Why I chose to do an apprenticeship over a university degree

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Hi Sean, thanks for chatting with me today. You’re a few months into your apprenticeship now, can you tell me a little about what you do on a day to day basis?

Yeah, the course is going really quickly! Time flies when you’re having fun. My day starts with service calls from 8am. That’s where I go out and fix faults in people’s homes and install products like Telephone, TiVo and Broadband.

Oh right, so you head out on your own now?

(Laughing) Well I wouldn’t say I go out on my own, if I need help it’s just a phone call away. The way the course works is that you get a week of training at Virgin Media. After that week, you shadow a mentor for eight weeks, matching their shifts, going out on service calls etc. Then you come back to the office and do two weeks intense training course called ‘Operational Technical Training’ and then we head out on our own.

That’s a lot of training!

Yup! You’re prepared well and you don’t stop learning.

How did you feel about going out on your own for the first time?

It was so weird not having my mentor with me! But it felt really good – great even. After that first service call, everything else clicked into place.

Why did you apply to the Virgin Media apprenticeship scheme?

Virgin is just… A little bit different, we’re quirky and it just seemed like a fun place to work. I looked through a few different apprenticeship options with other companies but only Virgin Media offered you a guaranteed career at the end of it, provided you passed the course.

What’s been the best thing about your apprenticeship so far?

I’ve got some great mates in the team now. The group I’m with is just excellent and we’re all on the same wavelength. I also love the responsibility.

What advice would you give to people considering whether to go to university or to do an apprenticeship?

Seriously consider all the options. Apprenticeships seemed underrated at school; teachers always focus on how great university is. I’ve no doubt that it is, but there’s something to be said for actually starting a career knowing you’re not going to be thousands of pounds in debt. See, in five years I could have earned the equivalent of a degree on my apprenticeship and got a ton of experience under my belt.

You’re a great advocate for apprenticeships Sean. So what do you want your career to be in say… five years?

I met this guy in Leicester, he works as a ‘Head End Tech’ – he had this huge smile on his face as he was talking about what he does for Virgin Media. He looks after all the servers that control the networks, which I think is a pretty cool job. So that’s what I’d like to be doing!

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