Apprenticeships or University: Which Is Right for You?

Written by Luke Kitchen

Making the decision of whether or not to go to university is one that many young people face. There are so many options out there, and it can be difficult to know which path is the right one for you. Do you go to university, or do an apprenticeship? Both options have their own benefits and drawbacks that you need to consider before making a decision. This article will compare university to apprenticeships and help you decide which option is better for you. 

This decision ultimately comes down to what you want from your education. There are multiple factors you need to consider so make sure to do your own research after reading this article. Below you will find our tops picks of things you need to take into account when deciding if an apprenticeship or university is best for you. So, let’s take a closer look at each! 


The first thing you need to consider is the cost. University is notoriously expensive, and unless you have a full scholarship, you are likely going to be saddled with a lot of debt when you graduate.  

On the other hand, apprenticeships are often free or low-cost. You may have to pay for some materials or tools, but the cost is usually much lower than university. This can be a major factor in your decision-making process. 


Another thing to consider is the time commitment. University takes a minimum of three years; however, some courses can take up to five depending on the subject or intensity of your course (part time courses take twice as long to complete).  

Apprenticeships can last anywhere from one to four years. If you want to get out into the workforce as quickly as possible, an apprenticeship may be a better option for you. However, if you are willing to commit the time to university, it can provide you with a more well-rounded education. 

Job Prospects 

When it comes to job prospects, university often provides better opportunities. A degree from a good institution can open a lot of doors that would otherwise be closed as some jobs do require degree qualifications. However, on leaving university you will have to seek out a role 

That being said, apprenticeships are becoming more and more popular, and employers are starting to see the value in hiring someone with real-world experience. Unlike university, successful apprenticeships can lead directly to employment with the same company you were employed by as an apprentice. If you have a good apprenticeship under your belt, you may find that job prospects are just as good as if you had gone to university. 

Skills Acquired 

Something to consider is the skills you will acquire with each option. University provides a more traditional education, where you learn about a range of topics in-depth. This can give you a well-rounded knowledge base that can be useful in many different situations. There will likely be opportunities for industry work placements to help you gain experience, but a good portion of your time is likely to be spent  

An apprenticeship, on the other hand, will give you specific skills and experience related to the trade or profession you are interested in. This can be incredibly valuable if you know exactly what field you want to work in. Apprenticeships give you the hands-on experience that you would have as a full-time permanent employee at the company your course is with.  

So, which is better for you? Apprenticeships or university ? Ultimately, this decision comes down to what you want from your education and your career. Consider all of the factors we have discussed and make sure to do your own research before making a decision. We hope this article has helped you on your journey to finding the right education path for you! 

For more information on career paths or types of apprenticeships visit our website. You can find out what apprenticeship opportunities are available to you now on or specialist apprentice jobs board. Feel free to contact us with any queries. Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter to keep updated with the latest news and information from Employing an Apprentice. 

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Last Updated: Friday June 10 2022
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