Expectation vs reality’, it suggests that the reality situation is predicted to be much less satisfying than the expectation perceives. However, modern apprenticeships prove a world where this is very much the opposite way around!

Many assumptions of apprenticeships are stemmed from negative, outdated and inaccurate stereotypes. So, we thought ‘National Apprenticeship Week’ would be a great opportunity to show the truths behind the stereotypes, using our own success stories!

Our current apprentices are Jack, Lauren, Reece, Tom, and myself, Georgia. We’re all doing varying apprenticeship courses, from engineering to business and marketing. I’ve asked them about their expectations previous to starting, compared to how they’re getting on now.

What were your expectations before starting your apprenticeship?

“Before I started, I was very nervous but also excited because it was completely different to what I have ever done before. I thought everything was going to be difficult to pick up and that I would struggle to fit in with the working environment.”Lauren Elston, 16, business admin apprentice, service department.

“Previous to starting my apprenticeship at Direct Air, I was unsure of what to expect as I have never worked in this industry. Therefore, knew it would take a lot of work to learn about the different machines and skills within the role. However, I was still very positive and excited to find out what my job role would involve and how my career could progress.”Jack Walton, 21, engineering apprentice.

“I expected my apprenticeship to consist of different tasks and learning opportunities. Allowing me to gain knowledge and experience within the engineering industry. I believed the role was going to be busy, as I am learning many new skills on the job. As well as off the job training, which is heavily theory based.” Reece Frailing, 20, engineering apprentice.


Whilst considering doing an apprenticeship, did you hear any stereotypes about apprenticeships which seemed negative?

“I didn’t really hear many negative stereotypes, as apprenticeships weren’t really spoken about or even considered for people of my age. College or sixth form were mainly mentioned as the next step. Some people would joke about only having to make tea and coffee for everyone. This made me think that I might get treated differently because of my age.”Lauren Elston, 16, business admin apprentice, service department.

“When looking into apprenticeships, I heard a lot about how you are just there for cheap labour, making the tea and doing the jobs other people don’t want, like cleaning up. But, positive comments, like how it gets you into the industry more efficiently than routes such as university were also said. For these reasons I felt like the apprenticeship route was best suited for myself, to get hands on experience in the real world.” Jack Walton, engineering apprentice.

“The main stereotype that I heard about apprenticeships was that the wages are low for the intensity of work you have to do. Also, getting a degree was made out to be a better option. Despite hearing these stereotypes, it did not make me reconsider my options. I knew the possibilities that can come from doing an apprenticeship. This came from hearing other people’s success stories of previously completing an apprenticeship themselves.”Reece Frailing, engineering apprentice.

How does your apprenticeship now compare to what you expected before starting?

“Now I have started my apprenticeship, I know it is nothing like the stereotypes and that there was no need to be nervous. I don’t feel I have ever been treated differently because of being an apprentice. I was also wrong to think I wouldn’t be able to do the work because it turned out I am very capable. There are things I have found a bit challenging, but I can always ask without feeling nervous or like I should already know it.”Lauren Elston, 16, business admin apprentice, service department.

“When I started the apprenticeship, I began by looking into the different machines that Direct Air work with. This gave me a basic insight into the internal components and inner workings. Within the first weeks I was going out on jobs with senior engineers. They taught me the different tasks that are carried out when servicing the machines. I was also paired with senior pipefitters to see the other half of the business – installation projects and pipework alterations. By seeing and learning both sides, (servicing and pipe fitting) I am now able to confidently carry out jobs independently. This gives me the chance to manage my own time. I didn’t think I’d be given this much trust and task variation before starting.” Jack Walton, engineering apprentice.

“My apprenticeship is very much how I envisioned it. With lots of learning opportunities, always busy and nothing like the negative stereotypes. There are parts of the apprenticeship that I did not expect, yet, it’s mainly very similar to what I first thought.”Reece Frailing, engineering apprentice.


Are you enjoying your apprenticeship so far? If so, what specific aspects?

“I am really enjoying being an apprentice, I am so glad I didn’t go back to school after my GCSEs. I think going into an apprenticeship first was the best choice for me because I have the chance to be more independent. I can also gain completely different skills as an apprentice compared to being in college. With an apprenticeship, I can get a qualification whilst earning money and gain new skills. At college, I wouldn’t have had the chance to be independent or have my own specific roles.”Lauren Elston, 16, business admin apprentice, service department.

“As I am now coming to the end of my apprenticeship, I have really enjoyed working with the company and fellow engineers. I have learnt so much within the industry and still continue to learn new jobs and tasks as part of my everyday routine. I enjoy being so independent on jobs, working by myself and managing my own time through the day. The apprenticeship has offered so much freedom whilst still learning.” Jack Walton, engineering apprentice.

“My apprenticeship is very enjoyable so far, more specifically I like being busy on tasks and learning new things. This fast-moving role ensures I’m gaining knowledge that will help me improve. I also enjoy the aspect of learning whilst I am earning. I gain not only industry knowledge and experience, but also a qualification at the end of the apprenticeship.”Reece Frailing, engineering apprentice.