Is an apprenticeship the smart choice for the brightest students?

For years now teachers and parents have focused on the idea that the brightest students ought to go to university.Is the smart choice for the brightest students an apprenticeship though?Apprenticeships are for people who aren't academicApprenticeships have been misunderstood by many and for a long time as the choice for the less academic. Over the last year though we’ve witnessed a reversal of this thought, with many more people coming out and speaking up for apprenticeships as a fantastic route into a career.The costs of universityWith the costs of university escalating; not just tuition fees but also accommodation costs more and more young people are getting turned onto the idea that an apprenticeship might offer them a great opportunity to begin their career without landing themselves with a huge debt.Add to the rising tuition fees and accommodation costs the fact that the maintenance grant is now being cut and the questions that have been raised over the quality of teaching and learning and the actual contact time that university students get and some might say that the truly smart student will opt for an apprenticeship over full time university study.Does doing an apprenticeship mean I can't get a degree?Beginning your career as an apprentice doesn’t mean that you abandon the idea of getting a degree and not only do new degree apprenticeships begin this year, but many employers will see a good apprentice through their degree anyway.How do you decide whether full time university study or a degree is best for you?It used to be thought that apprenticeships were just for people who wanted to work in construction or perhaps plumbing. This is no longer the case. Many highly skilled and rigorously academic careers can be started through an apprenticeship; jobs in accountancy and law for example can be accessed via the apprenticeship route and are just as academically challenging as university study.The future is brightNever before it seems have young people had so much choice – you’d be surprised what careers you can get into without going to university and studying full time. Apprenticeships might well be the choice for the smart student.

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