Are you a young person leaving school and struggling to decide what to do next? Perhaps you can’t choose between university and an apprenticeship? Here at Skyzack, we are dedicated to helping young people get started in the world of work, whatever their path may be. This in mind, our team would love to share our personal experiences and opinions on university and apprenticeships.
Life Experience: With moving away from home, making new friends and getting the degree you’ve always wanted, university is a sure-fired way of gaining valuable life experiences. Whether you’re a party animal or a book worm, most universities have the opportunities that cater to your lifestyle. With a huge variety of courses, extracurricular activities and of course the nightlife, there is something for everyone.
Independence: With the financial help of student loans and grants, young people can experience independence in a full on, yet safe environment. In the security of student life, young people are free to develop at their own pace, without the pressure of a full time job or ‘real-world’ responsibilities.
Qualifications: Of course, the main point of going to university is to study. With a huge variety of courses to choose from, students have the chance to study what they’ve always wanted to in real depth. University is the chance to develop skills and knowledge, whilst gaining qualifications that bring you closer to your dream job.
Although the Skyzack team all had positive experiences, we are aware of some of the potential negatives of university life.
Homesickness: One of the main cons for some people is the idea of moving away. Leaving home can be a daunting task. Home sickness, missing your friends and family and being thrown into new experiences can be difficult. You can of course, study at university and travel from home, if you live close enough and are able.
Responsibility: In university you rely heavily upon yourself. Unlike in school or work, there is nobody to make sure that you turn up to lectures, do your coursework etc. University requires a lot of self-motivation and direction, which doesn’t suit everyone.
The debt! Consider the debt you will be left with at the end of university. However the graduates at Skyzack think that our degree and the experience was worth the money (remember that you won’t begin paying off your debt until you’re earning enough).
What next? Leaving university can be a shock. After student life, you are suddenly expected to find a job and fend for yourself. This can be difficult, with graduate unemployment on the rise. However, some courses do offer work placements, which can help you in the right direction.
If University doesn’t sound right for you, remember that it’s not your only option. Skyzack recently took on our very first apprentice. Following are some of the pros and cons of an apprenticeship (in our opinion).
Practical Experience: One of the biggest pros to apprenticeships is gaining experience in the world of work. Along with your training, you will develop on-the-job skills that full time studying could perhaps not give you.
Qualifications: Apprenticeships are a fantastic way to kick start your career straight after school. With directed training towards the job you’ve always wanted, you’ll come out of an apprenticeship with everything you need for the next step. Furthermore, if you didn’t get the grades needed for university, you can still do an apprenticeship.
Living at home: If leaving the family home isn’t something you’re ready for yet, for whatever reason, doing an apprenticeship means that you have no reason to move. Apprenticeships are run all over the country and it is highly unlikely that you would need to relocate to undergo yours.
Earning Money: When you’re doing an apprenticeship you get paid while you earn, whilst earning a qualification. An apprenticeship is also funded by the government so you won’t have to a pay a penny back. However, remember that this also means a lack of loans or grants to support you.
Responsibility: As a member of staff, you have all of the responsibilities and stresses of work-life, along with your apprenticeship. Some high-stress positions could have a negative impact on your training. You have to be able to keep yourself motivated and manage your time well to balance working and learning.
Low Wage: The minimum wage for apprentices under 19 y/o is £3.50 p/h. This rate also applies to any apprentice, regardless of age, during their first year. If you have financial responsibilities that require you to earn more, an apprenticeship may not be the route for you.
Career Restrictions: Your dream career may require qualifications that you can’t get through an apprenticeship, such as a graduate or masters diploma.
Missing the University Experience: University is largely about exploring new places, meeting new people and having fun. Whereas with an apprenticeship, you are thrown straight into the world of work.
Overall, the choice between going to university or doing an apprenticeship is very personal. We hope that by sharing our experiences and opinions, we have helped you to come closer to your decision. Alternatively, if you’re a young person looking to get into work, have a read of our previous blog for advice.
For more on how Skyzack can help young people, check out our opportunities.