Whether you are thinking about further education or not, ultimately the final destination will be the workplace. Going to university or even doing a master’s degree or PhD, all ultimately serve to help you in your working life. But, unless you need that qualification for your career (as some do), is going to university just an expensive waste of time? Perhaps you might be better off getting your career started right away with an apprenticeship?
University education isn’t a bad thing, and many people enjoy the experience just for the learning itself – a reason why many mature students opt to return to studying later in life. But is it the best way to get a good career?
For years young people have been told that the smart move for a good career is to go to university, and it is hard to ignore the advice that may be coming from your parents, peers, or even teachers. But how do you know about the alternatives if you never look? If everyone is reading from the same sheet, how can you ever know if they are right or wrong?
Apprenticeship statistics are certainly helping to test the theory that university is always the best move for bright college-leavers looking for a good career. With an ever-increasing number of apprenticeships available in a variety of sectors, apprenticeships are a genuinely viable alternative to university for getting your career started.
Putting things into perspective, apprenticeships offer you on-the-job training and experience, a wage, and a qualification, and if you work hard and show dedication you can end up with a permanent job. University offers a qualification and some extra study in a certain discipline – but for this you have to pay thousands in tuition fees, and there is no guarantee of a great job at the end. Of course, an apprenticeship does not ‘guarantee’ a job either (you can mess it up!), but at least if you have a foot in the door at a company you have the chance to impress, right?
Apprenticeships are a great option for those who have a good idea what they want to do in their career. Offering direct training and experience rather than theory, an apprenticeship also gives you the chance to network in your chosen career. Some people prefer the hands-on experience that an apprenticeship offers too.
With openings in areas from accountancy to law and business, to more hands-on roles like engineering and brick-laying, there is plenty of choice out there for those willing to look. Companies are also seeing the benefits of employing apprentices, since they are able to train young people to do a job before any bad habits creep in from elsewhere. By understanding what employers want from apprentices you can also improve your chances of getting the one you want.
With the apprenticeship levy on its way it looks like apprenticeship numbers are going to continue rising, which can only mean more opportunities for young people to get their careers started right away – without the debts!
Of course, university is great for many young people, but why not at least check what apprenticeships are available where you live – after all, it never hurts to be informed, does it?