Opting for options

Okay, have a good look at their expressions….  few look hopeful, but the majority are probably feeling helpless.

Why you ask?  It’s their future they’re thinking about and these days it’s tough for young people.  Some want what they cannot have, which is the dream of doing what they want to do in life and their career.  Times have changed and for young people there are 3 options…

1) Apply to a university to gain a recognised degree and accept the fact that you’ll be in debt for up to £45,000 (bearing in mind that university fees have more than doubled in 10 years and parents who thought they were prepared have suddenly become unprepared)

2) Get a job and work hard in your chosen sector with the hope that you’ll get a promotion

3) Consider an Apprenticeship, where you get  paid AND achieve recognised qualifications

You’re probably thinking…. HELLOOOO  option 3 please, but surprisingly there is still a stigma attached to apprenticeships for some.

In the past, apprenticeships were known best for construction related jobs and those who were not able to achieve university grades.  It’s not so any more.  Apprenticeships have developed immensely over the past 5 years to cover areas of study such as; IT, Business Admin, Social Media and Healthcare (to name a few).  Of course there is still high demand for construction related apprentices because the “hands-on” approach is quite necessary in that sector.

What you may not know is that in order to become an apprentice, you also need to achieve a certain educational standard in Math and English.  Training providers or further education bodies  assess  students, to ensure that they are capable of embarking in a study programme. (by capable I mean determining the individuals learning level and/or enlisting additional support if needed.)

Now some school leaver’s may not have scored well in school for one reason or another, but I can tell you from personal experience that those who test outside of the school environment often do better. This is due to the potential reward gained from their results. (A paid work placement and hope for the future)

I’ll agree that there are careers that demand a degree, so I’ll leave them to it but there are so many positive reasons for choosing an apprenticeship option:

1) Earn while you learn

2) A foot in the door with a good company

3) Qualifications that are nationally recognised and transferable

4) No debt when you’ve achieved your level of qualification

5) It’s a great stepping stone for your future and it show’s other employers that you have commitment

For employers, it’s a great option to have a keen young person that you can  not only mould to your company’s service standards, but it also increases morale for your other staff who take the apprentice under their wing.

Thanks for reading and if you’ve enjoyed this article, please feel free to share with others.



Football in the office

You’re probably wondering where my article is leading after reading the title? Well…It’s definitely not about kicking a ball around in the office.

I’m not a big football fan but I do enjoy observing how team members work together to achieve the same goal. (Pun intended)

I’m writing this today because I’d like to tell you why I believe football and business are very similar.

A football team is made up of a manager, coach and players… one of those players is the captain (who can for all intensive purposes be considered the “team leader”).  Similarly, a company has the same structure, only they don’t kick a ball around or work in a stadium.

It’s important to focus on each role within the team…. the manager ensures that the “team” has direction, the tools that they need to perform their role and support. The coach supports the manager and the team (like an assistant manager would in an office role).  The players as you would imagine are most important.. without them, there is no football…no game.

As a business owner or manager, can you see where I’m headed with this comparison? No team, no business.  I probably don’t need to tell you that, but sadly some businesses lose sight of how important the front line staff are.  Now back to football….   the manager or coach chooses a team captain that is worthy of that role and respected by his team-mates and peers.  Of course he does…. and he chooses his captain based on his ability and skills.  Other players include striker’s and defender’s and you have to be good at one or the other to perform that role on behalf of the team.  Are you following my trend?

Let me use an office role as an example of role assignments gone wrong…. Sally and Steve are great with people, but have been assigned to an administrative role for over a year. They do their job well, but feel unsatisfied and under appreciated. Mary and Mark are out meeting people all the time and would rather be behind a desk because they don’t feel comfortable networking, schmoozing or selling the company services.  They have all “chosen” their roles when they applied for their jobs however, each day they hoped that their manager would notice their strengths and reward them with a role that they’re better suited to.

Would you place a goalkeeper in a striker’s role?  I’m no expert, but It’s my belief that a great goalie is not an expert at every position within the team.

So if your an owner, manager or supervisor in business,  please take a few moments to observe your team members and their strengths.  If you’re a team member, don’t be afraid to speak up if you know you would be more efficient placed in another role.

Football or not, your team can help you score big time if you pay close attention.

Thanks for reading!