Apprenticeship Or University? Advice For Parents

Posted: 13th of April 2015 by Anonymous

Lots of parents hold on to a dream that their children will one day go to university, graduate, get a great job, and go on to lead successful lives. There may be some variation in exactly what this ‘successful life’ or what the eventual career is – perhaps the dream involves becoming a lawyer or a doctor and having the standard 2.4 children? Others may see an alternative destination, but the route often stays the same – with university being a definite part of the plan. So, it may be somewhat disconcerting to hear that your child doesn’t want to go to university, or even that your advice to do so may not actually be in your child’s best interests!


Of course, every child and situation is different, and for some university is clearly the best or only choice. Some professions require a degree to gain entry, so if this is the case with your own child’s aspirations, then university it is! However, for everyone else there is a choice to be made, and that is the most important thing to realise – there is a real choice.


Let’s face it, in the past there was a clear delineation between university and vocational qualifications. It was widely held that university was for the ‘elite’ – those seen to be very brightest students - while for everyone else there was the vocational route or simply going out and getting a job.  By taking this viewpoint it is easy to see why so many people automatically see university as the destination, but the facts show that, these days, that is not always the case.


Outside of Scotland, every UK university graduate will pay tuition fees, but not every graduate will be able to land a graduate level job. Competition for the best jobs is fierce, and as sad as it sounds many employers still see a hierarchy of universities – meaning that some graduates are seen as more desirable than those from other universities, regardless of them having the same grades.


So, while graduates battle for the best jobs, there is still the fact of tuition fees to think about. In England these are up to £9,000 per year, which is a pretty hefty amount of money. Let’s put it another way, you’d probably be quite happy to get that added to your pay-packet this month as a bonus!


But what if there was another way? What if, instead of paying for a degree, your child could study, earn a small wage, and get work experience that was directly relevant for their desired career? How about if this route also gave them a better chance of landing their dream job than paying to go to university would?  


Sure, the wage might be small, but surely it is still better than paying fees? Even if you consider that repayments on student loans only begin after graduation and when your child is earning above £21,000, it is still a pretty big debt to have. A debt that exists before other life considerations, such as a mortgage.


An apprenticeship may just offer an alternative for your child. Avoiding the debt and getting job-specific training with a real company could provide a better start than university. The fact is, how will you know unless you look?


We can’t tell you what to do - whether an apprenticeship or university would be the best option. That choice is for you, and very-much depends on your own situation and includes everything from money to prospects, and what it is that your student wants to do when they finally enter the workplace.


These factors are for you to work out, but we would certainly advise that you take a proper look at the options before making up your mind as to what is the best move for you and your family.




Have a look at some of the options and openings that are available, here:

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