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University or Apprenticeship
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University or Apprenticeship

Written by Sam | May 9, 2020

For those who are considering which route to go down, this becomes harder and harder to distinguish which route is the best for you, as I have been a student and worked with apprenticeships, I hope I can shed some light on this area for you.

The Future

Firstly, you need to decide what you need and want in your working career, once you have found this out we can then start to plot a route.

If you are unsure about what you want to do, I would personally resist going to university or starting an apprenticeship in case you hate it and you have to restart again. I would work in some businesses, get some work experience while living at home so you can keep your costs low and then test out different areas.

You don’t have to be 18 to apply for either of these, you can be older and it may actually benefit you more in order to do it when you are slightly older. Why might it be useful when older, well statistics show that more and more mature students and apprentices are being applied for because they want to re-train into something new.

The Juicy Bits – Apprenticeships

This is perfect for those who want to get a sharp lesson in the workplace. As an apprentice, you will start at the very bottom of the company and work up or move across to another company to work if they can’t take you on after!

You will start off with the easy tasks and they will get more and more challenging as you go along, apprenticeships are great as long as the business and the people coaching you are good if not, it can be a long slog.

At the minute the government is currently subsidising apprentices from the business perspective so that they can take on more apprentices. They subsidise their learning and pay it off monthly, this only applies to businesses that have a revenue of over 3M a year!

Apprenticeships can vary in length and they can be hard work, in all honesty, a lot of employers will use it as a way to get extra work done on a cheaper budget. You will prefer an apprenticeship if you don’t want lectures, you prefer to be more practical, would rather not have a student loan and want to get straight to business.

The benefit of an apprenticeship is that you don’t have to pay for your education, but you might only get apprenticeship minimum wage of around £4.

There are apprenticeships for pretty much everything, why is it better than a degree? How does it get you ahead?

  • Get into the business early and young
  • Earn from a young age
  • Grow your network
  • Can still live at home
  • Real-world application and what businesses are doing
  • Steep learning curve
  • Don’t have university fees
  • Don’t have to pay for accommodation fees

Some of the downside of an apprenticeship are:

  • Not taught as well as a degree
  • The experience depends upon your manager
  • They are hard to get and limited
  • Not guaranteed to be kept on after
  • Apprenticeship work is normally done outside of work hours
  • You will still have to attend college or an online course
  • You don’t get the experience of university and living by yourself and being independent

Apprenticeships are a great way to get into the industry, get real-world experience, save money, and build your network. You still need to attend college or an online course, touch base with your tutor and complete all work.

University – What Is It Like

University is good because it can unlock a lot of options for you, as a student you can study the course in which you are interested, get the latest research and academic findings and see what the future may look like!

Businesses will normally ask for a degree or relevant experience, however the one issue is how to decide which course to take, which university to go to and whether you are likely to get a job after.

You are not guaranteed a job after, but you can be in a very good position, a lot of businesses do respect a degree because it is 3 years, it takes a lot of work, research, and effort, plus you will get the latest findings on the market with good lecturers. At university, you will grow your network a silly amount, you will meet students from all over the world who might be the next leaders of a company.

There is one consistent question that comes out of worry is, how much debt will I have to pay back, in short, you only pay a small percentage off, it is wiped off after 30 years and you have to earn a certain amount before paying it off, it really is leverage, this article will explain more for you!

Good points about university:

  • Good education
  • Large network
  • Great experience if you get work in the right sector
  • You become independent
  • You make memories for life within the experience
  • You can learn from some of the best in the field
  • You can apply for a lot of graduate jobs each year
  • Looks desirable on a CV

Some of the downsides of university:

  • Tuition Fees
  • Accommodation Fees
  • 3 Years of work and fees
  • Not guaranteed a job at the end
  • Can easily get carried away in the lifestyle
  • Can be stressful


There is a big difference between a degree and apprenticeship but both can lead to the same desired outcome. An apprentice is for those who want to be in a practical real world setting, not have the stress of paying off a debt, would prefer to be at home and earn some money while learning.

University are for those who want to go and study their niche, learn from lecturers, get the latest news and research and open up a load of graduate jobs and programmes.

There is no right or wrong answer here, it is always individual to you and which path you want to take to get your desired job or career. The best way to decide which one is right can be:

  • Look at your personality traits and whether you are practical or academic
  • Would you enjoy being home
  • What have others done to get their job
  • Is their a course or an apprenticeship on the job
  • Would you be happy starting on an apprentice wage and being at the bottom (Sounds crazy but egos come in to play)
  • Do you want to learn as you go or learn before you earn

Ask yourself these type of questions and if you come out with, you prefer to earn and learn and that you are practical and want to get in the world of work ASAP, then an apprenticeship is for you. If you want to go to university, study, learn from lecturers and other academics, then a degree is for you.

Weigh up your options and if you need any help, please contact us!

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