University of Oxford Apprenticeship Awards by Adam Fox

Have you ever considered an Apprenticeship? Have you ever heard of one or what they entail? I wasn’t 100% sure myself, but I was fortunate to attend the University of Oxford Apprenticeship Awards 2020 as part of my WEX (work experience) week with OxLEP. I now have a greater understanding of what they are about, and the benefits apprenticeships have not only on the student but also the business hosting the apprentice.

I am going to speak about my experience of the awards ceremony and how apprenticeships have become more comprehendible to me.

My name is Adam Fox, I’m 18, look here I am stood outside the Sheldonian Theatre where the ceremony took place. This is also where the University of Oxford students graduate and receive their degrees.

I am a student at Abingdon and Witney College studying Business Management and Communications Level 3 and I am currently in my final year and will then be faced with the huge decision of ‘what am I going to do with my life’. For me University was the only option as it is what my parents experienced and as I was going through school I was never heavily informed on options such as apprenticeships, so I just brushed it aside. However, after attending the awards ceremony my view on apprenticeships have completely changed.

The Day

On the day me and Melanie Ringer, the Skills and Enterprise Projects Executive, headed down to the Sheldonian Theatre for 11:40 for the ceremony to start at 12. As soon as you enter the hall the positive atmosphere and the buzz was tangible. The room was full of apprentices and mangers excited to receive potential awards. There was a huge list of awards with 3 nominated finalists in each category. The awards included:

• 1st Year (beginner) Apprentice Award
• 2nd year (intermediate) Apprentice Award
• 3rd or Final year (advanced) Apprentice Award
• Technician Apprentice of the year Award
• Apprentice Ambassador of the year Award
• Apprentice Manager of the year Award
• Training Co-ordinator/ Assessor/ Tutor of the year Award
• Poster Competition
• Apprenticeship manager’s special Award!

The ceremony was so well organised and there were lots of different speakers either telling them about their experience with apprenticeships or giving the awards out to the winners of the different categories. This kept the event interesting and not mundane.

Seeing the individuals, whether it be the apprentices or the managers, collect their rewards was really heart warming as you could see on the faces of the winners that all their hard work had paid off and it has almost given me motivation to work harder due to the feeling of achieving. The audience at the event was extremely captivating, sat in the audience I felt immersed in the event and it made it more enjoyable.

As well as just the awards ceremony there was also several training providers currently working with the University of Oxford Apprenticeships discussing how apprenticeships can benefit the student by developing their skills. Some of these include my own college, Abingdon and Witney as well as Oxford Brookes University and Reed Business School. They also provided tea, coffee as well as lunch which was a bonus to the event. Speaking of lunch, during the break the theatre allowed us to visit the cupola (the dome at the top of the theatre). This gave us a fantastic view of Oxford and really helped keep the day interesting and unique.

My views on apprenticeships

Initially, as I’ve said previously, I have never been properly informed on apprenticeships and why I should do an apprenticeship over going to University or vice versa. Apprenticeships for me have always been a second choice to University but now I see viable reasons for choosing either after college and if anything, an apprenticeship now seems more appealing to me.

Apprenticeships offers you on-the-job and off-the-job training as well as giving the individual lots and lots of work experience and what it is like in full time work. As well as this the individual also learns new skills and develops as a person immensely due to the environment they are in; completely different to University. I would encourage anyone set on going to University to have a look at apprenticeships and what they offer as you may find something that is right up your street.

Not only do apprenticeships benefits to students but also the managers and business’ that take apprentices on board. Apprentices come into the work place with completely new interpretations to work and therefore have a different way at looking at work. This can lead to innovation in the work place which is crucial to any business. A message to any managers in HR looking to hire new staff, don’t just disregard an apprentice just because of their age or their lake of experience! Take a risk, they will learn on the job and you can mould them to fill a role you need filling.

That is what I experienced and have taken away from the University of Oxford Apprenticeship Awards 2020. The event was amazing and my view on apprenticeships have completely changed and I think I may shoot my shot for an apprenticeship at the University of Oxford.

Thanks for reading!