Charlie Howard, aged 20, joined Youth Future’s Foundation as a Finance Officer Apprentice in October 2020.
Digital Communications co-ordinator, Rebecca Omereye, spoke to him about taking the apprenticeship route and his plans for the future.
Hi Charlie, welcome to the Youth Future’s Foundation team. It’s great to have you on board! How are you settling in?
Thank you, it’s great to be here. I am settling in well; some days are much busier than others, but I’m enjoying it.
Q: Great! Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you were doing before you joined Youth Futures?
A: Before joining Youth Futures I did a year–long apprenticeship with a chartered accountancy firm. Before that I was doing my A-Levels, where I studied Maths, Further Maths, Business, Drama and EPQ (Extended Project Qualification)
Q: When did you realise you wanted to do an apprenticeship?
A: When I was 15 years old. A moment that stands out for me was a getting a piece of advice from my grandad. He showed me an article about university graduates who were struggling to move into work because they lacked experience. I knew then that I would do an apprenticeship because it would allow me to gain experience, earn an income and get a qualification.
Q: What appealed to you about doing an apprenticeship with Youth Futures Foundation?
I was drawn to Youth Futures because of the work it does to support young people and how that is informed by the views and experience of young people themselves.
I am a child in care and I live alone. I am around people of a similar age who are struggling to get jobs. So it was my experience and exposure to youth unemployment that attracted me to the organisation.
Also, my main motivation in life is to help others. I plan to go into the property market to support the homeless, as well as generate some passive income. Then I want to invest the money in a fashion business and employ first time offenders with experience of the criminal justice system.
In the same way that Youth Futures is dedicated to supporting young people to get their first opportunity, I want to help those who often don’t get a second chance. Our sentiments are similar.
Q: That’s great Charlie. And in your experience, what are some of the benefits of doing an apprenticeship over going to university or finding a job?
A: Firstly, the experience is important as it puts you ahead of other people. Secondly, it allows you to develop a good support network. For example, recently I was able to ask someone from my old firm to support me in a task for my current role – this is something you probably wouldn’t be able to get from university lecturer.
Q: Are you able to offer some advice for other young people exploring apprenticeships?
A: I think it depends on the apprenticeship you want to do. If the industry you want to go into values experience over qualifications, then I think an apprenticeship is a better option. Ultimately, it’s important that you do the research to see what will suit you.
My previous apprenticeship was at Level 2, but I’m currently doing a Level 4. I felt comfortable with that jump because I did ample research into what the new role would require of me.
Another thing I’ve found with apprenticeships is that it’s better to get insight from your training provider than the employer. The training provider opens up opportunities for you and will let you know what’s available.
Q: Really useful advice there, Charlie. Before we wrap up do you have anything you’d like to add?
A: I think it’s important not to rush into an apprenticeship.
It can be hard for a starting apprentice to demonstrate the value they can bring to an organisation. Because I did four and a half A-Levels, there wasn’t any time for me to take a part-time job, so I highlighted my other interests and qualities to make up for my lack of formal work experience. For example, I am good at coding.
Thank you so much Charlie for sharing that with me, it’s been really interesting to hear your perspective on apprenticeships. Good luck with everything.