What is the Best Career Choice?

As students think about their career options and future employment prospects, an important decision is whether to choose an apprenticeship or a traditional university degree.

According to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), university still remains the most popular route, with more than half a million students starting a bachelor’s degree during the academic year 2017/18. In the same year, more than 48,000 students started a higher, degree or level 4-7 apprenticeship. Although this figure is still low in comparison to traditional university students, it is a 32% increase on the previous academic year, proving that more people are becoming aware of the benefits an apprenticeship can offer.

If you’re preparing for the future and looking at the options available, we’ve explored the differences between university and apprenticeships, to help you make the right decision that suits you.

Should I go to university or do an apprenticeship?

When it comes to choosing the best route for you, it’s not simply one is better than the other. University and apprenticeships offer different ways of working, as well as different structures and benefits.

The type of education you choose will depend on the industry you want to work in, the subject you want to learn, the type of learning you prefer and what is best overall for you.

Benefits of an apprenticeship

One of the main benefits of an apprenticeship is that you can earn while you learn. You will also avoid steep tuition fees and student loans, whilst still having the chance to gain nationally recognised qualification. Apprenticeships allow you to start your career straight from school, gaining valuable experience on the job and focusing on a specialism of your choice.

  • Earn money on the job and receive holiday pay
  • Avoid student tuition fees
  • Gain accredited industry related qualifications
  • Learn in a workplace environment
  • Develop skills specific to the job and industry you want to work in
  • Fast track into a professional career
  • Work alongside and learn from experienced colleagues
  • Become highly employable

Benefits of university

Some job roles require a specific degree that needs to be gained at university, and it allows you to explore your subject in-depth. University will open up a broad range of careers and provide you with a number of transferable skills you can take with you into working life. It is also a good option if you want to study whilst having time to figure out what you want to do with your future, exploring different areas of your industry.

  • Choose from a wide range of subjects
  • Explore your chosen subject in-depth
  • Gain a bachelor’s degree, and potentially go on to achieve a Masters or PHD
  • Open up a wide variety of career options
  • Gain transferable skills
  • Participate in a variety of social activities
  • Take time to figure out your future alongside study

If you feel that an apprenticeship is the right option for you, or would like to find out more about how an apprenticeship can kickstart your career, please get in touch.


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