Apprenticeships: 10 myths busted

Posted on 21 Mar 2016

BNY Mellon in a final installment of a week-long series of stories in support of National Apprenticeship Week in England, asked Sarah Davies from their Human Resources team in Manchester to explain popular misconceptions about apprenticeships. Here she shares her thoughts on common apprenticeship myths to help people to better understand the opportunities an apprenticeship could offer.

MYTH 1: Apprenticeships are for people who are bad at school

This is not true. Apprenticeships are an alternative route into employment and those that choose to do so are often ambitious and keen to earn while they learn. Many simply prefer the hands-on experience that an apprenticeship can bring rather than a purely academic route.

MYTH 2: I won’t be able to afford it/I won’t be paid

Apprentices do draw a salary, and often more than you might think. The majority of UK apprenticeships pay the National Minimum Wage or more, giving people the chance to bring home a salary while they learn and build a platform for their career.

MYTH 3: Apprenticeships are only available in construction and administration

The days when apprenticeships were available only in certain industries like construction, plastering or bricklaying are long gone. They’re now available in a huge range of sectors, like financial services, insurance and other professional services too. Apprenticeships are not limited to specific industries.

MYTH 4: Apprenticeships will damage my future career prospects

Employers increasingly value apprenticeships as a viable career route. It means applicants have real experience of the workplace and, at the end, often a qualification too. Most employers look at someone’s experience and their qualifications – an apprenticeship delivers both.

MYTH 5: I won’t get a good qualification

Apprenticeships cover different qualifications levels and at BNY Mellon some of our apprentices end up with a degree.

MYTH 6: If I do an apprenticeship I’ll get stuck in one job

Apprenticeships are available in a variety of industries and equip you with the transferable skills that employers’ from many different sectors will value. Some offer the opportunity to work in different parts of a business and can open up exciting new career paths.

MYTH 7: Apprenticeships are only for young people

There are no upper age limits to being an apprentice, from 16 to 116 you can take advantage of the opportunities that an apprenticeship could bring. According to statistics published by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills in January 2015, there were 499,900 apprenticeship starts in England, with almost 56,000 of these by people over the age of 45.

MYTH 8: I need experience to get an apprenticeship

Experience can help but having the right attitude and a willingness to learn is the most important thing we are looking for. For many of our people, an apprenticeship provides the first opportunity to gain experience and develop workplace skills.

MYTH 9: Businesses are not hiring apprentices

More than ever employers are committed to hiring apprentices. In July 2015, the British Government stated its commitment to creating three million apprenticeships over the next five years, and during last year’s National Apprenticeship Week, more than 23,000 new apprenticeships were pledged by employers. BNY Mellon has offered apprenticeships in Manchester since 2005 and today we have over 150 apprentices working with us.

MYTH 10: I’ll be making tea all the time

While we do encourage everyone to make the odd tea round for colleagues, an apprenticeship is a real job with real responsibilities. We invest in our people and ensure they are delivering work with genuine impact.

If you are interested in joining BNY Mellon’s Manchester office as an apprentice, please visit and search ‘apprenticeship.’ Alternatively contact The Skills Company on 0161 233 2645 or click here.