Apprenticeships beat university as a route into project management

3rd February 2020

21 year old apprentice Jamie Lord has just been given a £6000 pay rise and promoted to Trainee Project Manager.

According to a Mumsnet poll published on 3 February 2020 to mark the start of National Apprenticeship Week, around two thirds of parents of children aged 13-18 were concerned their child would be stuck ‘making the tea’ if they became an apprentice. More than a third of parents said they still associate apprenticeships with manual jobs, like plumbing and carpentry.

Jamie’s story gives good reasons why young people should really consider an Apprenticeship as a way into a well-paid and interesting managerial career.

Jamie did well in his GCSEs, getting a mixture of As and Bs. So he took the ‘natural choice’ and chose to do A-levels, with a view to going to university, just as many of his mates were doing. However, halfway through his A-levels, he was not doing so well and realised that it wasn’t for him. So Jamie enrolled on a full-time construction management course at his local college.

At 19 he decided to look for an Apprenticeship in construction management. He was offered one with a company called Artelia, a construction industry project management company.

He studied one day a week at Barking & Dagenham College and spent the rest of the time learning on the job. 18 months later, he’s just finished his Higher Apprenticeship (which is equivalent to the first year of a degree). On completing it, Jamie was given a £6000 pay rise and promoted to Trainee Project Manager.

He was also thrilled to be told recently that his company is going to fund him to do a construction management degree.

Jamie will attend university part time to complete a Construction Management Degree and work towards achieving Chartered Project Professional status with the support of Artelia and the Association for Project Management.

21 year old apprentice Jamie Lord has just been given a 6000 pay rise and promoted to Trainee Project Manager National Appren

When I was 16 I chose to pursue the university route; most of my social orbit went to university and it looked interesting to me. I also felt that I needed a degree for my career progression. However, in the position I find myself in now, I think I’ve definitely made the right choice. I’ve got 18 months’ work experience; I have a well sought-after higher qualification in project management and I am absolutely over-the-moon that my company is going to fund me to do a construction management degree. Many of my friends will be finishing their degrees this year with almost £30,000 worth of debt, whereas I have zero debt and I’m now on a good salary in a trainee project management position which is similar to what any new graduate could wish to get.

Jamie Lord

We are in an industry that is traditionally hard to recruit into; so a couple of years ago we decided that we needed to take a fresh look at Apprenticeships, as well as recruiting through our graduate programme. We started our inaugural Apprenticeship Programme in 2018 and Jamie is the first person to complete it. We are delighted at how the programme has equipped Jamie with the technical knowledge and practical competence required for a career in Project Management. We are passionate about developing talent for Artelia and Jamie too, Apprenticeships are a great way forward. I would wholeheartedly encourage other businesses and young people to ‘look beyond’ A-levels and university degrees and explore the value that Apprenticeships can bring to business and individuals alike.

Mark Day, Artelia’s Managing Director

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