It has been National Apprenticeship Week this week with many events being held up and down the country raising awareness to businesses of the value an apprentice can bring to a company. The week also highlighted the wide range of sectors an apprentice could work in. Committed to nurturing young talent, ICS plan to attend an event being held by our local Chamber of Commerce.

One article I found interesting to read came from The Juice Academy where they asked seven successful entrepreneurs what advice they would give their 17 year old self. The responses were inspiring. My personal favourite came from Rick Guttridge, Managing Director of Smoking Gun PR;

“Don’t be afraid to do something different to your mates, in whatever sense. Have the courage to follow your heart. Live abroad, either studying or travelling, it will give you a better perspective for the rest of your life. Always have a part time job.

Enjoy earning money to spend as frivolously as you like whilst learning social and work skills to help your future career. Have fun. Life’s not just measured by the grades you achieve academically. Being a confident, socially rounded individual can see you come up trumps more often in life than even the highest achiever.”

I pondered on this question myself, what would I have told my 17 year old self and opened the question up to our group of contractors on Linked In. Personally I said to my 17 year old self “Don’t be scared that you don’t know what career you want and question everything you don’t understand! Oh and don’t let a boyfriend distract you too much”.

It was also great to read through the responses from the contractors in our group which included;

“I would tell myself the exact thing I have practiced during my professional career.”Personal Integrity, above all else, means everything!” I instilled this during the upbringing of four successful adult children, and they have commented to me how much that has affected their relationships and careers.”

“I would tell myself to take a risk and use my apprenticeship as a time to work in different areas to gain a wide variety of experiences.”

At 17, did you expect to be working for yourself? Whilst I expect some of you did, I think there will also be many that didn’t. I wonder if this is changing and the young talent of 2014 have a long term plan to become a contractor, working for themselves. Figures certainly suggest that graduates are being drawn into contracting with some employers seeking graduates creating contract roles as oppose to permanent positions.

Looking back, what would you tell your 17 year old self?

Also, what advice would you give to those young people considering moving into contract or freelance work?