Top Row: Alice Arthur, Support Apprentice and Aysha Ali, Data Apprentice. Bottom Row: Evan Vincent, Trading Support Apprentice and Sofia Riccio, Legal Apprentice.
Why did you apply for an apprenticeship?
Alice: I believe apprenticeships are a fantastic experience in the working world. Plus, as a whole, the hands-on training gives you a real opportunity to put your skills into practice and helps you to gain more confidence in a working environment, whilst also allowing you to develop new skills. This was my main motivation to apply for apprenticeships.
Aysha: I wanted to gain real work experience alongside theory knowledge. I also wanted to build up my work portfolio by being a part of real-world projects.
Evan: The position I applied for was a Trading Support role, this was perfect as it meant I could combine my knowledge of IT systems and my passion for investing, while getting paid and receiving a degree! This is the reason I loved the idea of an apprenticeship, as it offered exactly what I wanted. By the end of my 4-year placement, I will have a degree which I am interested in, receive a regular income and gain real world experience. In my apprenticeship I am learning so much, enjoying each working day and gaining more experience daily. I believe by taking a degree by itself you cannot accomplish this.
Sofia: I applied for an apprenticeship as I knew that I didn’t want to go to university. I have always preferred the idea of studying whilst working, and I thought an apprenticeship would be the best route for me.
What are the main benefits the scheme can offer?
Alice: Overall, aside from the qualification, the scheme gives access to a great support network, which is very helpful in offering any guidance or advice.
Aysha: One of the main benefits of the scheme is that you will not only be offered a recognised qualification and professional experience but you will have the opportunity to network with other professionals and degree apprentices.
Evan: The main benefits I believe in doing an apprenticeship are firstly the free degree; secondly the fact you make an income; and thirdly that you gain so much experience, which in itself adds more value to yourself as a person. This means once the scheme is over you will really stand out in the workplace, as you have a degree, 4 years’ experience and you have a greater understanding of the “real working world” than someone who has not been on this scheme. All in all, it offers a lot of benefits and I see no drawbacks in applying for an apprenticeship and encourage people my age to do so.
Sofia: Firstly, the main financial benefit is that there are no student debts gained and you are paid a full-time salary whilst studying. Secondly, the array of skills that can be learnt during an apprenticeship highlights the progression that can be made within a short period of time.
You’ve joined just a few weeks ago. How have these first few weeks been?
Alice: I have thoroughly enjoyed my first few weeks. Everyone at Aspect has been so welcoming and understanding. If I have had any queries or questions they have been so forthcoming with advice or guidance, which I have been very grateful for. Also, initially I was very nervous and apprehensive about starting the apprenticeship virtually, however I feel completely at ease now and comfortable in my new role as a support apprentice, which I believe is entirely down to everyone at Aspect being so welcoming, which I am very thankful for.
Aysha: These first few weeks have been productive and exciting. Being immersed into the world of work can be intimidating at times but everyone who I have worked with whilst attending lectures and at work have been super supportive and understanding. You find that people want to help you and are just as excited as you are that you have joined the programme.
Evan: I have found these first months incredible! I have worked at Aspect since October and in this time, I have gone from knowing very little about the stock market and general finance to being able to handle and acknowledge requests from our Dealing team. Aspect offered a lot of flexibility and support through my steep learning curve and I could not thank the teams enough. I continually look forward to each day working at Aspect as there is an abundance of new challenges every day, this pushes me to work harder in the awesome environment that I have been introduced to.
Sofia: It is nerve-wracking joining a new company virtually in addition to being a recent school-leaver. However, everyone at Aspect has been so supportive and welcoming towards me. Aspect’s culture reflects a true collaborative and community minded working environment. I’m so grateful to be working in a company where I feel valued and supported throughout my apprenticeship.
Any pieces of advice to those considering an apprenticeship?
Alice: Not to be cliché but genuinely it is to be entirely yourself within the interview process, as by overthinking and trying to rehearse answers to particular questions that could be asked you can sound robotic and ingenuine, and that will definitely come across in the interview. This was a massive learning curve for me and I realised that I just had to work out what skills and attributes I had that would make me a good candidate for the role and to make sure I showed that during my interview.
Aysha: Do your research! There is a big jump from education to work as well as doing a degree. If you can, I would recommend taking video courses of your degree apprenticeship subject to help you to prepare for the work that you will be doing.
Evan: My first advice would be to find out what you want, as there are three main routes: full time job, university or a combination of the two, i.e an apprenticeship. For me, it was a no brainer but for some others it may be harder to decide. Personally, if you are unsure, I would apply for your university and course of choice alongside apprentice options as you are then covering both scenarios. I applied for uni as well as an apprenticeship, but once I received word that I had been accepted at Aspect, I Immediately said yes. As it’s your choice I would suggest you apply to both and see which you prefer. There is absolutely no harm in applying for both if you are unsure.
Sofia: An apprenticeship provides many invaluable experiences on-the-job and professional lifelong skills which are important for a professional career. My main advice is to be open minded and most importantly go for it!