Apprenticeship Or University?

Getting Into Digital

Apprenticeships never used to be an option

Apprentice schemes used to be dominated by manual trades, but nowadays, there are a diverse range of career routes in everything from engineering and the trades to journalism and even law!

The new range of schemes available has leveled the playing field and now apprentices are just as respected in the working world as graduates are. In fact, many employers see apprentices as long-term investments. The main appeal of choosing an apprenticeship is that you can earn as you learn. Unfortunately, you won’t start on a graduate salary, the minimum wage for apprentices is a measly £3.30 per hour. Saying that, university students now pay £9000 per year to study, and that’s before factoring in maintenance loans! The down side is that having a degree doesn’t guarantee you a job – there’s a chance you could end up unemployed, with a lot of debt.


its a personal choice

Before making your decision, ask yourself ‘What is my learning style?’. At university, you will focus on theory based learning, that you apply to the real world. Whereas as an apprentice, your learning is primarily practical. A key disadvantage of traditional degrees is that you will not have experience in working environments, while an apprentice will be exposed to the environment almost every day.

An apprenticeship could limit your future career options as you will focus on training for one very specific path. If you’re not confident on the career route you want to pursue, then a degree may be better suited. The various modules you study at university will allow you to experience different elements within your chosen field. You could start university thinking you want to go down one route and end up having a passion for something totally different! University will allow you to explore more and gives you a little more flexibility than an apprenticeship.

If you are certain of your career path, an apprenticeship may be the path for you. With dedicated learning in the industry of your choosing and on-the-job experience, you can come out the other end a highly experienced, qualified employee who has an inherent value to both the business and the industry you are in.

Another consideration, is the value you place on life experience. At university, you will get first-hand experience of living alone and will socialise with people from all walks of life. As an apprentice your social life may be less vibrant, weekday nights out will be a thing of the past, as you’ll need to be up for work at 7am! Although, what you lose there, is gained elsewhere. An apprentice will generally be more at ease at corporate events. Generally, apprentices are more confident at corporate events because they learn in the environment and are experts quicker than graduates.

Ascent value both routes

There are pros and cons to both routes into adulthood, and there is no wrong answer! You should consider various factors like your financial circumstances, the way you learn, and the experiences you desire.

From an employer’s perspective, here at Ascent Group we don’t place more value of either career route. We believe that employees are vital to company growth, and both apprentices and graduates are key to that.

We have an even balance of apprentice and graduate workers. We find that graduates generally work more independently, but believe this is more due to their age, rather than experience. Our apprentices have developed to become key members of our team, with many displaying high levels of expertise at a young age. As a company, we try to take the time to nurture all employees, to develop them as well-rounded employees.

This article was co-written by Lauren Muxworthy, Head of Outreach at Ascent Digital. With her years of Outreach Experience, she leads the Outreach team. A keen traveler with a great eye for detail, she has learnt the trade through hard work determination and a skill level which is proven.

This article was co-written by Syed Rahman, Head of PPC at Ascent Digital.  Syed leads the PPC team with expertise and understanding from his days working his way up from an apprentice. He knows how to manage small, medium and large sized accounts, as well as manage a team.

This article was co-written by Liam Normanton, an apprentice/test subject at Ascent Digital

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