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Why do young people choose apprenticeships over a degree?

With apprenticeships becoming more popular, myths that they are useless are quickly becoming dispelled

With mounting debts and the ‘worth’ of a degree under question for many people, more and more young people are considering apprenticeships over the traditional route of education. With apprenticeships becoming more popular, myths that they are useless are quickly becoming dispelled.

That is, however, a primary reason. In recent years, university fees were raised to a maximum of £9,000 per year, and nowadays some institutions charge even more. And that fee does not include maintenance. This high price leads students to take out loans, leaving them with debts in the tens of thousands. This is far from ideal for a twenty-something about to build a career. Apprenticeships give young people the chance to start earning straight away without the burden of a debt to drag them down.

Many apprenticeships still offer the chance to get a degree, too. Learning on the job while getting a degree is what many university students miss out on – instead they are given theoretical lessons. A large number of learners consider it a fast-track way to gain experience, which is something that most degrees lack.

Along with the experience that it provides, young people can gain a good idea of what a business is like from the very first day. Completing a degree can give you a great deal of knowledge, but there is little that can prepare you for the ins and outs of life in the workforce.

Being an apprentice takes the pressure off while providing experience as a working adult. The post-degree leap of faith is erased. An apprenticeship also gives students a chance to build up a strong network of colleagues in their industry – a good way of getting ahead and creating stepping stones into more senior job roles.

All of this can make students feel like they are being given a head start over their university-educated peers. In many ways, that’s true. Many students use university as their deciding period – a chance to figure out their specialism and choose a career.

However, if they already know exactly what they want to do, the idea of an apprenticeship is very attractive. It cuts out the three years that people use to make their decisions – for these students, they have already decided and three years of theoretical learning would be a waste of time. Apprenticeships can give them a leg up.

The chance to earn while they learn and get a good head start is a winning combination. Apprenticeships are rising in popularity, and it isn’t hard to see why.


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