Why Choosing an Apprenticeship was right for Liam; the story of an Apprentice Web Developer
After completing my GCSEs I had a tough decision on my hands, go to university and study or join the world of work and study along the way. This decision seems to be an increasingly tough one for young people, like me, to make. With articles from publications such as the Guardian stating that almost half of graduates are ‘ill-equipped for the world of work’, my decision became far easier.
I didn’t want to leave university only to struggle to find a job and with over £30,000 in debt. I wanted to gain experience, qualifications and be earning money not owing it! I’ve had the experience of seeing people around me, graduating with degrees and they were still struggling to get their foot on the career ladder. For me, deciding to join an apprenticeship training scheme became the easiest decision I have had to make.
I started at Magma Digital Ltd, a bespoke software development agency based in Preston, during October 2012 and I haven’t looked back since. I already get to work on client projects with supervision and I’m learning new technologies all the time. The team have always made me feel like a part of the family and not the Apprentice. Until recently there were also three Interns, who have now become full-time, permanent members of the team. Every member of staff is on a learning curve , with new technologies or methodologies a constant in the digital industry. The team all learn together, so I never feel like the stereotypical Apprentice. A good example of this is demonstrated by our seating plan in the office, which mixes senior and junior developers together so they benefit from each others experiences and learning.
Magma Digital pay me more than National Minimum Wage for apprentices, they also pay for my travel to and from college and I get the opportunity to attend conferences and training workshops to further develop my skills along with the rest of the team. Being an apprentice provides the opportunity to earn and learn with supervision and the chance to experience ‘the real commercial world’ that college potentially doesn’t offer to the same degree.
Being an Apprentice has definitely been the right choice for me. I am earning whilst starting out on my career ladder and all without having to worry about the amount of debt I am incurring. I have the opportunity to learn the practical skills and attributes needed to be attractive to potential employers alongside gaining my qualifications. An Apprenticeship is something I would highly recommend to any young person wanting to kick start their career, whilst avoiding student debt and having the chance to benefit from real life exposure to clients and projects.
If a company is willing to invest in you before you have the skills they require, then I would grasp that opportunity with both hands and ensure that you make the most of it. I did and now I’m looking forward to a bright future as a Web Developer, hopefully at Magma Digital.
Liam Walder is an Apprentice Web Developer at Magma Digital Ltd, a software development agency building bespoke business critical systems to improve the processes and efficiency of businesses.