Don't do an apprenticeship to avoid tuition feesPosted: 11th of March 2015 by
In the news today, Nick Boles MP said about apprenticeships that:
apprenticeships should be regarded as a clear alternative to a full time university place"
While it is absolutely correct to say that many gifted young people are unaware that they can begin their career by undertaking an apprenticeship, assuming incorrectly that full time study at university is their only option, speaking about apprenticeships so often as 'as alternative to university sets up a false dichotomy.
Avoiding tuition fees
No one should do an apprenticeship simply to avoid university fees. Young people choosing to go down the apprenticeship route for this reason is certainly not in the interest of employers and it still clings to the image of apprenticeships as a second choice, not because they are not valuable but because they are an option to choose based on the avoidance of tuition fees, rather than an option that is right for you.
Apprenticeship and university options
The other problem with comparing apprenticeships to university study in this way is that it limits the commentary and understanding of apprenticeships. Young people do not simply need to make a choice as to whether to go to university or do an apprenticeship, this is only one option. Others include undertaking an apprenticeship at 16 and progressing to a full time or part time university degree - and some employers are already recognising the value of funding their apprentices degree courses as a means to investing in that young employee beyond their apprenticeship and allowing for progression within their own company.
Also, let's not forget the degree apprenticeships which are on offer - these allow young people to gain employment as an apprentice whilst studying for a full honours degree - possibly the most appropriate level of study for some young people.
The hard truth is that not every young person will gain level 3 qualifications and beyond and limiting the conversation on apprenticeships to the choice between university and apprenticeships seems either to exclude discussion of those young people, or it pushes us back into a conversation about the academic going to university and the less so doing an apprenticeship.
The other truth is that many careers do not require a degree, over the past decade young people have come to believe that university study is essential for them if they are to compete for jobs - the sad fact is, that too many employers might be feeding this belief; how many graduates do we have working in coffee shops in the UK for example?
The important thing is to get the right information to everybody: employers, young people, teachers and parents but not to pretend; it isn't just about perception, it's about quality and quantity of apprenticeships too and all of these things need addressing - again, by everybody.
But follks, don't opt for an apprenticeship to avoid tuition fees - opt for one because you know all that you need to know, you've found a quality apprenticeship, with an employer who wants to invest in you and because it's right for you.
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