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 it’s time to decide on what you want to do for the future.  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.

A few years ago the only option was to attend University or find a full time job. However, within the last few years Apprenticeships have been on the rise with more businesses hiring apprentices for many different roles. No longer are they aimed at those looking to go into labour intensive roles like engineering or manufacturing. Apprenticeships can now be completed in any area of work, 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 the insights of someone who attended and completed both university and an apprenticeship.

University – Work Hard Play Hard

If you’re thinking about attending University, choosing where to go can be overwhelming. But there are ways to help you figure out the best place for you. 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.

Basic overview

Your first year is about settling in and understanding the course. For some the work you do in the first year won’t go towards your final grade, but it is still important t complete to a high standard. 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.

The party life

Once the start date of University arrives, it’s more like a party than a professional start date. With a welcoming week that can include day and night events, society sign ups, free goodies and so much more. But it doesn’t end there, events like that carrying on throughout the years. 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.

Time to work

But depending on your course you may have to start your education on that same week. 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. Some courses may even give you specific days to go towards revision and completing work. While at university, you may also take up part time work to help with your finances; so understanding when to complete you work is an important step. 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.

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, as you secure work while also gaining a qualification. Instead of a classroom based route, everything you learn is within the workplace. Meaning that you can be working business hours from Monday to Friday 9 am to 5pm, but this does depend on the employer.

Basic Overview

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 you are ever struggling or need help, they are there to give any guidance needed. The length of an apprenticeship is much shorter than 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.

Hands on experience

One of the main advantages of an apprenticeship is that you will have experience in a working environment, giving you 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 £4.30 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. 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.

No position is the same

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. Instead of learning the same things as 100+ students, your time as an apprentice can be unique. 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 into different roles.. 

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.

How 360 Apprenticeships can help

If you would like to start your apprenticeship journey, 360 Apprenticeships can help. We provide a free service from first point of contact to the successful placement of each apprentice. Every apprentice who is successful will only be placed with the best training providers (Graded 1 and/or 2 by Ofsted) so you know that everyone is in safe hands.

You can find out more regarding the apprenticeship scheme on our website. To speak to one of our recruiters directly, you can contact us on:

0161 4644805

or email us at [email protected]. You can also find us on social media:

Facebook: 360 Apprenticeships

Instagram: @360apprenticeships

LinkedIn: 360-apprenticeships

Twitter: @360Apprentices

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