‘Be yourself; everyone else is already taken’ Oscar Wilde

Head of organisational development, Karen Hughes, discusses the myths surrounding an apprenticeship career path and the importance of 'being yourself'.Karen Hughes

In a recent article in The Telegraph, Craig Heaney (Head of L&D at Centrica) discusses how he is keen to dispel myths surrounding apprenticeship career paths. With the recent launch of United Utilities’ 2018 apprentice recruitment campaign, I have found myself taking a very similar stance as I’ve had the opportunity to meet young people, their guardians and teachers from across our region to promote our award-winning programme as an equally viable and quality alternative to conventional pathways.

As someone who took a rather traditional academic path into work – completing my GCSE’s and A-levels before studying Maths at university which enabled me to join a graduate programme at FTSE100 company - it’s really struck me that young people and their adult influencers need to truly step outside their comfort zones far more than I ever did to understand the opportunities available to them.

I vividly remember my parent’s views on which type of university I should go to, what would be a good subject to study etc. and I wonder how much support is available for guardians and teachers today to help young people make a decision that is truly right for them. Certainly at United Utilities we are looking at more ways to provide helpful information, from the parent’s page on our website to delivering tailored workshops at schools.

Working with organisations like Teach First over the last year has further highlighted the gap in aspiration in young people and the true social mobility change we have across the country. I firmly believe that now more than ever, businesses, education and wider society all need to take responsibility in highlighting all the opportunities open to our young people.

‘Being yourself’ is something I am constantly championing to the young people I meet through work but also to my own children. It’s encouraging to see companies like Centrica and United Utilities taking action to dispel the myths, give the right information and provide a platform in which to help young people be themselves and make career choices that are right truly for them.

To find out more information about career options available at United Utilities, please visit our website