Six reasons to choose an apprenticeship

Wheel Technician

In this article:  An apprenticeship could be the key to a successful career, here are the top six reasons to take the apprenticeship route

There are abundant reasons to choose an apprenticeship in the motor trade – a practical and varied profession in which young people receive professional qualifications that can help them progress fast. Here are six of the best reasons to put your faith in the industry and start that motor trade apprenticeship.

1.    Hands-on training

Apprentices work well for young people because they gain hands-on training and professional qualifications simultaneously, says Sally Gilson, head of skills for the Freight Transport Association.

Soon, she says, apprentices will be able to train for a CAT C+E licence, which is for heavy vehicles. A wide range of other professional qualifications can be obtained on an apprenticeship, including warehouse or transport manager CPC (Certificate of Professional Competence).
“Although not without their faults, apprenticeships are a great option for people of all ages in the sector,” Gilson says.

2.    Earn while you learn

Crucially, apprentices are paid to learn, thanks to a requirement that they study (off-the-job) for at least 20% of their working hours. For school-leavers, this is an attractive alternative to university, since undergraduates are expected to owe in the region £50,000 after they’ve completed their studies.

The hourly minimum wage for apprentices aged under 19 is £3.90, but some employers pay higher rates. According to the National Careers Service, new motor mechanics will earn £18,000 per year. This can rise to £35,000 for more experienced mechanics.

3.    Grow fast

With the right qualifications, motor industry apprentices can enjoy rapid career progression and pay rises, according to James Scott, operations director at Mark Thompson Transport.

He says: “Once you get your national Transport Manager CPC, you’re looking to become a transport manager. There’s a massive jump in salary from planner to manager. A planner could be on circa £25,000-£30,000, a manager commands a salary of £40,000 upward.”

He says this transition would take between two and three and a half years, but he warns that pass rates for the national CPC are low. But this may put a premium on qualified transport managers.

4.    A job for life

Scott says the motor industry is alluring because of its stability. “There is longevity in this business. We’re always going to need wheels turning and to transport a product from A to B. It can be a career for life.”

He adds that demand for fresh talent is high because of the industry’s ageing workforce. “We’re being starved of new blood. There’s a lot of people who are retiring. We need more kids who are trained in IT and who see logistics as a good option for employment.”

5.    No two days are the same

Young people should choose an apprenticeship in the motor industry because there is a wide variety of work, even if you stay in the same role, Scott says. There are apprenticeships available in motor finance, customer service, engineering and many more roles.

“We are one of the most heavily regulated industries in terms of driving hours and compliance. So you need to be a master of all trades,” says Scott. “But our apprentices have found their own niches, whether its operations or driving. You can be a specialist in an area where you excel.”

6.    High levels of satisfaction

The numbers speak for themselves: the vast majority of apprentices at all levels were satisfied with their training, according to a 2017 government report. Nearly all Level 2 and 3 apprentices improved their skills and knowledge as a result of their training.

What’s more, 85% of all apprentices surveyed improved their career prospects, 79% reported greater job satisfaction, 77% cited increased responsibility and the same share said they had better job security because of their apprenticeship.

Half of those who completed their training received a pay rise, and a third had been promoted.

Kickstart your career and find out how an apprenticeship could be the right move for you