Why do an Apprenticeship?
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There’s an awful lot of hullabaloo surrounding apprenticeships these days. A simple Google search can send you tumbling down the rabbit hole, leaving you scratching your head over complex stuff like the apprenticeship levy.
Which is why we’re bringing it back to basics. All this article is going to cover is why an apprenticeship is a great career option. Nothing more, nothing less. You could think of it as the vanilla ice cream of articles. Simple but essential.
So, let’s get started…
What are the benefits of doing an apprenticeship?
There are so, so many reasons why you would embark on an apprenticeship.
Here's just three of them:
1) Earn while you learn
You will have come across this expression on every single apprenticeship website out there. But if you’re still wondering whether apprentices get paid or not, this is your answer.
As well as gaining sector-specific qualifications - be it NVQs, HNCs or a Bachelor’s degree - apprentices get paid. The National Minimum Wage for an apprentice is £3.90 an hour, with many employers paying much, much more. Banking and finance apprentices, for instance, can rake in an average salary of £20,218 a year.
Because of their sparkly CVs and early start on the career ladder, there is the potential for higher apprentices to earn £52,000 more over their lifetime than those who go to a non-Russell Group university.
You’ll also get access to exciting employee perks like paid holidays (at least 20 days), enrollment on a pension scheme and free food. That’s right. FREE. FOOD.*
*Perks vary depending on which company you work for. The cool cats at TransferWise take their employees away on all-expenses-paid holidays every year!
2) Swap textbooks for the workplace
When it comes to education, some learn by doing, some by reading, others by listening. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution.
If you prefer a hands-on approach to learning and you’re keen to get stuck into the world of work, an apprenticeship is probably right for you.
Rather than spending all your days studying in a classroom, you’ll work with industry experts on projects that have an impact on the world around you. This invaluable experience will ensure you gain the knowledge, skills and self-confidence needed to thrive in a professional environment.
3) Watch your career skyrocket
Future employers will be popping champagne mid-interview when they hear about your string of professional qualifications and years of relevant work experience.
Because each scheme is tailored to the needs of the employer, apprentices typically develop the technical know-how and soft skills required to do the job well.
This makes apprentices extremely employable.
90% of apprentices stay in employment after finishing their apprenticeship, with many working their way up to the boardroom. An impressive 30% of Rolls Royce’s senior UK managers first joined as apprentices.
Apprenticeships vs university
You’ve probably been told that university is the quickest - and most respected - route to success. But with apprenticeships becoming an increasingly popular alternative, it’s worth considering all your options carefully.
Firstly, there’s a good chance that you don’t actually need to go to university to pursue your dream career. Whilst certain professions - such as medicine, dentistry and veterinary science - do require a degree, most don’t! In fact, there are now high-quality apprenticeships available in around 15,000 different job roles, across 170 industries including engineering, accounting and law.
Secondly, a university graduate may receive that coveted scroll, but now they are stuck with up to £50,000 worth of debt and often little or no work experience at all. Apprentices, on the other hand, earn money whilst being trained in skills that modern day employers are struggling to find amongst graduates.
If you still can’t make your mind up between university and an apprenticeship, there’s a solution for that too: degree apprenticeships. These nifty schemes allow you to study for a degree while working full-time for a business. Your tuition fees and training costs are taken care of by your employer and the government, so cheers to them.
Can I go to university after doing an apprenticeship?
There’s nothing stopping you from getting some real-world experience as an apprentice, and then heading to university afterwards.
Once you’ve completed a higher apprenticeship (Level 4/5), you can apply for university, a degree apprenticeship or a job. Bear in mind that if you choose to go to university first, you won’t be eligible for the same apprenticeship funding when you graduate.
Deciding what to do when you finish school or college can be a real headache.
It’s a big decision to make at 16, 17, 18... particularly if you don’t have a clue what you want to do.
But now that apprenticeships are widely recognised as a valid alternative to university, the most important thing is to choose the path that's right for you.
For more inspiration, have a read of our in-depth comparison of apprenticeships or university.