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What are The Pros and Cons of Apprenticeships In The UK?

pros and cons of apprenticeshipDeciding on what you want to do in your career at the age of 17 can be quite daunting. With lots of options and so many questions to answer for each one; like whether you want to move away from home and go to university or earn money whilst you learn in an apprenticeship. We have compiled the pros and cons of apprenticeships in the UK to help you to make your decision easier.


The Pros

1. You’ll Gain Experience

Employers are always looking at your relevant experience and finding a young candidate with this is usually difficult for employers. You can get ahead of university graduates with hands-on training, gaining real life experiences in the process.

2. Earn Whilst You Learn

What’s better than earning and learning at the same time? Even if it is a low wage it’s still money coming in, especially when taking into consideration the cost to gain a degree at university.

In the UK, fees can come up to £9000+ per year and that’s not including living and rental costs. Apprentices must be paid the apprentice national minimum wage, if you’re under 19 or on your first year of your apprenticeship you will be paid a minimum of £4.30 per hour (correct from the 1st April 2021), however you’ll find many businesses tend to pay more.

3. No Debt to Pay Back

Expensive university degrees are the biggest deterrent to people weighing up whether to go to university or not. In 2012 the UK raised degree course prices from around £3000 per year to £9000, this saw an 8% decrease in applicants that year.

With over £17 billion loaned to around 1.3 million students in England per year (2020 statistic) the total has amounted to £140 billion and the government have forecasted the value to grow to £560 billion by the mid century. Scary right?

We don’t want to put you off too much as there are positive stories from both having a degree and taking an apprenticeship but it is definitely worth thinking about when making your next move in your career.

4. Increase Your Confidence

As well as playing a pivotal part in the economy an apprenticeship can also increase your confidence and drive real social values to those involved.

Having already gained hands on experience and potentially dealt with clients from a very young age, this can help you feel like you’re already fit to do a job well.

5. Gain a New Qualification

As well as being able to add the experience you gained from the job on your CV, by the end of the education programme you will also be able to add a new qualification. This can help you to find an employer willing to employ you after your apprenticeship.

They will know you have the required skills to take on the role as well as a willingness to learn and go through with training.

6. Paid Holiday

Being paid for holiday days off is something that university students do not get the luxury of. You will receive 5.6 weeks paid holiday days as an apprentice.

7. A Secure Income

An apprenticeship scheme also offers security benefits, you will have a secure job for as long as the apprenticeship lasts, this will depend on the choice of trade and range of skills you decide to learn, but usually ranges from 12-18 months with advanced level 3 apprenticeships taking around 24 months. After apprenticeships finish apprentices usually don’t struggle to find full time employment, the company they’re undergoing training with will often employ them after training. Some people even say to treat the apprenticeship like a longer interview.

8. Higher Apprenticeships

After you have achieved your apprenticeship you can then go onto further your education in your selected field for example NVQ or BTEC. With these you can then apply to university at a later stage. Higher apprentices also receive a wage of between £170 and £300 per week; to qualify you need to be over 18.

9. Learning with your hands & Less Time in College

If you prefer hands on learning rather than academic reading, writing and lots of exams then an apprenticeship could be the right route for your next career move.

Most people don’t know this but some apprentices do not need to attend college, in the construction industry assessors can join you on site, an example is MT Training in the UK who offer on-site construction training.

Pros and Cons Of Apprenticeships
The Cons

pros and cons of apprenticeship1. Limited Access to Higher Education

It can be hard to change your career path once you have completed an apprenticeship. Most jobs in certain fields require an undergraduate degree for example science, medicine or even areas of business.

2. Missing Out on University Life

You will miss out on the experience of university; moving to a new a town and meeting lots of new people can be fun. Taking a few years to study instead of jumping straight into the working world. Definitely something to consider whilst weighing up the pros and cons of apprenticeships and university.

3. Larger Responsibilities

Taking on an apprenticeship from a young age can take its toll potentially on your well being due to the amount of responsibility on your shoulders. These include managing finance, daily tasks, having a schedule and getting to work on time.

4. Shorter Holidays

At university you can still look forward to those long holidays, however apprentices will receive a minimum of 5.6 weeks (if in full time employment).

5. High Competition

You may find it harder to get onto an apprenticeship than university courses; this is due to the high demand of people desiring one. Luckily the British government are currently promoting apprenticeships and offering employers money to take apprentices on board, so this may be the right time to apply.

6. Low salary

The salary of a graduate between 21 and 30 is around £9,500 per year more than an individual with an NVQ level qualification, meaning you could be better off going to university. This may depend on the type of industry you want to train in.

We hope our pros and cons of apprenticeships post has helped you to make a more informed decision on what career move is right for you.

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