Apprenticeships vs University

Tuesday 25 January 2022, UCAS advice


Apprenticeships vs University

University has been the top choice for students all over the UK for longer than we can remember, but is this down to its constant advertising by the government since university was commodified?
Over 30,000 undergraduate degrees exist on the UCAS website for students to choose from. University is a great learning opportunity where you can pick up useful like skills living alone in halls, attending lectures and creating a social life somewhere completely foreign to you! The variety of courses and universities encourage students to take their pick, however, due to the Russel Group system, many of the top employers may only pick students with a degree from 1 of 24 Russel Group universities that are deemed as ‘worthy’ of the best graduate jobs. This is truly unfair as every student (minus Scottish residents) spends £9k a year for tuition alone, no matter the ranking of their institution. The truth is almost all students are aware of this factor yet still take the risk, why? The comfort of doing what everyone else is doing.


Apprenticeships are a fairly new concept in the UK compared to universities. As you can see only two levels of apprenticeships can be considered equal with a university – Level 6 and 7. Degree apprenticeships can enable a student as young as 18 to gain a minimum of 3 years of experience at a firm that willingly sponsors their degree during this time. Not only do they pay for your degree, but they also pay you! Don’t forget that this route is generally more challenging as along with studying, apprentices work at least 32 hours a week as full-time employees within the company. That being said the experiences and knowledge you can gain are life-changing, something I could not be more thankful for. Unfortunately, apprenticeships are commonly looked down on, many parents, teachers and students today still believe that taking this option makes you less intelligent – when in reality people who do apprenticeships are more likely to be hired due to their hard-earned years of experience and skills i.e. multitasking both a career and studying! This sort of stigma and misinformation can make it challenging for young people today to make the right decision and needs to be eradicated. So, if you’re a parent or a teacher out there reading this, please allow children to explore every option they have before they make such a significant decision about their future and remember that whether you go to university or not, it doesn’t make you any less of an academic.


-       Anushka Suman, Data Analyst & NotGoingToUni Ambassador