Not going to university was my best decision ever…..

PET-Xi Social Media and Digital Marketing apprentice Liam Patel, aged 21, explains why he chose an apprenticeship over a university degree course 


Liam Patel at PET-Xi’s offices in Coventry.

Having left 6th form college with a Level 3 BTEC in business, I could have applied to university, but I chose the apprenticeship route instead – and I’m so pleased I did.

My job as a social media and digital marketing apprentice at PET-Xi, who are nationally renowned providers of intensive results-based educational interventions for school children, means I’m earning while I’m learning. Gaining invaluable work experience in a real job has put me in a much better position than many of my friends who have now graduated. Many of them are still looking for a job and, on top of unemployment, have a massive student loan to repay.  I have no doubts that I did the right thing.

University is not for everyone. I felt it wasn’t right for me because I’m a practical sort of person who likes to get stuck into things. I knew that I’d get on better by gaining hands-on experience, rather than by studying things theoretically.

I chose social media and digital marketing because I have a passion for all things digital. It’s the future.  I love social media and use it personally every day. From the minute I open my eyes in the morning I’m checking the news and my various accounts – everything from Facebook to Instagram. I’ve also run the social media side of my family’s business and seen firsthand how it brings in customers and improves relationships with them.  Social media experience can also be applied to lots of different business departments – for example project management and sales – and I’m really enjoying this variety.

Because PET-Xi’s business is to provide training, I feel this gives them the edge over other companies I could have joined. Everyone at PET-Xi genuinely loves what they do and is expert at making things happen and getting results.

Learners are at the heart of everything they do and this positive attitude really stands out for me. I feel genuinely valued, which in turn is so motivating.  I live an hour away from the office, but every day I wake up thinking, ‘Yes! I’m going to work!’

It’s also great that because PET-Xi’s core business is around training provision, the offices are packed with experts to give advice and provide practical help. It’s also great for any apprentices who need extra support as they take their Functional Skills qualifications in English and Maths for example. All the apprentices have a qualified assessor who ensures we complete our work to the highest standard and provide support and guidance along the way.

From my time at PET-Xi I can already see the company growing and expanding with new and exciting things planned and I feel I am part of something big!

I hope in return the company is benefitting from my skills, ideas and enthusiasm for using social media in the business.

From where I was, to where I am now, is phenomenal. My confidence has grown so much.  I’m independent and meeting loads of interesting people.

The best thing of all is that I am gaining full experience of the whole company, so I can decide where I’d like to specialise eventually.  For example, I’ve gained a real interest in the funding side of business by working with that team in Coventry.

Overall I am having an awesome time and can thoroughly recommend a PET-Xi apprenticeship.