7 September 2023

10 Apprenticeship Myths: Debunked

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Apprenticeships have changed. More and more young people are choosing to do apprenticeships as an alternative to going to university. 

School and college leavers are starting a career months after finishing their GCSEs or A-Levels.

They are earning while learning, and gaining valuable work experience as they work towards professional experience – some apprentices even get a degree!

All this without having to pay back-breaking tuition fees. 

The transformation of apprenticeships has significantly increased career options for young people. Companies that offered the most sought-after graduate schemes are now employing apprentices straight out of school. 

And yet, some students, parents and teachers still have negative attitudes towards apprenticeships. 

So here are ten myths about apprenticeships and the truths behind them. Make sure you have all the facts and explore every pathway when you’re considering your next step after school or college.

MYTH #1 Apprenticeships are just for tradespeople

REALITY; Apprenticeships are available in a crazy range of industries and job roles

In the last year, over 3000 search engine users asked ‘what types of apprenticeships can you do?’ many of which would have been under the illusion you can only be a trade apprentice. 

Apprenticeships were traditionally associated with trade industries, like plumbing and construction. You can now do an apprenticeship in a wide variety of sectors, from accounting and banking to consulting and engineering.

The range of schemes on offer has increased significantly. Now, there are programmes available in over 1,500 different job roles, across 170 sectors.

MYTH #2  Those who go to university are always better off

REALITY; Many school leaver schemes fast-track your career

For careers in many different industries, going to university isn’t always the fastest route. Apprentices receive on-the-job training, as well as earning the qualifications that are required for a particular profession. They are work-ready!

In fact, a study by the Sutton Trust suggests that higher-level apprentices can expect to earn over £50,000 more than most graduates in their careers. 

MYTH #3  University degrees are needed for most jobs

REALITY; 31% of graduates are in non-graduate level jobs

Not long ago, if you headed to university, you were considered to be at an advantage over those who hadn’t. No more. The UK now has more graduates than it has graduate jobs.

So ask yourself, do you need to go to university to pursue your dream career? If you want to be a dentist, you will need a university degree. For most other highly-skilled professions, there are alternative pathways that avoid tuition fees.

MYTH #4   University is the best route for high achievers

REALITY; More and more students with top A-Levels are choosing to do apprenticeships

Organisations that offer the most sought-after graduate schemes also offer apprenticeships.

Students who would usually go to university and then apply for a graduate scheme are starting work immediately after they leave school or college. Employers are giving high-achieving students the chance to start a career earlier than traditional graduates.

Are you a parent? Head over to our ParentsHub, a dedicated space full of comprehensive resources to support your child.

MYTH #5   Apprenticeship qualifications are worthless

REALITY; Qualifications are nationally recognised, and you can even get a degree!

All apprentices work towards a qualification, regardless of what type of scheme they are enrolled on.

These qualifications are recognised nationally by both employers and higher education institutions, and you can work your way up the ladder by moving on to higher-level apprenticeships as you qualify.

In some sectors, such as accountancy, you can actually qualify quicker than a graduate!

Did you also know that 19% of advanced apprentices progress to university over time? Degree apprenticeships are also proving a very popular choice for both past apprentices and those with A-Levels.

MYTH #6  Apprenticeships are only for school leavers

REALITY; You can do a degree apprenticeship that combines on-the-job training with studying for a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree – the best of both worlds!

There are four main types of apprenticeship available to choose from, from GCSE level to degree. 

An apprenticeship is no longer just an option for 16 year olds who want an alternative to A-Levels or BTECs. In fact, there are levels including intermediate, advanced, higher and degree, meaning it’s a career option for those well beyond the school leaving year.

MYTH #7 Apprenticeships are badly paid

REALITY; It can be quite the opposite!

In fact, an apprenticeship salary can be a big positive on the pro / con list for choosing an apprenticeship as your next career step.

Our recent study into the highest-paid apprenticeship salary locations across the UK revealed apprentices in Sunderland were earning £49,758 on average.

Compared to the average graduate job salary in 2023 of £26,740 – it shows apprenticeships can, in fact, be much higher paid than postgraduate jobs.

MYTH #8 Apprenticeships are a thing of the past

REALITY; Apprenticeships are becoming more and more popular with people wanting to start earning as early as possible without compromising their learning or development

Companies and industries are quickly learning that the more entry options they can offer potential candidates, the wider scope of talent they’re going to acquire. 

More and more modern apprenticeships are becoming available in roles and industries never seen before, showing that apprenticeships aren’t ageing but instead moving with the times.

Some of the most exciting apprenticeships available include working for companies such as the Premier League, the Ministry of Defence or, even, Walt Disney.

MYTH #9 Apprenticeships are boring

REALITY; Apprenticeships are not just full-time education but, instead, balance theory and practical working where you can put what you learn into practice on the job

If you’re looking for variety in your day-to-day then apprenticeships can offer just that. Going from real-world meetings to studying with a tutor, you get the perfect balance between on-the-job training and gaining a qualification.

Both of these typically work in sync, too, complimenting each other well and adding value to both sides.

Don’t just take our word for it! See how a day in the life of an apprentice differs from industry to industry and get a snapshot into the day-to-day.

MYTH #10 Apprenticeships are only available in vocational industries

REALITY; There are apprenticeships available in most industries now

There is now an apprenticeship for every type of job you might be looking for.

Whether you’re looking to cook up a storm as an apprentice chef, save lives with an NHS apprenticeship or even work to develop new ice cream flavours as a food professional apprentice – there’s an apprenticeship waiting for your application.

If you’re ready to start an exciting career, choose an apprenticeship. 

And if you’re asking yourself ‘what’s an apprenticeship?’ Tell me even more!’ our website has lots of resources packed with the latest facts!

If you’re a parent trying to help steer your child in the right direction and want to understand more about the apprenticeship opportunities available, then we have you covered. 

Discover more parental information about apprenticeships with RateMyApprenticeship today.