These days more and more learners are throwing aside UCAS applications and investing their time into applying for Apprenticeships with companies that will not only train them in their desired field, but pay them as well!
Where University courses have remained deeply rooted in academic research, Apprenticeships provide learners with a pedigree of real-world workplace skills that actively contribute to their professional development. School leavers these days can choose from a diverse range of Apprenticeships.
Ever since tuition fees went up to £9,000 in 2012, University graduates have found themselves saddled with a mass of debt upon graduating. Initially, it was thought that the career prospects gained as a result of a degree meant that debt was a necessary evil to enter into a successful career. Unfortunately, once these students graduated they found themselves in an oversaturated graduate job market with limited availability, and often having to settle for unpaid internships. In recent years, school leavers have been driven to look for a viable alternative.
These are the main reasons why Apprenticeships are becoming more popular than University:
1.Avoid Student Loan Debt
One of the biggest reasons for the growth in popularity of Apprenticeships is that they are debt free. Apprenticeship training is funded by the government and the learner/Apprentice does not pay course fees (subject to eligibility). In some cases the employer may pay a proportion of the training costs. In an Apprenticeship you earn a salary whilst you learn, so there is no need to borrow money for living costs either. High UK living costs mean that moving out of home at 18 to live in a rented house or University halls (usually away from the student’s family home) means taking on the same living expenses of that of a full-time working person. There are no student discounts for rent, gas, electricity, water rates, TV licence, Internet or Council Tax!
2.Learn Practical Work Skills
One of the biggest drawing factors of Apprenticeships is the capacity to learn skills on the go. From day one, Apprentices are on the frontline, working and learning practical skills that they’ll use throughout their careers. Traditional University education is often disconnected from practical workplace skills. Students are taught according to their module outlines, but most subjects are based on academic research and theories, rather than skills they will actively use in a workplace environment. More often than not, being good preparing coursework and completing exam papers does not equate to being able to work in busy workplace environments. In addition, Apprentices are taught up-to-date practices by professionals in their fields.
3.Gain Professional Qualifications
On an Apprenticeship, a learner will finish their placement with professional and vocational qualifications that are ‘job-role’ and industry specific. Qualifications vary from national vocational qualifications, to knowledge-based qualifications, functional skills qualifications and technical certificates. Particularly able candidates will be able to work their way up to advanced Levels 4 and 5 qualifications to showcase their skills. University degrees are often much more generalist when compared to the industry-specific nature of Apprenticeship qualifications.
4.Short and Long Term Earning Potential
The capacity to earn whilst you learn is a key selling point for Apprenticeships over University. You’ll be able to learn new skills and work to pay the bills all in one go. University graduates will have had their working lives actively hindered by their University work, whilst accumulating debt from student loans! The Sutton Trust suggests that many Apprentices will achieve greater lifetime earnings than graduates. Sutton Trust research (2015) indicates that ‘the very best Apprenticeships (at level 5) results in greater lifetime earnings than degrees from non-Russell Group Universities’, with level 5 Apprentice’s earning on average of £1.5 million, around £52,000 more than graduates from non Russell-Group Universities. Earnings for Apprenticeships vary and here you can see some Apprenticeship Vacancy examples to give you an idea.
In today’s market, having the right connections are vital to success. Networking is a commonly neglected part of traditional University education. University departments may urge students to network, but a considerable amount of students fail to network throughout their time at University. Those doing Apprenticeships will be expanding their contact lists from day one. From the beginning, Apprentices are meeting people actively involved within their industry, each with their own unique set of contacts.
In comparison, students at University are often isolated from contacts within their industry of choice. This means that any effort to network must be done on the students own time, whereas an apprentice’s network will grow organically.
Finally, as an Apprentice, you are already employed when you complete your training and 90% of Apprentices stay in employment - 71% of which stay with the same employer according to the NAS - National Apprenticeship Service (2016).
About Paragon Skills
- Established in 1998, Paragon Skills is the sixth largest training provider in England, with over 4,000 learners currently engaged in learning programmes.
- They are a national provider of work-based training and have positioned themselves as the SME local private training provider of choice.
- Offering intermediate and advanced apprenticeships and the additional ability to offer bespoke training, which is relevant to individual companies.
- All training programmes are delivered by qualified and experienced industry professionals, with programmes that are role-relevant and industry endorsed.
Call: 0800 783 2545 for general enquiries