We spend a lot of time pointing out the benefits of apprenticeships as a route into work – such as a lack of debt, getting some genuine experience of work, and organised training for your future career, not forgetting a wage and the improved chances of landing a job once you have qualified. These are all great things, but are there other reasons to choose an apprenticeship? What about quality of life? Especially with people heading off to new adventures at university – can an apprenticeship match up in the enjoyment stakes too?
Of course, an apprenticeship means that you will have to head out to work, just like with a regular job, although you will also get some time to study too. Compared to university, with its life of minimal responsibility it seems that there can only be one winner – university - at least until your money runs out and you are forced to go out and find a job!
Of course, the stereotypical ‘student lifestyle’ sounds like more fun than going to work every day, but an apprenticeship, like a degree, is not your final destination. So it is worth looking further than the next three or four years!
We spoke with nearly 2, 700 people aged between 21 and 30 to see how they were adjusting to life at work, and 68% of those who had taken apprenticeships said they were ‘fully satisfied’ with their careers, as opposed to just 26% of university graduates.
The figures would suggest that you are more likely to be happy in your work having done an apprenticeship than if you went to university. So, after shelling out for university fees in order to get ahead, why is it that graduates don’t seem as happy as their apprenticeship peers?
Over half of the graduates (53%) felt that their degree courses failed to provide them with sufficient preparation for work, while 41% complained of a bad working relationship with their employers, adding that their work wasn’t actually related to the degree they studied. 14% even regretted going to university at all, while 17% said that their salary expectations were still low three years after graduation!
Low wages, not finding employment in your chosen field and no getting on with your boss are all a recipe for being unhappy at work. As competition for suitable work becomes increasingly fierce, many graduates are finding life after university doesn’t match their expectations.
By contrast, a staggering 89% of apprentices were satisfied with their apprenticeship, while 85% said their ability to do the job had improved, and 83% of the apprentices felt their career prospects had improved. These figures, which were part of a recent study by the National Careers Service, show a very different picture from that faced by graduates. Could it be that the university dream is out-of-step with the modern reality?
It seems that if you want to be happy at work, you are better off taking an apprenticeship. Not only will you avoid the crippling debt of tuition fees, and stand a better chance of landing a suitable role once you are finished, but you are more likely to be satisfied with your career too!
An apprenticeship is no longer a second-best choice for those who didn’t make it to university. With an increasing range of options becoming available, and a rise in apprenticeship pay, surely it is time to consider an apprenticeship as a serious option?
To get an idea as to what is on offer in your area, you can search our current list of apprenticeship openings here.