If you are thinking about what to do when you leave school or college you may be weighing up whether to go on to do more study at university, or whether to opt to take an apprenticeship. While many will consider university, others may be slightly put off by the level of debt involved with paying for tuition as well as any living costs. Such money worries can be off-putting, although many A level students will accept the debts involved as part of the process, as if it was an unavoidable situation if you want a good career. But does a degree automatically lead to a good career? And how sure can you be that you will get a good enough job to repay the debts?
As you can tell, money is certainly one of the big factors when it comes to deciding what to do next, but even if money was no object, there are other very compelling reasons to choose an apprenticeship…
The first great thing about an apprenticeship is that you will be getting training in a skill, trade, profession or industry that is directly applicable to the workplace - whether that is in law, construction, IT, engineering, or finance.
Let’s put it another way, academic learning is all good and (as we mentioned on Monday), reading books can actually help you earn more money - but for some jobs you can’t beat real, on-the-job training with an expert.
You probably wouldn’t be too comfortable letting an untrained person loose on your hair, let alone when fixing the brakes on your car!
Not only is this sort of real-life training good for your career, but it is also looked upon well by employers – after all, who wouldn’t want to employ someone who knew what they were doing - and could prove it with a relevant qualification?
With the training comes experience in doing the job. Since apprenticeships are split between time spent actually doing the job (with expert guidance) and some class-based learning (normally one day a week), there is plenty of time for you to gain real workplace experience. Learning the right way to do something, plus perhaps a few handy tricks of the trade, alongside an experienced teacher will certainly help you progress quicker in your career.
Not only will this real experience help you hit the ground running when you qualify, but it will also help build up your confidence at work and doing the job you are working towards.
No matter what job you are doing, it always pays to have some good contacts. Building a network of people in the same industry can help you get ahead in your career and can take years to build up. However, with an apprenticeship, the introductions are being done for you pretty much from day one as enter the workplace. Of course you will have to make a good impression and show that you can work hard, but the potential is there. All you need to do is apply yourself and make it happen.
- Get A (Satisfying) Job
When you have finished your training and are ready to get your career started you probably don’t want to end up having to do something else instead. Unfortunately, many university graduates struggle to find relevant work once they leave and end up having to take jobs that they could have got without ever having gone to university in the first place. This waste of time and money is not something faced by most apprentices who go straight into relevant work – often with the employer they trained with. Rather than getting qualified and then having to look for work, with an apprenticeship, so long as you proved you were fit for the job, you have a great chance of stepping straight into a relevant role.
Employers know what they are getting and so do you, so is it any surprise to hear that job satisfaction among recently qualified apprentices is higher than among new graduates?
Of course, it is not for us to decide what is right for you. Only you can really know what you want to do with your life – and even then that may and can change later on. However, how can you make a proper decision if you never look at the options?
You can take a look at the range of apprenticeships in your area right here on NotGoingtoUni – surely it can’t hurt to at least look?