A-Level results day: apprenticeship or university?

It was A-Level results day on Thursday 14th August, and across the country young people tore open brown envelopes to sighs of disappointment of squeals of joy.

If you haven’t got the grades to go to university, fret not, as there are plenty of other options out there. Higher apprenticeships are now seen as equal to university degrees, as savvy teenagers choose to get a foot on the career ladder and start earning money rather than facing the debt of university.

We have listed a few points below to bear in mind if you are wondering what to do when you finish school.

  • Universities in the UK can charge up to £9,000 per year in tuition fees. This is covered by a student loan which you start paying back gradually once you are earning. An apprenticeship will cost you nothing as the employer and government cover your training costs. You will earn money, at least £2.68p/h, although many employers pay more than this.
  • University study typically lasts for three years, apprenticeships between one and three, depending on the level of training.
  • Neither pathway guarantees a job upon completion. Graduates often find themselves working in unskilled professions, at least temporarily, to make ends meet whilst they hunt for a job relevant to their degree. An employer is likely to keep an apprentice on as a full time employee when they finish their training, because they have invested time and money in the young person’s development.
  • Many young people choose to go to university because they don’t want to miss out on the social life. On an apprenticeship, you will be meeting new people every day and hopefully socialising with them out of work too. Besides, you can always save the weekends to visit friends at University!
  • Apprenticeships aren’t just for blue-collar roles such as construction and engineering anymore. You can do an apprenticeship in just about anything, from accounting to journalism. If you think you can only achieve your dream job through getting a degree, you’re probably wrong, so do a bit of research first and weigh up your options.