Pursuing an apprenticeship in 2022

Finding success in your career does not mean you need a university degree. Professional success is more than possible through different routes and in the current climate, more people are keen to get to work and gain in-work experience as opposed to pursuing years of academic study. Learners have plenty of opportunities and there is more than one route to the top. Learners aiming for career success can consider university education and the academic pathway or work towards a degree through a higher-level or degree apprenticeship.

Both pathways have their benefits, and it is up to the individual learner to make the final decision. The chance to embrace student life and delve into the depths of a study area leads many people to university.  However, if you’re looking for hands-on, on-the-job work experience and the chance to gain an education while earning, apprenticeship programmes are ideal. Making the decision can be difficult so it is important to look at the differences before making a considered choice.


Choosing an apprenticeship means you have to be ready to get stuck into the day-to-day role that you have applied for. You need to be ready to get on with the job and grasp the basics quickly.  Learners naturally progress quickly as being immersed in the work environment every day makes adapting much easier.

University is a much more theory-based experience, with a broader set of knowledge provided. You will learn the key skills necessary to succeed in your chosen field but there will also be a lot of background information, additional modules for context and to deepen your knowledge.


Apprentices benefit from on-the-job learning which feeds into additional class-based study that makes up a portion of their training. Apprentices are learning all the time and can proactively use their new skills each day in the workplace.

University is more about preparing learners for the world of work. Some courses incorporate work placement or even a whole year in industry or on a work-based programme. There are opportunities to gain on-the-job experience, but it is not in the same instantaneous way.


The cost of university education is always in the news, and not usually for good reasons. University fees and costs are rising year on year and while you may see it as an investment in your future, it is still a huge commitment. Very few students pay for their university education outright and rely upon student loans throughout their studies. Finding a job which means you can quickly pay off these loans is not always possible, and many graduates find themselves in entry level positions and still the debt to consider.

Apprenticeships on the other hand, are usually taken on as a full-time job. This means they come with a wage, and you can earn other benefits such as paid holiday. There is no significant debt built up for simply taking on an apprenticeship though you will have to consider the regular costs of living during your apprenticeship.

Many employers run apprenticeship programmes but also look to take on graduates after their studies, so you can benefit from either option. It is important to weigh up your own circumstances before making the final decision and consider what you want from your career and how much you’re willing to spend on it.

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