University Vs Apprenticeship

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As the academic year comes to an end, now is the time to be thinking about your next steps after Year 13.

If you have been studying A-Levels or BTEC qualifications over the past 2 years, you may be feeling at a crossroads with where you want to progress onto next. The biggest decision is often whether you want to go to University. For most people who have a clear idea of their career choice, this decision will be easy. However, for some the decision can be daunting and it is best to have considered all of the options available before having your heart set on one choice.

With big decisions to make, it is really important that you do not feel influenced by other peoples choices and opinions. Remember, the best choice to make is the one that suits YOU, not anybody else.

Over the past few years, there has been a huge drive for more young people to take up an Apprenticeship. This has lead to Apprenticeships becoming one of the most popular routes into employment alongside University. If you aren't already aware, an Apprenticeship is a mix of both work and study. It allows you to gain all the required training for an exact job role whilst working in a real place of employment to gain experience. This route is especially beneficial for people who are certain about which career they would like to pursue in the future as an Apprenticeship can provide the exact training for a particular career choice.

Before you make a decision, it is a good idea to complete some in depth research on which career you would like to pursue. Information on the National Careers Service will then provide an indication towards the best route for you to take to achieve this career choice. Remember, an Apprenticeship can now be offered in a variety of sectors and industries - so it is best to find out further information on whether an Apprenticeship or University will be your best route.

We have considered the pro's and con's for University and Apprenticeships below:

University
PROs
  • Become an expert in a subject that you are really interested in.
  • Graduate with a degree qualification.
  • Learn in a classroom environment.
  • Access a variety of educational resources such as libraries and industry standard equipment.
  • Gain independence and live somewhere new!
  • Great social life, meeting fellow students and spending most days with them.
  • Access to industry contacts through your lecturers and other extra curricular activities.
  • Opportunity to join a society.
  • Less working hours - University allows you to complete a lot of independent study time.
Cons
  • Lack of work experience in your chosen industry.
  • Lack of technical skills.
  • Less contact time with Lecturers or Teachers.
  • High levels of debt - University fees are on average £9,000 a year.
  • 3 Year commitment to one subject.
  • No guaranteed job opportunities.
  • No income unless you get part-time employment.
  • Must be self-motivated and enjoy completing work on your own.
  • Less individual support available.
  • Less employability skills.
Apprenticeship
PROs
  • Earn whilst you learn.
  • Receive full training for a specific job role.
  • Gain real work experience - whilst completing an apprenticeship you will be classed as a real member of staff with responsibilities and targets.
  • Broaden your skill set - throughout your apprenticeship you will be learning a variety of new skills.
  • No debt! That's right, it costs you nothing to complete an Apprenticeship.
  • Gain access to higher education - you can still go to university after an Apprenticeship or you can complete a degree level apprenticeship qualification.
  • Gain an industry recognised qualification or standard.
  • Receive a real employer reference to put on your CV.
  • Develop a variety of soft skills such as confidence, independence and communication.
  • Become employable!
Cons
  • Commitment to full-time employment.
  • You won't experience University life.
  • You have to mature a lot faster and be professional in your role.
  • Lack of holidays - You will receive a set amount of days that you can take off work, just like other employees.
  • Low starting salary - Lower level apprenticeships have a minimum wage of £3.90 per hour.
  • High competition - Apprenticeship employers are looking for excellent candidates as apprenticeships are in demand.

The pros and cons stated above are general comments and it is important to remember that every person is going to have a different set of needs with the choice they make.

If you would like 1 to 1 advice on which option would be best for you to take, contact our specialist careers team using our Careers Hub!