Employee

Making the right decision: Apprenticeships

By: Paul Smith, former apprentice and hotel assistant manager
Published: Thursday, March 19, 2015 - 10:29 GMT Jump to Comments

Before making any decisions, the most important thing to do is to understand all the options that are available to you. Everyone is different and the way we learn is different; you need to find out what suits you.

I found out about apprenticeships whilst working part time in a hotel. A tutor came in to talk about them, but it was not a path I had previously considered.

When international hotel group Accor offered me the opportunity to join their scheme in 2004, I decided to take it. The reason behind my decision was simple - I knew that classroom learning wasn’t for me.

I saw the apprenticeship as an opportunity to learn about the industry I wanted to work in, but also as a stepping stone to starting my career within hospitality.

Full time education isn’t for everyone, and it’s a shame that so many people feel they have to continue down the academic route when it’s one that they don’t thrive in. I believe that apprenticeships are a good route for people who prefer to learn by doing.

Apprenticeships are a nice transition between the classroom and the work environment. My apprenticeship was a mixture of on-the-job training and classroom learning. But unlike school, all lessons were directly related to my job.

One day I was in the classroom learning about hotel management, the next I was in the hotel, applying the very same skills I had learnt.

The skills I learnt in my apprenticeship have given me the platform to progress quickly within the business. I strongly believe that I have progressed more rapidly than I would have had I not followed the apprenticeship scheme.

It allowed me to combine the way I like to learn with an industry I am passionate about. During my apprenticeship I was surrounded by very experienced hoteliers, people I wouldn’t have had access to had I gone to university. During that time, they shared their stories and experiences with me and I learnt from their successes and failures.

During my training, I have picked up skills which I believe could make me more attractive to employers including working as a team and health and safety awareness. It’s important to develop these transferable skills.

One of the biggest concerns I had when I decided to go down the apprenticeship route was that I would miss out on the university experience that my friends would have.

This isn’t true of all apprenticeship placements, but because of the nature of the hospitality industry and the fact that the group has over 200 hotels in the UK, I was able to move to the same city as my friends.

I never felt like I missed out because I was there with them. Not everyone will have the same opportunity as I did, but on the whole I have found that apprenticeships are really sociable. It’s great to catch up with former apprentices and find out what they are doing now.

One of the best things about apprenticeships, particularly in the hospitality industry, is that there is something for everyone. During my training, I was involved in many different aspects of the business and gained crucial skills; from customer service and administrative duties to forecasting, banking and general HR.

For me the apprenticeship route was the right one. It equipped me with all the skills I needed to work in the hospitality industry.

The most important step when considering an apprenticeship is to do your research. I recommend talking to people already on apprenticeship placements before making any decisions. And, finally, make sure you pick an industry that you are passionate about!

You can watch a short video on this apprenticeship success story here.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Information Daily, its parent company or any associated businesses.

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