University is not the be all and end all of higher education. Schools and universities alike are often pushing for more students to enrol in traditional courses that are more often than not focused on academic and theoretical exploration of topics. Though this can be welcome to some students, there are those who find a more vocational approach an easier way to digest information and, eventually, put it into practice. This is where apprenticeships come in. With the UK government putting more and more money into apprenticeships, they’re fast becoming the highest quality alternative to traditional university education. But how do you know if an apprenticeship is right for you? And more importantly, what can you stand to get out of one if you choose to undertake it?
An apprenticeship is focused on teaching on the job. You learn key skills and receive up-to-date training in your area of expertise, while getting paid for the work you do. Some apprenticeships even sponsor people on university courses, allowing you to work part-time in your field whilst also receiving your degree. Employers who run apprenticeship schemes are looking for people they can hire on a permanent, full-time basis, and often use these schemes to give you direct work experience that’ll make you fully qualified by the time you’re hired. Just under 500,000 students took on an apprenticeship in the last year, with huge varieties available in multiple industries, from accountancy to digital marketing to film and television production to law and healthcare.
So why do people do an apprenticeship? Many have stated that the financial benefits of the scheme are what pushes them to take on this exciting role. With university fees steadily rising and the average graduate coming out with around £50,000 worth of student debt, an apprenticeship offers a great alternative. Not only are you avoiding debt, but you’re also being paid an annual salary as you work, which can help support you financially right from the beginning. You’ll also learn key skills and gain invaluable work experience that’ll remain with you throughout your career. Employers like to see experience and a wide variety of skills on resumes, and an apprenticeship could give you a great advantage over other candidates when applying for jobs.
Of course, you might be concerned that there are no apprenticeships in the area you want to work in. As of 2018, the UK government is investing more in vocational education, and the National Apprenticeships Service estimate that there are around 1,500 jobs and schemes already available across the United Kingdom. You’ll also receive a fully certified qualification after completing your apprenticeship, ranging from BTECs and A-Level equivalents to HNDs and degrees. An apprenticeship scheme is designed to not only prepare you for the workplace but give you the tools you need to succeed for the rest of your career- not just in one job.
Due to the long-standing history of university education, some people are reluctant to consider apprenticeships as a genuine alternative to attending college. But there are remarkable similarities to the university experience that you would gain by doing an apprenticeship scheme. You have plenty of choice when it comes to selecting your scheme and still get your degree at the end of it, just through an alternative way to the typical route. You also do not usually need to have the highest grades coming out of secondary education. Many schemes and employers are looking for potential and an ability to learn and adapt- rather than how many As or Bs you got.
So why not consider an apprenticeship today?