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At 18 years old, young people who want to stay in education have a huge choice to make: University or Apprenticeship. University is seen as the pinnacle of education by most of the general public, but how do apprenticeships differ from university, and can they be better in some cases?

One thing that apprenticeships have over university is the cost. For full time study in the UK, it’ll cost £9,250 a year, which is £27,750 for a 3-year course or £37,000 for a 4-year course. Whereas apprenticeships usually don’t cost a thing, and you’ll earn some money too with the average wage of an apprentice aged 18-20 being £6.56 according to UCAS.

Another thing that apprenticeships have over university is the likelihood of employment after completion. Apprenticeships give you skills and experience in a chosen sector so getting full employment afterwards can be a lot easier for apprentices than university graduates, as employers value that real world experience you will have gained.

a huge 85% of apprentices stay in employment, and 64% of these continue working with the same employer

As well as rates of employment, the difference in salary between degree apprenticeship graduates and traditional graduate entry roles is almost non-existent.

The median salary on completion of a degree apprenticeship is £32,502, virtually identical to the minimum median salary of £32,500 on programme completion for traditional graduate entry roles. This marks a change from our previous studies where the pay gap was much wider – some 10% in 2020.

The value of apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are often seen as secondary compared to university, but that seems to be changing. CMI (Chartered Management Institute) conducted a study in 2018 where they surveyed more than 1,000 parents of children aged between 11-18 years old.

Chartered Management Institute (CMI) found half (49%) of respondents said they would encourage their child to start a degree apprenticeship rather than an academic-only university course. More than 52% said they are put off by substantial university costs.

CMI also found in their research that 71% of those surveyed believed that achieving a degree level apprenticeship would provide a better chance of getting a job than a traditional university degree, also saying they believe apprenticeships were better value-for-money that a traditional university degree.

This is surprising to hear as CMI research indicated that when they surveyed students, they were pushed towards university by their schools.

out of 1,510 16- to 21-year-olds surveyed, 86% had received guidance from their schools about going to university

The accessibility of apprenticeships can be quite daunting too both from a young person and an employer perspective. A government report published in 2020 said that only 19% of establishments in England offered apprenticeships, slightly higher than Wales and Northern Ireland’s 16% and 12% respectively.

The information around scouting out and applying for apprenticeships can be slightly tough to find, but that should all be changing with the government’s recent announcement of a £7 million commitment to “Flexi-job apprenticeships”.

The fund will establish a small number of agencies that will set up new flexi-job apprenticeships so an apprentice can work across a range of projects and with different employers to gain the knowledge, skills and behaviours they need to be occupationally competent.

EDLounge can find the apprenticeship that best suits you

EDLounge has a prestigious background in digital and creativity delivery via bespoke education technologies that are blended and flexible.

We offer a whole range of apprenticeships that will help prepare your child for the future.

EDLounge delivers apprenticeships through a mixture of regular workplace training, online or classroom workshops, and include online resources for self-study. The delivery methods will ensure off-the-job training requirements are met and that the learner is fully supported throughout their apprenticeship.

If you’re interested, get in touch on 01909 776 916 or email to learn about what apprenticeships we offer and how we can help in any way.