With university tuition fees rising to £9,250 per year, students in England will graduate with average debts of £50,800, which rises to over £57,000 total debt after interest charges. University debt disproportionately affects students from lower-income backgrounds, and facing a competitive job market combined with a lack of support after graduation, more than two thirds of students will never be able to pay back their full student debt.
Apprenticeships don’t require student loans, debts or any financial commitments – apprentice courses are totally free. Young people can completely avoid University debt by taking an apprenticeship instead. The opportunity to get ahead of the crowd and start adult life debt-free is one of the top reasons to do an apprenticeship.
As well as avoiding university debt, taking an apprenticeship empowers you to become financially better off. At a time when one in four people aged 20-34 are still living with their parents, apprenticeships are enabling young people to become financially independent and create their own homes, security and success.
The National Minimum Wage for apprentices is £3.50, which applies to apprentices aged 16-18, and to those aged 19 or over who are in their first year of their training. All other apprentices are entitled to the normal national minimum wage for their age.
Average pay for apprentices is around £170 per week, meaning that apprentices earn almost £4,000 more than university graduates in the first year of their job – and they don’t have the debt. Research by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) shows that those who progress on to study a Professional/Higher apprenticeship will earn around £150,000 more in their lifetime. Earning a salary whilst being in education is one of the best reasons to do an apprenticeship.
Because each apprenticeship scheme is tailored around the needs of the employer, you’ll gain invaluable experience, and develop the key skills that employers within that industry really want. The skills, experience and qualifications gained through apprenticeships will position you as an attractive prospect for future employers throughout your career path.
Some young people may think that if you start a career path in one industry, you will become stuck in that industry for life. Apprenticeships provide vital skills that are transferable across industries, meaning that whatever area your course covers, you can adapt the foundations of your experience into new areas of industry as your career advances. The freedom to change, shape and grow your career is the third of the top reasons to do an apprenticeship.
The UK is currently experiencing a mass skills shortage – and global businesses are looking for apprentices who will fill the skills gap. In Q4 2017, 42% of Aerospace and Aviation business leaders and 22% of UK engineering businesses listed skills shortages as their most important business challenge in the coming years.
‘Demand for apprentice engineers has doubled in the past six years and tripled in the past twelve’, reveals John Brockett, General Manager at Derwent Training Association, the largest engineering training specialist in North Yorkshire. However, the demand for apprentices is not matched by the demand for apprenticeships. Business across industries understand the value of apprenticeships and will be working with colleges and training providers to bring apprentices into their company.
The high demand for apprentices mean that now is the perfect time to get into engineering.
92% of apprentices say their apprenticeship has improved their career prospects. By the time you finish your apprenticeship, you’ll already know and understand your boss, your company and the basic and important aspects of your role. Hardworking apprentices can position themselves months and sometimes even years ahead of university graduates working in the very same job.
Rebecca started her career with VHR as an apprentice, and five years later is now a successful recruitment consultant who also leads the VHR Academy. Find out how an apprenticeship helped Rebecca build a successful recruitment career.
Dedicated guidance, advice and long-term support are some of the best reasons to do an apprenticeship. Throughout your Apprenticeship, your course providers can support you from the very start. Many University courses offer limited hours of teaching and ab absence of 1-2-1 learning opportunities, due to lack of resources and University courses being oversubscribed.
Apprenticeship course providers offer help with:
Apprenticeships provide the opportunity to gain valuable qualifications that are relevant to the job you want, and help you find a different route to your chosen career. Apprentices can offer young people fewer exams, provide first-hand practical experience in your chosen industry, and build confidence in your skills and work abilities.
Many qualifications gained during an apprenticeship offer the same benefits and career opportunities as a university degree. For example, the AAT Apprenticeships for those interested in a Financial Services career qualify apprentices to undertake a wide range of accountancy, financial and taxation tasks, and just like university graduates, AAT apprentices can then progress to chartered status.
Apprenticeships provide a wide range of qualifications across skills and industries, including:
Aerospace Software Development
Electronic Systems Engineering
Engineering (various specialisms)
Life and Industrial Sciences
Discovering your dream career is one of the best reasons to do an apprenticeship. University degrees are a great opportunity for in-depth learning and time to decide upon your career path, but after graduating, some students may find that their new career isn’t what they expected.
Apprentices start their courses with first-hand, practical and theoretical learning. Apprenticeships are designed by employers, who are themselves highly experienced in and knowledgeable of their industry: your course will be structured to closely mirror the way that you will work once you have finished your apprenticeship and start your career.
Don’t waste three years getting a degree only to find your dream career isn’t what you thought it was. Apprenticeships can show you what your job and career will really be like – and if you decide it’s not for you, starting again in a different career path will be much quicker and easier, and you can transition to a different department in the same company, all without any student debt.
Most University courses start at one fixed point in the calendar year and don’t offer room for travelling time, work experience or other commitments; if you can’t start in September, you’ll have to wait another year to get started. Apprenticeships are very flexible, and from local and regional SMEs to large global businesses, employers are always looking to take on new apprenticeships throughout the year.
One of the best reasons to do an apprenticeship is to break into your chosen field more quickly and easily than through other routes. Studies show that candidates must apply for 27 jobs before they can secure even one job interview: particularly when combined with a lack of experience and industry contacts, young people are increasingly disadvantaged in the jobs market. Apprenticeships are the perfect way to get your foot in the door of your industry and begin your path to success.
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