasn't really kept up their side of the agreement as in they give me rubbish/no work to do could I use that to my advantage?)
-How would I approach resigning. (I have to give 1 months notice in advance). i.e. what would I say in my letter? (would I say that I am leaving because of emotional problems or because of the company not looking after me?)
-Also, I am worried that uni maybe isn't the right choice for me and that I wouldn't actually enjoy it, and I might have wasted the opportunity at a good company (though I keep getting recruitment people trying to poach me), or that as I get anxious about exams so I would get bad mental health and end up not getting a 2.1 or 1st so it wouldn't be entirely worthwhile. I also worry about being older than everyone else there (I'd be 20 if I started September 2016)
If you've read all of that - thank you!!! Any advice would really be appreciated/ info of where to ask for advice etc...
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Implications of quitting my Apprenticeship - HELP! watch
- Thread Starter
- 11-11-2015 13:07
- 12-11-2015 12:00
Your vision of university is unrealistically optimistic. Let me tell you how it really is.
1. You are constantly stressed.
2. You miss evenings and weekends because you are constantly studying.
3. You have no money.
4. You live in crap student halls or student accommodation.
5. You really, really miss holidays. Christmas and Easter are spent on exam revision, and Summer is spent pre-reading for the next year.
6. You graduate with little work experience, making a job hard to get.
7. An engineering degree leads to about £25k after three years of work, which isn't much more than what you would be earning. Keep in mind that some of your income will go back to paying off you student loan, so the actual money is much less than this.
8. You can fail a degree.
9. Your student debt will last a lifetime.
10. A lot of people doing degrees wish they did apprenticeships instead.
11. Exam stress and anxiety and panic attacks, and that's if you survive the public speaking presentations and hundreds of essays for your coursework.
12. Apprenticeships give more transferable skills and so you can sometimes aim for a better payscale when you graduate from an apprenticeship than if you graduate from a degree.
Plus given how you are only a few months from the end you might as well just finish it off.
- 12-11-2015 16:12
Hello, just thought I would write a quick post about my experience with the sponsored degree I have just completed.
It was with a company called CGI who are a massive company and they paid for my degree in full and also have a starting salary of £14k which increases every year (providing you don't fail of course). I received a first class degree in Business Management and I know they also now offer an IT degree as well if that suits you more.
I would definitely recommend completing a sponsored degree as you end up debt free, receive a nice salary and also gain valid work experience.
Also I know they now offer a higher apprenticeship as well so that maybe something you want to look at to give yourself another option?
Any questions, feel free to ask. Just thought it would be useful giving you a quick snapshot of how I found the degree