For a long time now there has been a question flying around amongst the younger and older generations of students and that question is, “Is university really the way to go?” 

With the increase in university fees and the cost of living going up, many are coming to realise that university may not always be the best pathway for life. In this blog, I will share my thoughts and ideas as someone who has experienced both paths –studying at university and achieving a degree and now, undertaking an apprenticeship. I’ll look at my own personal experiences and the general pros and cons for both options. 

Let’s look at university first. 

Whilst providing an obvious benefit of a social life, freedom from the home environment and the infamous ‘university experience,’ none of those things come free and with course fees at around £9,000 or higher per year for a minimum of a three year degree, before accommodation, food, travel, study materials and bills, many prospective students are simply not able to afford the ‘university experience’ or want the debt that it will bring later in life. It is sad that in some parts, there is still a societal pedigree about going to university and obtaining a degree and that can’t be ignored. However, with increasingly large classes and students getting lost as a number, and degrees which are very often heavily theoretical and practical, society’s view often results in students struggling to meet deadlines, compete with other students and set themselves apart. Alongside that, the competition when students leave university to find work means many are facing an uphill battle from the start.

 Secondly let’s look at apprenticeships. 

The obvious benefit of an apprenticeship is to earn while you learn. With bills, petrol and everything in-between increasing in price, people need money now and not the hope of money in three years’ time if they’re successful. An apprenticeship gives students the security of knowing that they are earning whilst achieving their qualifications. It also means that the study for three years and the fight for a job situation is gone and, in many sectors, an apprenticeship can be a quicker route to a higher position in a company, with many companies choosing more and more to promote internally to retain staff. An apprenticeship gives the student control and a personal touch with a nominated tutor rather than wholly group sessions, giving the student the opportunity to learn at their own pace and often, remotely. As life isn’t just about learning, university isn’t the only place for a social life and with company nights out, trips and socials, no one needs to miss out. 

As someone that has done a degree and is now nearly half way through an apprenticeship, I can safely say that my time so far on my apprenticeship (just over four months) has made this the right option. The chance to achieve my goals whilst earning and without worrying about debt takes off so much pressure that I’m free to enjoy what I’m doing and build a future at a company that I love. The only drawback is that you’re in the real world. You’re working with real people, real lives and someone’s real money. If you’re not ready for that reality the responsibility and expectations that come with a ‘grown up’ job and adult life, an apprenticeship is not for you. 

For those that are undecided, the tables below list the pros and cons for each… 


Want to know more…

Get in touch to find out how we can help you decide if university or an apprenticeship is right for you?

Contact us for an impartial chat