Discuss a project Message Us


The Evolution of Apprenticeships Since the Millennium


It’s National Apprenticeship Week this week and coincidentally it’s also my birthday (woohoo!!). As an apprentice I believe this week, and awareness of apprenticeships as a whole, is incredibly important. To celebrate I’ve decided to take a look back into how apprenticeships have evolved the past 19 years of my life.

Apprenticeships are only recently becoming a common route for school and college leavers to take. Long gone is the stigma of apprenticeships only being for tradesmen, apprenticeships are becoming a large part of the modern world and my very own digital apprenticeship proves that.

However, apprenticeships aren’t a modern introduction. They have actually been around since the Industrial Revolution and were a vital part of this industry.The employer had to sign a contract with the apprentice’s parents, take the apprentice into their own home, and provide food and clothing whilst passing on their knowledge. They definitely aren’t like that anymore. Trust me.

The Millennium Period

The Level 2 and Level 3 apprenticeships that we now know of were only really introduced during the millennium when I was born (it’s like they knew!). ‘Modern Apprenticeships’, which are equivalent to A-Levels and GCSE’s, were introduced during the early noughties.

By the millennium, almost a quarter of a million people in England and Wales were on a Modern Apprenticeship. The most popular apprenticeship sectors during this time were business administration, engineering, and retailing. Back then, my apprenticeship in Digital Marketing wouldn’t have existed!


National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) was introduced with the intention of drawing more attention to the benefits of apprenticeships. The stereotype of apprenticeships being male-only, labour intensive jobs was still around and NAW was introduced to stop that.

2010 – 2015

Apprenticeships continued to grow until 2010 when Higher Apprenticeships were introduced. Yet, when I started high school during these years, I’d never even considered an apprenticeship. University was always the preferred route for schools and colleges to push on students and there didn’t really seem to be an alternative option if you wanted to be ‘successful’. Higher apprenticeships changed that, with the potential to earn an incredible qualification at the same time as working.

2016 – Now                             

In recent years, attitudes towards apprenticeships have completely changed and they are now becoming a common route for young people to take in order to get themselves into their desired industry. Colleges are now promoting the benefits of apprenticeships, especially during National Apprenticeship Week, which is exactly how I found out about my own apprenticeship!

My apprenticeship is still new and, as the industry itself develops, so does the apprenticeship. I am working towards a CIM Level 4 award in Digital Marketing. The course itself focuses on developing skills to improve digital marketing effectiveness with a spotlight on the digital landscape and environment, using a digital toolkit to enhance those marketing skills. I apply these skills to my work where I manage social media accounts, write blogs, produce content across a variety of channels, and much more. Bet they didn’t think this would be a typical every day job back when I was born!

We’re joining in the celebrations for National Apprenticeship Week on our Twitter page so head on over to see what else I have to say about my apprenticeship! The fun never stops as a birthday girl apprentice!