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Is An Apprenticeship Better Than College

Following the completion of your GCSEs, you must continue your education or training until 18. This is the time to decide which route is best for you, and one of the most challenging decisions you’ll have to make is whether to attend college or work as an apprentice.

Of course, the optimal path for you is decided by your objectives, interests, and abilities. So let’s have a look at what each option has to offer.

Is an apprenticeship better than college?

Previously, apprenticeships mainly were centred on manual trades such as electricians, plumbers, bricklayers, and plasterers, but this is no longer the case.

Nowadays, you may complete apprenticeships in almost every field that you may study in college. Certain professions, such as medicine and law, nevertheless require you to study for A levels at college before enrolling in a university degree programme. Apprentices may currently work in various fields such as marketing, accounting, finance, and business administration.

You must have a clear vision of where you want your career to go. For example, if you wish to practise law, you must first attend college and then university. On the other hand, if you’re going to work in accounting but don’t have a degree, you may become a qualified accountant by completing an accounting apprenticeship.

Money! Apprenticeship vs College

Money may be a consideration when selecting between an apprenticeship and college. As of April 2021, the minimum wage for apprentices under the age of 19 and trainees in their first year is £4.30 per hour (regardless of age). After your first year of apprenticeship, you will be paid the national minimum wage, depending on your age.

As an apprentice, you will earn less per hour but will be working full-time. If you are a full-time college student, you will not earn anything unless you also work, giving up your evenings and weekends. Given your workload and need for recovery, you will most likely be able to work just a few hours a week. You may be able to find work in retail, customer service, or hospitality, all of which will help you gain confidence and transferable skills.

Remember that an apprenticeship is more than simply a full-time job; you will also learn and earn nationally recognised qualifications. An apprenticeship is a mixture of education, on-the-job training, and a salary.

If you are ready for the job and wish to broaden your expertise, an apprenticeship is ideal. On the other hand, if you do not want to work in an office right now, schooling may be a better option for you.


It’s no secret that companies prefer to recruit individuals who have real-world experience in a relevant position, as you’ve probably heard. One of the reasons why many young people choose to work as apprentices is for this reason.

College is essential for theoretical knowledge and prepares you for university. Some courses even give practical experience inside a classroom setting, but what college lacks is real-world experience.

Apprenticeships place you in a firm to get practical experience in a real-world situation. As an apprentice, you will work alongside people who have been in the industry for many years, learning tricks of the trade that you would not learn in college and become highly helpful to an employer.

Other vocations, such as teaching and social work, need a degree as well as employment experience. However, if you can enter your preferred field via an apprenticeship, your experience may provide you with an edge over others with college degrees.

It’s all up to you!

When deciding whether to attend college or become an apprentice, consider your circumstances. Is your desired job path accessible as an apprenticeship? If not, college may be an option.

It would help if you also thought about each option’s financial benefits and drawbacks – apprentices will start earning money straight immediately, but it doesn’t mean college students can’t work part-time.

Consider if employers will value experience and qualifications more than qualifications alone – in many cases, they will! As an apprentice, you are more of a part of the workforce than a student, so be sure you are ready.

Updated on December 23, 2021

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