The Canterbury Hub

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University vs. Apprenticeships: Which One Is The Gateway To A Successful Career?

Deciding what do after college or sixth form can be a difficult decision. There are so many different paths to take that sometimes it can be rather overwhelming.

UCAS has stated that there was a 2.6% decrease on applicant numbers in 2017 compared to 2016 and research conducted by Andy Powell shows a 18,100 drop on people choosing apprenticeships in 2017 compared to the previous year.

Combining these statistics with Brexit morphing its way in, higher tuition fees and the apprenticeship levy being introduced last year, it becomes difficult to figure out which one is the better option. The Canterbury Hub has researched, spoke and gathered information on which one is the gateway to a successful career.

Let’s start at the beginning.

What is university? 

University is an establishment of higher education, in which students go to study for degrees and academic research is made.

At University, you can choose from a wide range of courses to study. You can study a single honours which is just one subject, or you can choose to study two courses at the same time which is referred to a combined honours.

WATCH the video below on the different kinds of degrees you can study.



What is an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships offer a combination of work and study by collaborating on-the-job training with classroom learning.

The latest figures show 491,300 people have applied to UK apprenticeships for 2017.

From engineering to law, there are many different sorts of apprenticeships you can take.

Here’s a video below on everything you need to know about apprenticeships.



What are the advantages of going to university?

It Makes You More Employable

Being educated to degree level does make you much more employable. In fact, according to the Office for National Statistics, in June to September 2017, graduates were more likely to be employed than non-graduates.

You’ll Gain Transferable Skills

You’re not just leaving university with a degree, but walking away with a variety of transferable skills that will help you succeed in your future career. Essay writing, researching, meeting deadlines, giving presentations, working within a team and managing your time well are all skills that you can take with you into the workplace.

I spoke to Brooke Kelly, a recent Business and Marketing graduate and she said: ”The skills I learnt on my course has helped me within my job.

”I have a lot of deadlines to meet and University has really helped me with this, as well as when giving presentations I feel confident because I had a lot of practice at uni.”

A Degree Could Earn You Lots 

Having a degree could earn you more money than a non-graduate. The new Graduate Labour Market Statistics reveal that in 2017, English-domiciled graduates and postgraduates had higher employment rates than non-graduates, and the average working age graduate earned £10,000 per year more than the average non-graduate.

What are the disadvantages of going to university?

It’s Costly

Tuition fees to study in England are £9,250 a year – amongst the highest in the world. So if you’re studying a standard three-year course, then you will be paying back £27,750. Perhaps we should go to Italy to study tuition fee free! Plus, there’s a lot more to pay for such as: rent (if you decide to move away from home), commute, books, food, social life and the list goes on.

The Everlasting Debt

Although taking a student loan out is all fun and games at first, unfortunately you do have to pay it back when you’re earning over £21,000 a year. Research by The Institute of Fiscal Studies, as stated in The Guardian, shows that students from the poorest 40% of families in England who entered the 2017 intake will emerge with an average debt of around £57,000.

Ex Photography student at UCA, Gemma Oakshott, left university in her second year after realising it was a waste of time, she commented:

”It wasn’t worth my time and definitely not worth the debt.

”I made the wrong decision of what I thought would be my career path and now I still have to pay back all the debt.”

A Degree Doesn’t Promise A Job

It is a competitive world, and unfortunately after you finish university there will be many graduates and non-graduates that could be going for exactly the same job as you. Although having a degree could potentially make you more employable than non-degree holders, it doesn’t mean you’ll be able to secure employment once you graduate.

What are the advantages of doing an apprenticeship?

Experience and Studying At The Same Time

The National Careers Service spoke to me about the benefits of an apprenticeship and they said: ”An apprenticeship will help you gain valuable work experience and skills that employers are looking for.

”Apprenticeships are a fantastic way to gain skills and work experience on the job whilst working towards an accredited qualification.”

You Earn While You Learn

No tuition fees, no student loans and no debt (hopefully). You’ll be paid a salary by your employer, and the  government often covers the cost of the training for most young people.

A Wide Choice of Subjects to Pick From

According to, there are over 400 different types of apprenticeships to choose from. Whether you want to go into marketing, journalism, sport or perhaps you want to be a hairdresser; there’s something for everyone.

What are the disadvantages of doing an apprenticeship?

You Could Limit Your Options

Choosing an apprenticeship could mean that you are limiting your future prospects by designating yourself to one subject. Before choosing the apprenticeship option and picking any old subject, you need to research and be sure that this is what you want to do.

You May Not Be Paid Much

Some apprentices do not get paid as much another qualified colleagues. As well, annual earnings for graduates are higher than non-graduates and reach a peak at a later age, says The Office for National Statistics.

The Competition Is Hard

Although the last intake saw a drop of people applying to do an apprenticeship, they are still in high demand. Therefore, it might be fairly difficult to be accepted in comparison to university.

So, which one do you think is the better option for you?

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