Taking the leap from education into the world of work can be daunting. Whilst some people take up part-time jobs during school or college, pursuing a career path through a full-time job or an apprenticeship is a little different. There are some major differences between work and education… Here’s what you can expect from your first experience of the workplace:
No more six-week summer holidays. You’ll have to say goodbye to half terms and long summer holidays. On the plus side you’ll receive a certain number of days paid leave depending on the number of days you work, and you’ll probably get bank holidays off work too. You won’t get as many days off as you had at school, but on the plus side holidays are more flexible so you can choose when you want to book time off.
You can say goodbye to homework. In most jobs you won’t be given work outside of your normal hours, and if you do, you will be paid. However, if you are an apprentice, you will receive coursework relating to your day to day tasks.
You probably won’t have to wear a uniform. In most cases, employers won’t enforce the strict uniform policies that schools do. Dress code in the workplace is usually much more flexible. There are some exceptions to this however, some workplaces may have a compulsory uniform for those working in customer facing roles in order to maintain the company’s image. Others may have compulsory uniform or equipment for health and safety reasons.
You will work different hours. Hours will be longer than a typical school or college day, there are often less breaks throughout the day but these are usually more flexible. In some cases, jobs involve more varied hours, shift work and possibly night shifts depending on the job.
You will get to manage tasks differently. In education, you will often complete set tasks at set times throughout the day. In the workplace you have to manage multiple tasks, and work on certain tasks until they are complete rather than just for an hour or so. The plus side to this is that you can work on tasks in whatever order you like, just make sure that you prioritise important or time sensitive tasks, as well as practice effective time management.
You’ll become responsible for more than just yourself. In work, your responsibility extends beyond yourself and your grades, in the workplace you take on a shared responsibility for the business as a whole. That means taking responsibility for your role and work you have to complete, and in costumer service roles, you act as the face of the brand. The plus side is that your efforts are put towards something bigger than just yourself, you can use the company you work for as a vehicle to show what you are capable of achieving.
Your colleagues will be diverse. Unlike in most places of education, where your peers will most likely be the same age as you and live relatively close to you, in the workplace, the people you work with will be much more diverse: different ages, different genders, different backgrounds, and probably different geographical locations too. Having respect for your colleagues is hugely important; anti-prejudice and anti-discrimination is a big part of employment law and will probably appear in your contract to protect you and other staff from discrimination at work.
Teamwork is pretty important. In the workplace, you and your colleagues are working together to achieve a common goal, in contrast to in education, where you work towards improving your grades. This means that in the workplace good communication, and the ability to work as part of a team is really important.
You’ll get paid. Unlike school or college, in the workplace you get paid for the work that you do! Another positive to this is that consistent hard work could earn you a promotion, pay rise or bonus.
You get a lot more say in what you do. In contrast to places of education, where your classes, tutors and subjects are chosen for you, in the working world, you have the choice to do what you want to do. You can pursue a career in a field you are interested in and apply for apprenticeships and jobs with the responsibilities, location and hours that suit you.
You get tons of experience. You get real world experience. It is not only a great way of gaining practical and industry standard knowledge of your job role, it is also highly valued by possible future employers.
What Does This Mean for Future Apprentices? Apprenticeships are a combination of education and work. You are an employee and receive all the same rights and benefits as your colleagues, but still have coursework, and the support and guidance of your apprenticeship provider to help you adjust to life in the workplace. For those who are taking the step from school or college into the working world, it is important to pursue a career you are passionate about, in a company that shares your interests.
Take a look at current apprenticeship with Creative Alliance opportunities here.