The East of England may be the flattest part of the country, but when it comes to the industries there, there\’s nothing flat about those. Home to many big-name employers like the RAC, Britvic and Amazon, the East of England comprises the counties of Essex, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. If you\’re considering taking up an apprenticeship in the East of England, you\’d find it worthwhile researching the region\’s economy for an idea of the chances of getting work there once you\’ve qualified… as well as the chances of getting yourself an apprenticeship there in the first place.
The East of England has a lot going for it. For example, it has some of the highest life expectancy rates in the whole of the UK: between 2007 and 2009 research showed that East Anglian men on average outlived every other male in the country (admittedly by less than a year) – and the same holds true for East Anglian women. Whether those few extra months are due to the fact that they have fewer hills to climb than the rest of us is open to debate. There\’s a lot going for the East of England: it has some of the highest life expectancy rates in the UK, according to research carried out between 2007 and 2009. That research showed life expectancy for an East Anglian man was several months longer than that of men elsewhere in the UK – and the same holds true for the women there, too. Whether it\’s got anything to do with the lack of hills to climb is open to debate. More likely it\’s because, according to the Office for National Statistics, the East of England is one of the most prosperous areas in the whole of the UK. During the last quarter of 2010, the national average unemployment figure stood at 7.9%, while in the East of England that figure was 6.6%. This is a good indication that finding work in the region could well be easier than elsewhere around the UK – one more good reason for considering an apprenticeship there.
As well as offering better than average job prospects, the East of England also appears to be better paid compared to much of the UK: the Office for National Statistics tells us that in April 2010 UK median gross weekly earnings for full-time adult employees was 499, but in the East of England it was 523. When it comes to education, pupils in the region earn more A* to C grades at GCSE than the national average. Recycling, too, is at a higher rate than many other areas of the country.
From this, then, it appears that living in the East of England isn\’t such a bad thing, what with a decent quality of life in general and good job prospects after an apprenticeship there. But then again, you get what you pay for: enjoying a higher standard of living there is going to cost you more – from a weekly trip to your local supermarket to the monthly mortgage payments on your new home. Property prices in the East of England are higher than those in many other areas of the UK.
Legally, as of October 2011, apprentices are entitled to a national minimum wage of 2.50 an hour. That\’s the absolute minimum, and many apprentices earn much more than that depending on the industry they\’re training for and their employer at that time. But since living costs in the East of England can be similar to those in London and the southeast it\’s worth making a realistic assessment when it comes to just how far an apprentice salary is going to take you. This probably isn\’t the best time to think about house prices in the East of England, but it\’s worth bearing in mind that getting your foot onto the first rung of the property ladder might not be that easy. According to the BBC, between April and June 2011 of the average house price in Cambridgeshire was 235,079 – almost 7,000 more than the national average, or nearly 76,500 more expensive than the average house in the East Midlands.
Although, as a region, the East of England enjoys particularly low rates of unemployment, unemployment and low wages can be a problem in some of the more rural areas and in some of the region\’s deprived seaside towns. Officially, (according to the Indices of deprivation 2007) the most deprived areas in the region are Great Yarmouth, Norwich, Luton, Peterborough and Ipswich. The East of England is one of the most prosperous parts of the entire country, with low unemployment and higher than average wages. Of course living in a place with such a high standard of living comes at a premium and is reflected in higher living costs and higher property prices. As a prospective apprentice, you might find it easier to find someone to take you on in the East of England than in other parts of the country and, once you qualify, you may find it easier to land and keep a job too.
If you\’re considering starting an apprenticeship you can find information about them and the other apprenticeships available at Notgoingtouni.co.uk. You\’ll also find more information and advice about foundation degrees, gap years,voluntary work and sponsored degrees, as well as over 300 distance learning videos