For the longest of time, gaining a degree could only be done by attending university. However now, there are other ways you can obtain a degree and the alternative to attending university is by completing an apprenticeship. What is an apprenticeship you might be wondering? An apprenticeship combines classroom learning with employment. This means that whilst learning about your chosen career path and taking exams, you have the ability to work and earn too.
Below, I will be outlining some of the advantages and disadvantages of both options.
1. University has very little work experience to offer whilst an apprenticeship allows one to work almost daily for the duration of their course.
2. Universities have a large number of courses to offer whilst there is a very limited choice in the apprenticeships you can take.
3. You do not earn an income at university and in order to earn money you need to find a part-time job. However, doing an apprenticeship means you are earning as you are learning.
4. University courses are broad. This means that you have a large variety of careers you can go into. Apprenticeships are very specific and therefore you are restricted in what you can do.
5. University is not cheap. Each year of study costs a minimum of £9000 and that’s without any maintenance loans. On the other hand, apprenticeships are free which means you are debt free.
6. Achieving a degree from a university is seen as more reputable than doing an apprenticeship.
7. In order to go to university, you also need to complete your A levels which take two years if you pass them the first time round. However, you can start an apprenticeship straight after your GCSEs which means A levels are not required.
8. University gives one time to decide what career you want to get into over the duration of the course. With an apprenticeship, you must know what career you want to go into beforehand.
9. Universities offer to give academic skills whereas apprenticeships offer to give real world skills.
10. After leaving university, you can have to go find your own employer. However, those offering apprenticeships usually keep on the apprentices after their apprenticeship is finished.
As you can see, both options allow you to reach the same goal but just in a different manner. It really depends on the kind of person you are. Some people may not enjoy being in a classroom and may enjoy being practical whilst some people may prefer learning. Both routes have similar duration times but for some career paths it may vary. For example, a typical Law degree takes 3 years and then an additional year for the LPC to become a qualified solicitor which means a total of 4 years in university. However, an apprenticeship takes up to 5-6 years to become a qualified solicitor. On the other hand, the duration to become an accountant is same whether you choose to do an apprenticeship or decide to go to university.
Both routes have their advantages and disadvantages but the opportunity that comes with both of them is similar. It’s just the case of figuring out what suits you best.