Decided on a career path? Apprenticeship is a no-brainer

19-year-old Harriet Rhys-Jones worked in admin during her gap year, before deciding to opt for the vocational pathway over university. She chose to join PricewaterhouseCoopers as an apprentice, turning down an offer from King’s College, London.

She said: “My gap year really whet my appetite to get into business. I did some research and realised doing a degree would give me no advantage. I am on a two-year programme and if I pass, I will be invited on to the graduate scheme. If you know what you want to do then an apprenticeship is a no-brainer. Not only are you learning on the job and getting a salary, but I have medical insurance and when I’m 21, I can start paying into a pension.”

At companies such as PwC, the selection process for apprenticeships is tough.

Head of student recruitment Richard Irwin says“We would not discourage young people from going to university, but where companies have a good choice of apprenticeships this is becoming an increasingly appealing option. Employers are taking a more enlightened approach to apprenticeships because they can see the merits. That distinction between university and the academic, and apprenticeships and the vocational, is no longer meaningful or merits discussion. The question now is: “What career path do you want?”