Apprenticeships, University, & EmploymentPosted: 13th of May 2015 by
Statistics show that University applications are at an all-time high, with UCAS reporting an increase in applications in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland compared to last year. While tuition fees remain a subject for debate, it seems that many young people are not deterred by the debts as they borrow to cover their costs, safe in the knowledge that a university education will lead to higher wages, and a chance to pay back their debts. However, this belief may not be factually correct, which begs the question as to whether University is still the best route to a great career, or whether an apprenticeship might actually be a better choice?
Of course, the choice between university or an apprenticeship is not always black and white. There are several factors which need to be considered – including what actual career you want (some will still require a degree). You may also have other considerations like money, and not forgetting the famously feted ‘university lifestyle,’ which may offer freedom if not prosperity!
However, the idea that you will go to university and land a high-paid job which will allow you a better lifestyle and let you pay back those debts (not to mention save for a mortgage!) may be wide of the mark. Certainly, there are graduate jobs that can afford you this, but there don’t seem to be enough to go around. That surely, is the only explanation as to why so many graduates who manage to find work are earning less than their school-leaving peers who took apprenticeships.
That being said, there are parts of the UK where tuition fees are not an issue, while many other students would also rightly point out that they don’t need to start making repayments until they are earning a set amount, and so are happy to ignore the debts. But even ignoring the debt issue, the figures show that your chances of earning more are improved by taking an apprenticeship.
With apprenticeships being offered in an ever-increasing number of industries, the chance of gaining work-experience and training while actually working on the job makes you more employable, while you will also be earning some money while you qualify.
Ultimately, the desired destination for all school or college leavers is a job. Whether that happens right away or after an apprenticeship or university degree is just a matter of a route into work. Sure, there are some career paths that require a degree, but it may not be the only route to your chosen career choice.
To put it another way, if someone was to say that you could build up thousands of pounds in debt and have a slight chance at landing your dream career or, alternatively, avoid the debts and have a better chance of earning more money for your work – and maybe even have a better chance of entering your desired career - it would be worth investigating, surely?
Of course, the choice is yours, and relates to your personal circumstances and career aspirations. For some university will be the best choice, but that no longer seems to be a default truth.
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