Which route should I take – University or Apprenticeship?

Which route should I take – University or Apprenticeship?

So you’ve just finished high school or college, and now is the time where you decide on what you want to do for your future career.  For many the next step would be to attend university in your chosen subject, but for some carrying on with education isn’t the right path.

I don’t know what to do.

A few years ago the only option were to attend University or find a full time job. However within the last few years Apprenticeships have been on the rise, with more and more businesses hiring apprentices for many different roles from Digital Marketing to Childcare.

But if you’re someone who is unsure whether to carry on with education or apply for an Apprenticeship, this blog will hopefully give you more insight into the life of both routes. From someone who attended and graduated University to now working in an Apprenticeship.

University – Work Hard Play Hard

If you’re thinking about attending University choosing where to go can be overwhelming, but every year universities are visiting school and event halls with information on their campuses and courses. Meaning you don’t have to travel too far to find out if they will be right. Whether they are in your hometown or the other side of the country, your decision is what matters.

Once the start date of University arrives, it’s more like a party then a professional start date. With a welcoming week that can include day and night events, society sign ups, free goodies and so much more, with events like that carrying on through year. But depending on your course you may have to start your education on that same week. As for the time spent learning/studying it will include lectures and coursework, with the subject potentially having exams at the end of each year. Revision and research will be crucial for the chosen subject so planning days is vital to get work done on time.  

Outside of lectures and classroom time, is up to the student. Working revision and coursework time around a social life can be tricky, as life at University can be full of activities and special events. Each University will have tailored the events for their students that range for sports events to nights out. Even outside companies will offer services and products to students from deals to free goodies.

With the course there is a possibility that work experience in offered, this can be during term time or during holidays (summer, winter etc.). However the chance of payment for this is very slim. The second year is quite similar to the first, but your third and final year (can be four or more depending on the course) is when the work is most important. For many courses the work in this year is what they use for the final grade, so revision and coursework is vital. When graduation arrives the one thing to take into consideration is the possibility that a job may not be there when students finish/graduate University. With thousands of graduates leaving and looking for work at the same time, securing a position can be hard. For some they can find one in a few weeks/months,  for others it can take longer.

Apprenticeships – Lets get down to Business

Apprenticeships have been on the rise over the last few years. The quality and range has grown drastically, with many businesses across the country taking on apprentices in all matter of areas. An Apprenticeship is different in many ways from University, instead of an educational route an this route is work and learning based, meaning that you can be working business hours from Monday to Friday 9 am to 5pm, but this does depend on the employer.

Though the hours and job roles are full time, course work and exams will happen through the completion of the apprenticeship with training provided. Every apprentice has a tutor with face-to-face visits, online web cam and telephone calls. If ever struggling or need help, they are there to give any guidance needed. The length of an apprenticeship is much shorter then that of University, lasting between 12 to 18 months. Where as it can be 3 years or more if you decide to stay in education.

One of the main advantages of an apprenticeship is that you will have experience in a working environment, meaning you will have a better understanding of what to expect in the business world. Something to take in consideration even though each apprentice is paid; the starting wage is from £3.90 hour. Meaning that for travel, owning a car, renting or living away from home, you will need to figure out if this is financially viable. Some business may pay more than the starting wage, but again this depends on the employer.  

Depending on where the apprenticeship is taking place, no employer will be the same. For example, if the Apprenticeship is in Digital Marketing one employer will be looking for certain things that another wouldn’t. Even though the qualification you complete will be the same, the tone and expectations of each business will vary. Throughout the time of completing an apprenticeship, the employer will review your progress at the end of your 6-month probation. If they feel that you are progressing well, your rate of pay will rise.

When the apprenticeship is completed, the employer can offer a full time position.  If at the end you decide that you want to move on, an apprenticeship is a highly recognised qualification and easily transferable. 

What do I do now?

Figuring out which route to take after leaving school/college can be daunting. But now that you have some more background on what to expect from University and an Apprenticeship, take time to think it through. Talk to your family, tutors, friends and even look at more of our blogs on Apprenticeships to understand what feels best for you.

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