Apprenticeships: What Are The Pros And Cons?
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The Pros And Cons Of Doing An Apprenticeship

Carmela De Simone February 25, 2022

Considering an apprenticeship? Here is some information to help weigh up your options.

Only 1 in 10 students felt that they were getting value for money during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rising living costs are a major factor in considering further study after secondary school for many.

The annual cost of purpose-built student accommodation in the UK is £7,347, NUS- National Union of Students, reported in December 2021. This exceeds the average student maintenance loan of £6900.

A student spending statistic report by Finder identified that 68% of students in 2020 were receiving extra funds from parents to help with living costs. And 74% of students had a job on top of their studies to cover bills.

Here are a list of pros and cons to help evaluate whether an apprenticeship is right for you.

Welcome to the real world

One of the biggest adjustments in life for me wasn’t the leap from being a student to being a graduate. It was being a graduate then becoming a full-time employee. Like most students, I’d only ever worked part-time and had no idea what the 9-5 world was really like. Apprenticeships really help ease you into working life. Going from full-time education to full-time work is still daunting, but drastically less so than cramming at 4am for 3 years to 8am starts.

When doing an apprenticeship you have the advantage of work experience; something a lot of university students don’t. Beyond work-related skills, you have the chance to build a strong work ethic, good routines and establish networks earlier than your peers that go into full-time education.

Practice over theory

An apprenticeship usually amounts to studying around 20% of the time. The rest will be spent in full-time employment. Traditional programmes like Undergraduate courses and A-levels are well-suited to visual learners but some prefer to get hands on. If you are one of the latter, you should definitely consider doing an apprenticeship.


You won’t be raking in millions, don’t get me wrong. The national minimum wage for an apprentice aged 16-18 is £4.30 an hour. If aged 19 or over – and you’ve completed your first year – you are entitled to national minimum wage which is £8.91*.

Don’t let these numbers dishearten you. Look at it this way: you could save £200 in the same year a student accumulates £9250 worth of debt. If saving is important to you, a trainee scheme may be more suitable.

Limited career prospects

Many students find themselves in roles completely different to the degree they’ve studied. There are many graduate roles open to people from all disciplines. With an apprenticeship, the skills you’ve learned may not be so easily transferrable if you change your mind.

Be sure that, if you go down the apprenticeship route, you have a strong interest/passion in your chosen subject .

Social Sacrifice

There’s less likelihood of being among others your age when doing an apprenticeship. This may not be a massive factor in choosing your next step, but it’s something to be aware of. Make sure you’re comfortable and knowledgeable with the company set-up.  You may be in an environment where you are the youngest person there.  

It can be difficult to maintain relationships with peers that do go to university because your schedules are completely out of sync. Booking time off during school holidays in advance is a good way to preserve time for friends and family.

Job Security

Like any job, there are various factors that may threaten its security and should be considered when entering an apprenticeship. As we’ve seen throughout the pandemic, less-experienced trainees, apprentices and interns may be the first to go over highly-skilled employees during financial hardship.

Many vocational industries – such as hospitality, beauty, construction and automotive trades – have been hard-hit by the pandemic. This has not only affected the number of roles available, but also stopped those already in apprenticeship schemes from continuing learning.


This is a great alternative route for those who are uncertain about further education.

These are more technical and practical BTEC courses. A Level 3, 18-Unit Technical Diploma is equivalent to 3 A-levels, and accepted by a lot of Universities. However, be cautious to check entry requirements for courses you’re interested in if you are considering uni in future. Some universities do not accept applicants without A-levels.

Degree Apprenticeships provide degree-level education at a university, alongside part-time work. They’re similar to traditional apprenticeships, except they provide an opportunity to gain a full bachelor’s or masters degree. These are fairly new programmes. But employers, universities and professional bodies are all coming together to produce more opportunities for students to work alongside their education.

*correct April 2021

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I am a journalism graduate from Brunel University. My background is in property lettings and the motor industry. I’m obsessed with all things health & beauty, travel, music and Turkish food. You will most often find me drinking vodka lime sodas and watching Shrek.