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Why GCSE leavers make excellent apprentices

As the school holidays rapidly approach, more and more year 11 leavers will be wondering what to do once their exams are over. Many will be considering A-Levels, others will leave for college, and some bright young individuals will be considering an apprenticeship.

There is no ‘wrong’ time to apply for an apprenticeship, but it is true that some companies wait for the school holidays so that they have a bigger pool of candidates to choose from.

There are no limits on how old apprentices should or can be, however, the government recognises that there are some additional costs to training younger apprentices. Changes to funding that were implemented in May of this year included a proposal to make a £1,000 payment to the employer when they train a 16-18 year old. This is just one of the benefits of taking advantage of the abundance of students that are about to leave school and implementing them into your business.

School leavers are typically 16 years old, and if they are applying for apprenticeships already this shows a keen interest in taking the future into their own hands and a motivation to getting their first step on the career ladder. Often apprenticeships are vocational courses: IT doesn’t usually sound like a vocation, but many of our apprentices have already built computers for pure enjoyment before pursuing an IT apprenticeship, so you know that these apprentices are embarking upon the career of their dreams.

In general, 16-year-olds can be associated with negative stereotypes, and while it is true that these individuals are not adults, many are ready to take the next step towards adulthood and get their first full-time job. ‘Young and impressionable’ is not usually a term used positively, but in this case, these two qualities are exactly what makes the school leaver an excellent apprentice. An unmissable opportunity arises when employing a school leaver; you have the chance to ingrain your company culture, etiquette and expectations into your apprentice without having to deal with any bad habits picked up from other workplaces with a different work ethic, attitudes or values.

Furthermore, it’s worth noting that these young individuals have shown the initiative to think outside the box. They have not simply gone with the crowd they have shown the maturity and tenacity to embrace a less mainstream form of education.

School leavers that have just completed their GCSEs will most likely be looking on how to build on their qualifications without having to deal with the restraints of a school environment. So often we hear learners telling us that they were tired of the school environment and that although joining the working-world asked a lot of them in terms of expectations they felt that the respect that is shown to them as apprentices is far greater than they had been shown in school. School leavers tend to appreciate this respect, and respect that is earned is often returned.

Another factor that motivates a lot of school leavers to engage in an apprenticeship is that they are eager to build their CV with both qualifications and the highly coveted ‘work experience’. These are exactly the type of workers that you want in your workforce, as they will be willing to work hard in order to climb the career ladder and will be dedicated to their career.

If you’re interested in utilising apprenticeships to hire new talent into your business then please get in contact with our Client Engagement Team today! Call 01133 500 333 or email

Amy Smith

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