Apprenticeship VS University: Pro’s and Con’s

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Deciding what to do after school can be a tough decision…

Do you go to university and gain a degree or get an apprenticeship whilst earning money along the way? Study full time for at least another 3 years or jump straight into the working world?


Here we weigh up the options so you can discover what is best for you:

What qualification will you receive?

Universities tend to offer four qualification levels; foundation degree, bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and post-doctoral degree (PhD).

Some careers, such as a doctor or lawyer, require you to have a degree in that specific field. Whereas for many employers, a specific degree is not asked for but may still be desired for the research, communication and organisational skills that are gained.

Apprenticeships are recognised qualifications that work in levels ranging from level 2 – level 7. The benefit of an apprenticeship is that alongside your qualification you’ll also gain hands-on experience and have the opportunity to apply your skills straight away.

Either way, receiving qualification from a university or an apprenticeship will set you up in a good position for getting a job.

How long will it take?

The length of time it takes to complete an apprenticeship varies depending on your prior skills, the qualification you’re earning and the requirements of the sector. They are at least 12 months and generally speaking, take around one to two years to complete.

On the other hand, a Bachelor’s degree typically takes three years but can take longer depending on the field of study.

How much will it cost?

Attending university isn’t cheap, it costs £9,250 per year in tuition fees and then you have to add your living expenses on top! So for the majority of people who attend university, you can expect to leave with some level of debt.

However, don’t let this completely put you off as you won’t need to start making repayments until you earn a minimum of £26,576 a year.

Apprenticeships, on the other hand, are completely free if you’re under 25 as the government and your employer will fund your training.

Another great reason to choose an apprenticeship is they allow students to earn while they learn, meaning you won’t have a hefty student loan when you finish their qualification.

What will I earn?


If you opt to go to university you’ll have to wait till you’ve finished your degree before earning a full-time wage. A part-time job is an option but finding the balance between studying, working and having a social life can be tricky!

A big benefit of doing an apprenticeship is that it enables you to earn a decent wage whilst also learning key skills and gaining a qualification.

The minimum wage for an apprenticeship is £4.15 an hour but many employers choose to offer more than this especially as your skills progress. This helps your bank account whilst also giving you an extra incentive to do well in your apprenticeship!


One of the main differences between going to university and doing an apprenticeship is the lifestyle change. At university, you’ll have the opportunity to live in student halls, join societies, go to freshers week and meet students from all around the world who are passionate about your chosen subject.

This can be an amazing experience for a lot of people but it’s also not everyone’s cup of tea!

With an apprenticeship, you’ll spend the majority of time in the workplace, with one or two days per week or month spent training. This learning can occur in a college, university or even the workplace itself.

If you like the idea of earning a full-time wage whilst also learning on the job an apprenticeship could be perfect for you!

To find out more about the wide range of flexible and tailored apprenticeships we offer click here..

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