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Advantages of Apprenticeships

With all the hullabaloo surrounding the tuition fee increase, you might be thinking about gaining qualifications another way. Apprenticeships are a great way for you to enter many different careers, but are they right for you? Here we list five advantages and five disadvantages of doing an apprenticeship…

Advantages of Apprenticeships

Advantages

  1. Apprenticeships are structured training programmes which give you a chance to work (literally) towards a qualification. They help you gain the skills and knowledge you need to succeed in your chosen industry.

    Getting into employment earlier means there’s lots of potential for you to progress in your career quickly. You can also begin to earn a good salary much earlier on in your life.
     
  2. Apprenticeships give you fantastic experience in the working world and show employers that you can ‘hit the ground running’. Hands-on training gives you a real chance to put your skills into practice and helps you to gain more confidence in a working environment.
     
  3. You earn while you learn. That’s right! No student loans, no tuition fees, and, hopefully, no debt. You’ll be paid a salary by your employer, and the government tends to cover the cost of the training for most young people.
     
  4. Choice. There are over 400 different types of apprenticeships. So whether you’re hankering after a career in business, sport, marketing or construction, there’s something for everyone.
     
  5. Apprenticeships offer a varied learning experience. You won’t have to spend all of your days studying; most of the time you’ll be working at a company.

    It’s all about learning while doing, and learning from others in your industry. You can even gain higher qualifications through apprenticeships, such as HNCs, HNDs, foundation degrees or honours degrees.

Disadvantages

  1. Your starting salary might be much lower than that of a graduate. The minimum wage for apprentices is only £2.73 an hour. However, that is the rock bottom rate; many apprentices earn much more than this.
     
  2. You can’t gain access to certain careers through an apprenticeship route. Having an undergraduate degree will be an essential requirement for certain careers, particularly in areas such as medicine and science.

    Graduates are valued by most employers, so you need to think carefully about your options.
     
  3. If you do want to gain a higher qualification through an apprenticeship, it will take much longer and the range of courses you’ll be able to study might be more limited than if you applied with A-levels.
     
  4. You might find that you’ll miss out on the added benefits of staying in full-time education and the depth of learning that a degree offers.
     
  5. Starting salaries for graduates tend to be higher. A 2014 Labour Force Survey showed that, on average, those with a degree earn more money per hour than those with NVQ-level qualifications.