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As a parent/guardian or other trusted adult, you have a really important role to play in helping a young person to determine their future choice of career and the route they will take to achieve their goal.
Many parents still believe that a university degree is the only way their child will succeed in life and end up with a job with good career prospects and paying a decent wage.
This has a significant impact on how young people feel about other forms of education and training. A survey we carried of 100 local school pupils found 15% of them would never consider an apprenticeship because of the views of their parents.
While university is the right choice for some people, particularly those professions where a degree is a must, it is not right for everyone.
With the average university debt now reaching £45,000 for students finishing their studies in 2020, it could end up an expensive and unnecessary mistake for your child when other options are available.
Apprenticeships, traineeships and other on the job training have changed dramatically in the last 30 years.
They are now available in a wide range of sectors and offer your child a debt free route to a qualification, including at degree level.
The information on this page is to help parents understand more about the alternatives to a university education that are available to your child so you can help them make an informed decision.
A young person applies for an apprenticeship in the same way they would a job. You can view a list of current apprenticeship vacancies in Worcestershire.
If selected by the company offering the apprenticeship, they will undertake an approved programme of study designed for the job they are training for. This will include on the job training given by the employer as well as potentially study virtually online or at college.
An approved training provider works with the employer to make sure the apprenticeship is good quality and is meeting the needs of the apprentice and the company.
Apprenticeships can last one to five years depending on the type of job and qualification being studies for.
By the end of the course, your child will have gained a qualification without any debt and on the job experience and skills.
They will also have been earning money all the way through their training. Many apprenticeships lead to full time job offers as well, although this isn’t guaranteed.
Apprenticeships are offered in a wide variety of job roles. They can be broadly split into the following categories:
- Horticulture and animal care
- Media and publishing
- Administration and law
- Education and training
- Engineering and manufacturing technologies
- Health, Public Services and Care
- Information and communication technology
- Leisure, travel and tourism
- Retail and commercial enterprise
- Science and mathematics
The website Not Going to Uni has examples of apprenticeship job roles included in each category.
There are four different levels of apprenticeship your child can take.
- Level 2 Intermediate - equivalent to five good GCSE passes.
- Level 3 Advanced - equivalent to two A-level passes.
- Level 4 Higher - equivalent to the first stages of higher education, such as a foundation degree.
- Level 5/7 Degree - comparable to a Bachelor's or Master's degree.
Watch our webinar on degree level apprenticeships to find out more.
There are different rates of pay for apprentices depending on their age and what year of their apprenticeship they are studying for.
First year apprentices will receive at least £4.30 per hour. Anyone older than 19 will receive the national minimum wage from their second year.
Remember the cost of the salary reflects the fact the employer is paying all the costs of their qualification rather than them having to.
Many apprenticeships also pay more than the minimum. For example in our district in June 2021 a Level 3 engineering apprentice would typically be paid £10 an hour and in 2020 a Level 4 IT apprentice could expect to receive £16,000 a year.
It used to be true that university graduates had better life-time earning potential than those who without a degree. But with the growing cost of a university education the gap is closing all the time.
A study for the Centre for Economics and Business Research in 2016 found the average lifetime earnings potential of higher level apprentices was almost the same as university graduates.
The gap was found to be just 1.8% or £2,200. In some sectors apprentices earned 200% more than graduates.
Read more about the report into lifetime earnings potential of apprentices versus graduates.
This is important information to share with your child as 67% of young people we spoke to said they chose university because they believed they would get a better paid job.
If you still need convincing that apprenticeships could be worth your child considering, then watch the videos below to hear what apprentices themselves are saying.
- Software apprentices at Payara in Malvern discuss why they chose an apprenticeship over university
- Apprentices at Michelin star restaurant Pensons, on the Netherwood Estate, talk about how it is benefitting their career
- DeltaXML talk about the benefits of apprentices to their business
You can also read about the experience of apprentices elsewhere in the country from the Not going to uni website.
- Mya Hartnett describes her first year as a translational medicine apprentice in oncology at AstraZeneca
- Chloe Wilson, Customer Engagement Manager with Sky, describes starting out as a Customer Contact apprentice
- Emi Putnam, talks about life as an historic environment advice assistant apprentice, helping preserve historic construction skills
The information on this page gives a brief overview of the main benefits of an alternative to a university education.
If you would like to find out more then the following web links can help.