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The modern apprenticeship - should I stay or should I go?

gingamangingaman Posts: 576
edited February 2015 in The cake stop
Have any of you taken an apprenticeship, or do you have apprentices yourselves? I would like to tell you my experience so far...

I have been studying for a mechanical engineering apprenticeship for the last 18 months. On the whole it has been good. I have enjoyed learning and the work has been only OK, however, I have been severely let down by both the college and by my employers.

On the college side, I have had 5 assessors that have, one by one, left the employment of the college; each time not taking the time to send an email or even a phone call to let me or my employer know. We have found out by way of undeliverable emails, or turning up for a meeting and being informed they no longer work there. This means I haven't been assessed for the duration of my apprenticeship, and I am due to complete in July :shock:

As my field of engineering is quite specialised, the college course I am taking only approximately matches the course I actually need to do. I think this is a mainly geographical problem, as most of the courses in this field are in the mid/north of the country.

On the work side, we are a small company that has been undergoing quite a few personnel changes in recent months. The engineer that was training me retired last August, the engineer they put in his place has just handed in his notice. The apprentice manager from the office has just got the sack, along with the general manager, which leaves me up the creek, so to speak!

There is currently an opportunity to apply for a similar apprenticeship with a much larger company, if I take it then I will effectively be starting again, which means I will have 'wasted' this last 18 months, working for an apprentice wage but not really learning/ progressing.

Or, I could stay in my current apprenticeship, hope that the college sorts itself out and finds an assessor that will stay longer than 3 months, hope that my employer finds an experienced engineer to train me, and hope that I can complete by the end of this academic year. A lot of 'hopes'!

I don't want to just sit idly by and hope that things will sort themselves out. I have been around the block enough times to realise that only one person can take responsibility for these kind of situations, and that's me. With that in mind I have updated my CV and have been searching for options.

TL:DR My apprenticeship is stressing me out, should I jack it in (don't want to do this really!), try to transfer somewhere else (the better of the options) or start again somewhere else (2 years wasted, but better knowledge and understanding for the new course)

Thanks for reading, if you did ;)

Posts

  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    Is there an opportunity to get an assessment done now with an existing tutor, so you have a record 'up to now'?

    Then if you were/had to transfer, can you get fast-tracked on your experience to date?
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 17,138
    Will a new apprenticeship send you to the same college? If yes, there is no point in moving.
    Will a new apprenticeship offer a more stable employment? If no, there is no point in moving.

    If either answer is contradictory, then move.

    In any case, stick with an apprenticeship. You get paid to get your qualifications, and genuine work experience.
    Learn to differentiate between the current work and the qualifications. The employer putting you through the apprenticeship will not like it but they should be aware that the qualifications are to help you move up the ladder. They will hope that it is with them but your chances of substantial salary increases raise substantially by moving.

    Getting an apprenticeship was far and away the best career move that I ever made.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 9,853
    As PBlakeney says above, if you cannot get a proper assessment done at existing firm / college I would seriously think about cutting your losses and starting again with the bigger company. It sounds as if your existing employer has some serious issues so you may be best moving any way. Whatever you do you must carry on your / restart and then finish your apprenticeship even if it takes a bit longer. Engineers are in short supply so any inconvenience caused by lower pay now will only be short term. Good luck whichever way you decide. My apprenticeship was the best thing I ever did after marriage and kids so keep at it Gingaman.
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • gingamangingaman Posts: 576
    coriordan wrote:
    Is there an opportunity to get an assessment done now with an existing tutor, so you have a record 'up to now'?

    Then if you were/had to transfer, can you get fast-tracked on your experience to date?
    I will find out. I'm sure something can be done.
    PBlakeney wrote:
    Will a new apprenticeship send you to the same college? If yes, there is no point in moving.
    Will a new apprenticeship offer a more stable employment? If no, there is no point in moving.
    The new one is in another part of the country, so different college. Also definitely stable employment
    oxoman wrote:
    It sounds as if your existing employer has some serious issues... inconvenience caused by lower pay
    Its not so much the lower pay, as I was expecting this and stocked up on cycling gear etc beforehand :D, more the lack of training/assessment and the fast approaching finish date.

    Anyway, I will apply for the new apprenticeship (can't hurt, can it?), and wait and see what they say
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    I work for one of the biggest engineering companies in the UK and we are one of the biggest apprentice recruiters. Even if you have to cut your losses and re-start you're making a good investment in your future - however, competition for good apprenticeships is getting tougher, we have 20 applicants for each job so make sure you don't burn your bridges.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • eric_draveneric_draven Posts: 1,173
    from a personal side of things, i started an appenticeship to be a fabricator when i left school,after 15 months of working for that company,the guy that was teaching me my job left,and they were not going to replace him,so i was expected to just learn at college, i had also realized that i was not going to learn much where i was working "basic type of work",i found another job working somewhere else,where i got to learn a lot from two really good tradesmen,although at the time it seemed a massive gamble it turned out to be the best thing i did

    basically where are you going to learn the most skills and become a good tradesman,some people may disagree but that seemed the most important thing to me at the time
  • saprkzzsaprkzz Posts: 592
    Monty Dog wrote:
    I work for one of the biggest engineering companies in the UK and we are one of the biggest apprentice recruiters. Even if you have to cut your losses and re-start you're making a good investment in your future - however, competition for good apprenticeships is getting tougher, we have 20 applicants for each job so make sure you don't burn your bridges.

    Out of curiosity what company is it?
  • saprkzzsaprkzz Posts: 592
    I would search all means to complete to get the Certs. I recruit in engineering and we have taken on apprentices who were nearly complete and were willing to leave the course and current company to come and work for us (as they knew how much we pay). I wouldn't allow him to quit so the college transferred to us and set up a day release.
  • VTechVTech Posts: 4,736
    I think that judging by your comments your onto a winner by lure determination alone. That's a great thing.

    What field of engineering are you in now ?
    I did YTS and it was the best thing ever and did me well.
    I have a few friends looking for suitable apprentices because although there are loads of applicants for each job, I would say the vast majority are unsuitable through lack of real ambition.
    Living MY dream.
  • gingamangingaman Posts: 576
    Well, looks like I'm staying for the foreseeable. The new company I applied to have responded and said I'm too old, but they have an advanced apprenticeship I can apply for at the end of next year...

    I met with a new college assessor who seems OK, and thinks we have enough time left to complete, but only time will tell if it will work out. For now all I can do is continue with compiling my portfolio and other paperwork, and keep looking for something else.

    Vtech, I work in a power station, so power generation and plant maintenance
  • VTechVTech Posts: 4,736
    I know nothing about that industry but I wish you the very best. The fact that you care about your work/future says a lot to me so I am sure you will do just fine.
    Living MY dream.
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