Aaron Vaughan (25)
Manging Director
Early Careers Ltd

The youth recruitment service that started Scottish Apprenticeships Week thirteen years ago says it’s not just about apprenticeships anymore. We should also be talking about Early Careers.

An independent youth recruitment firm based in Scotland says that apprenticeships are increasingly promoted by employers as ‘early careers’ and that teachers, arents and young people can miss opportunities if they only search for apprenticeships.

Early Careers is a term that has seen rapid growth in recent years as employers seek to better reflect career development pathways and diversity of opportunity. It is an umbrella term which is widely used in recruitment to describe the increasingly complex world of youth opportunities which can include apprenticeships, internships, graduate programmes, vocational academies and even bootcamps. Browse the careers section on websites of leading employers and you’ll discover that many companies now communicate their entry-level opportunities as early careers.

Aaron Vaughan, co-founder of Early Careers Ltd, promotes early career programmes and apprenticeships on behalf of leading employers like Sky, Barclays and PWC. Aaron was an apprentice himself and explains “the advancement, promotion and diversity of apprenticeship pathways in Scotland has been brilliant, especially the establishment of foundation and graduate apprenticeships. However, that has come at a cost. There is a general lack of awareness about wider early career pathways, its not just about Scottish Government funded apprenticeships. There are global, European, and UK-wide early career programmes with leading employers that are accredited outside of Scotland as well as smaller, innovative pathways operating outside of the apprenticeship eco-system. These are easily missed by teachers, parents and young people if we are only talking about apprenticeships”.

Aaron describes himself as an early careers influencer and digital marketer. “Like many young people, I struggled to find my way into the world of work. The journey was filled with setbacks and uncertainty. The pathways I chose turned into dead ends, and I felt the walls closing in. But I was fortunate to meet people who saw potential in me and strengthened my sense of purpose. We are building an early careers marketplace which brings together learning, training, and employers, creating a space for inspiration and inclusion”.

Describing the journey, Aaron explains the business began as a social enterprise project in 2008, when he was still in primary school. Skills Development Scotland had just been established but had no role in the promotion of apprenticeships at that time. As a result, careers advisers started the ‘Apprenticeships in Scotland’ project which launched at the Scottish Parliament and was led by young people undertaking their own apprenticeships in enterprise and digital media. They established Scotland’s first Apprenticeship Week in 2010 in response to the UK Government’s National Apprenticeship Week fronted by Lord Sugar.

Young people, teachers and parents can now explore promoted early careers programmes, register for updates or download the app at
www.earlycareers.scot. Early careers employers are being encouraged to list their programmes for free on Scotland’s Early Careers Marketplace.