Throughout my time at sixth form, there were many of us who were unsure if further academic study was what we wanted to do.
It sometimes seems that the only statistics colleges and sixth forms care about are how many of their students go on to study degrees. This means that some parents judge a school by this number alone, rather than what the level of teaching is like, how many creative courses are offered and the quality of facilities in the school. It’s about pushing young people through a system.
I did consider university. I looked around two or three, met some lecturers, shook a few hands and found some accommodation. Then at the end of the whole fiasco, I decided it wasn’t what I wanted to do or where I felt comfortable.
I had no other plans when I received my A-Level results other than to stick out my part-time supermarket job whilst finding the right option for me.
Going to the Johnston Press interview was a huge stepping stone in itself. I knew that I was taking time off work to go to another city and speak to two strangers about my childhood dream. The call I received two days after that interview is now one of my best memories. I got the job!
Being an apprentice journalist means getting to see and try every part of the industry.
One day you’ll find yourself taste testing pork pies for a review piece, whilst the next you could be out and about chatting to locals about the proposed ‘latte levy’.
Seeing my local community through the eyes of a journalist has given me so much more perspective on what matters to people. Everyday activities like walking past a notice board in a supermarket or talking to a stranger suddenly become opportunities for making a real difference in your area. You start to see everything from a completely different view.
You’ll be constantly busy. And personally, that is just the way I like things to be.
Admittedly, there’s so much stigma surrounding apprenticeships that I can understand the opinions that come with the title.
However we’re not tradesmen, tea makers or lunch deliverers. We’re not young people without qualifications, either.
Working as an apprentice in the media sector has so many advantages.
You’re straight into the mix of the newsroom, seeing how everything works, figuring out the system, and most importantly, learning how to write a story to the taste of a newspaper, rather than the tastes of lecturers.
You get to see your stories in print, online, on Twitter and on Facebook. You also get to see others interacting with your work, giving their own opinions and sharing your story with others.
It’s much more than ink on a page for me, it’s sharing experiences, connecting with an audience, learning more about everything from your local parking scandal to international Brexit debates, and working to find and share opinions that turn into the solutions.
I can proudly say that, against the wishes of many, I knew what I wanted. In the end I didn’t even apply to do a degree, and it wasn’t the end of the world at all. I’m now 18 and working in the sector I’ve always wanted to be in.
And I shouldn’t be the only one who decides to make a change and do this.