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After finishing college, it is time to think about your future career all the more seriously.

Whilst you may have harboured dreams of being a pilot or a ballerina during those early years, when you have worked so hard at achieving your A-levels you need to consider exactly where you will want to spend your working life.

The two main considerations to make are whether you want to continue your education in a formal setting, or whether you want to start some work based learning?

While higher education is still a popular choice, attracting thousands of students every year, it seems that rising tuition costs and changes to requirements in the working world have made apprenticeships a key choice too.

So, how do you make the decision between the two? Let us help by summarising the main benefits and drawbacks of each.


Universities come out on top when it comes to having plenty of choices. There are thousands of courses to be found at universities throughout the country, meaning that you are likely to find the exact course that you are looking for.

Apprenticeships are often thought to be tailored only to those manual trades and sectors such as engineering. However, this definitely isn’t the case now. Apprenticeships have undergone an impressive transformation and now cover industries such as law, media, journalism and even IT, with many more to come.

Practical or academic?

If you are someone who learns through seminars, workshops and lectures then the theory based approach of university is going to be the right choice for you. Here you will take a research approach to education; before being let loose on the working world to showcase your skills.

Apprenticeships are a practical approach to learning, while on an apprenticeship you will be actually doing the job you are training for, allowing you to experience it first-hand and absorb the skills needed.

Job prospects

While you may attend university with a particular career in mind, when you achieve your degree you won’t find yourself limited to one particular career. A degree looks great on your CV, even if you are applying for a role that is completely outside the subject you studied.

When you complete an apprenticeship, you will find that the choices open to you are slightly more limited. Often to one type of role, or one particular industry.


If cost is a concern for you, then an apprenticeship is going to be the winner for you. For those who are under 25, apprenticeships are completely free to complete; with the study aspects paid for by your employer and the government.

This is compared to the £9,000 per year that you are likely to need to pay in tuition fees, not to mention the living costs that are associated with attending university.

Now you know a little more about the main differences between studying at university and within an apprenticeship setting. The decision is down to you and where you see yourself heading in the future.

The important thing to remember is to take your time and weigh everything up carefully that way, no matter which you choose, you can be sure that it is the right choice for you.