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Luke Bennett

Published on

February 9, 2024


lewiversity, PR

Life doesn’t always go as planned. When you think about it, why would it? We choose school subjects at 13. Our qualifications open the door to another stage of education. We narrow our options again at 15. And in many cases a couple of years later.

I want you to travel back in time. You’re 16 years old. What are you wearing? What are your fashion, hair, and beauty choices ? Who are your friends? Do you have a partner?  What are your hobbies? What’s important to you? What food do you go wild for? 

Now, back to the present. Ask yourself the same questions. If you’re anything like me, many (if not all) aspects of your life have significantly changed. 

It’s accepted that as we grow and adapt, things in our lives change. People come and go. The things we enjoy and value are not the same. But when it comes to our careers, it can feel incredibly different. There is an expectation that you make a choice early on and you stick with it. It seems absurd to assume the choices we make in our teenage years will still be the right ones years later. 

My Change to PR Apprenticeship Training 

As a child, I dreamed of being a West End musical theatre star. After studying triple performing arts at A-level, I auditioned and gained a place at Laine Theatre Arts, one of London’s top dance and MT schools. Three years of training later, I graduated early to make my professional debut in CATS. I went on to perform in the West End and worldwide in productions of CHICAGO, The Book of Mormon, and GREASE, and have been seen dancing on ITV and the BBC. Living the dream, right? Unfortunately, not so much for me.   

As time progressed, the feeling that I was not on the right path began to grow. I regularly felt anxious and unhappy and decided I needed a fresh start. After a long process of serious contemplation, I settled on the idea that maybe life as an actor was not what I wanted anymore. But what now? I’m 25 and only have qualifications and experience in the musical theatre world. I’m trapped…or am I? 

I began to research options for people like me looking for a career change. Being 25, I had established an independent personal life. I didn’t want to go the university route and deal with high tuition fees. I wanted to continue working and earning, whilst gaining qualifications and experience in a new field. That’s when I began looking at PR apprenticeships. 

But Aren’t Apprenticeships for Kids? 

There is a common assumption that apprenticeships are for school leavers and are limited to careers in manual labour. This is not true. According to the latest UK government data, nearly half (48%) of all apprenticeships started in 2022/23 were done by people aged 25 and over. There is a vast array of government-backed apprenticeships on offer, including but not limited to careers in: 

  • Healthcare (Doctor, Dental Nurse, Optical Assistant) 
  • Education (Childcare, Teaching Assistant) 
  • Real Estate (Estate agent) 
  • Legal (Business legal, Paralegal) 
  • Finance (Accountant, Finance assistant) 
  • Engineering (Maintenance and Repair Technician, Mechanical Engineer) 
  • Creative (Public Relations, Marketing, Content Creator) 
  • Technical (Data Technician, IT support) 
  • Fitness (Personal Trainer) 

Discovering opportunities 

There is a fabulous free tool offered by the National Careers Service: a questionnaire that takes just 5 to 10 minutes matches you with career options. The ‘discover your skills and careers tool is what I used to find options that caught my interest. PR and communications was one of the suggestions for me, and I immediately felt excited by what I saw. As well as the useful desk research information on the GOV website, I read articles from Google and watched many YouTube videos to gain a flavour for what the industry had to offer. 

From here, I went to the ‘Find an Apprenticeship’ GOV website. You can enter key words relating to your chosen career path and filter to show apprenticeships in your local area. The search will display current opportunities and detailed information such as: 

  •  Submission deadline
  • Proposed start date
  • Annual wage
  • Working hours
  • Expected duration of the course
  • Apprenticeship level (e.g. Level 3, Level 4, Degree)

You can then begin the application process and take your first steps towards a new and exciting career. 

I was over the moon when I became a PR apprentice. I am now on the Level 4 PR apprenticeship training with TEAM LEWIS, a global creative, PR and Marketing agency with a passion for public relations. I’m three months in and have already learnt so much – it’s astounding. I’m going from strength to strength, with support from both TEAM LEWIS and the PRCA (which facilitates the apprenticeship). Every day, I cultivate new skills, creating PR campaigns and developing contacts. I’ve written press releases, pitched to media and brought my creative flare to projects. I have a chance to learn from specialists in digital, brand, innovation, content and creative. I feel like my future is bright and filled with opportunity.  

It can feel daunting to make the decision to switch careers, but I encourage you to seize the moment. With so many possibilities out there, be brave. Find the courage to challenge your status quo. It’s time to unlock the untapped potential you know is inside you. 

Want to become a public relations expert? 

Take a look at the course available on LEWIVERSITY, an online platform for marketing and PR courses.

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