As technology improves and grows at an exponential rate, new jobs are created along with simplifying other jobs. Many argue technology will eliminate many of our current and create new jobs. This means, a changing marketplace whereby university is no longer the key to career stability and no longer the key for a rewarding high paying job. For todays’ student it creates opportunities along with creating uncertainty. How do you know if an apprenticeship or university is the right choice for yourself?
In the UK late spring and early summer is when student in the UK sit their exams. Exam time can be a stress time when a student begins reaping the reward of studying and begin facing their time in secondary education is beginning to end and deciding on their career is rapidly approaching.
In this brief guide, I will examine the benefits of both university education and apprenticeship while also discussing their potential drawbacks too.
Attendance at university, especially a good university, depends on the right experience along with the right grades and subjects.
Many students wrongfully believe that going for ‘path of least resistance,’ which typically involves easy courses will reward them with a prestigious university place. Unfortunately, universities look at not only grades but breadth of courses along with how challenging the course is.
This means taking A-levels in sociology, psychology or other ‘soft’ courses will not readily secure a place. Instead a more rigorous undertaking such as the International Baccalaureate. Likewise, A-levels that includes English, Maths, and a physical science. Essentially, universities are looking for students who are not afraid to challenge themselves and who are willing to undertake academically challenging courses.
With that said, grades are not the only area the universities consider. They will consider your experiences like work experience and volunteering experiences along with your personal statement. It is important to have a well-rounded background.
Politicians like to strike fear into students and family about student debt. In my previous article talk that student debt is more of an illusion to get votes than a reality. For many graduates, student loan payments do not happen until the minimum threshold is reached and then it is a small percentage that is taken. For someone earning less than £30,000 the student loan payment amounts to a one meal out per month. This is significantly less than what other students in the USA pay on their monthly student loans. In my opinion, the fear of student debt should never be a barrier to university.
Cost / Benefit
Students who attend university will find working full-time will be difficult for a variety of reasons. Most students who attend university, will need to work part-time in order to help pay for the expenses related to university and to have enough time to study. This demand can, impact on relationships and family life.
However, after graduating a graduate can earn £500,000 more over their career lifetime than a non-graduate.
It is important to note a lot will depend on the degree field. In this author’s opinion, business, engineering, health care, maths, physical science and natural science tend to be the best degrees. Whereas degrees in sociology, psychology, social work, classics, social sciences, English, journalism, art, and foreign language can be degrees that lead to lower paying jobs.
Apprenticeships do offer an alternative to university by providing the recently graduated student an opportunity to work and study while learning a job skill. This will mean the employer will, for the most part, absorb the cost of the apprenticeship. However, incidental expenses like tests and professional memberships may be borne by the apprentice.
Broadly speaking apprenticeships require the apprentice to study about 20% of their time. This can be courses, course work or undertaking additional training. Apprenticeships will lead to a recognised qualification and will typically run 1 – 3 years. While undertaking your apprenticeship you will be expected to work for the company. This will mean you can face performance management and potentially face redundancy.
If you are coming into the apprenticeship from outside of the company the company may give you a fixed-term contract that covers the apprenticeship along with extra time to allow you to finish up any work and if you are already employed by the company then they may give you a secondment, which means once the apprenticeship is completed you may be returned to your previous role. During the apprenticeship, the employer can pay an apprentice wage, which is based on the band for someone who is fully qualified but is at a percentage less or if you are already working for the company then you may be kept are your current pay while you undertake your apprenticeship.