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5 reasons why apprenticeships are a real alternative to university

Between now and 2020, the government will create 600,000 apprenticeships each year – around the same as the number of students starting university.

If you want to be a doctor or a teacher, or simply love your subject, then university may well be the right choice for you. But if you think you only do an apprenticeship if you want to be a mechanic or an electrician, you’re wrong!

With the government pushing to get more and more people into work, it's never been a better time to be an apprentice. The new higher and degree apprenticeships are a great way into a whole range of highly skilled careers only open to graduates in the past – all while doing the job itself.

So yes, you can be a plumber or a hairdresser, but you can also train to be an engineer, bank manager, or even a zookeeper. What’s more, you’ll get paid to train. The world’s your oyster!

Since it’s National Apprenticeship Week, we wanted you to share our top 5 reasons why you should be thinking about apprenticeships right now...

1. There's loads of choice

Gone are the days when you did an apprenticeship if you wanted to do a practical job, and went to uni for everything else. With a degree apprenticeship, you could be an engineer or a PR guru, while you can train for more than 40 jobs as a higher apprentice. In fact, there are loads of weird and wonderful jobs you can train for – including plenty you'd never even have thought of.

2. You get to do the job straight away

If you’ve always wanted to work in a zoo, design billboard posters or get your hands under the bonnet of a car, doing an apprenticeship lets you get straight down to business! That's because you learn how to do the job by doing it.

3. You get paid

How does £27K+ of student debt sound? Here’s an idea – how about getting paid to train instead, with the certainty of a job at the end of it? Apprentices under 24 are guaranteed pay of at least £3.40 an hour, and higher or degree apprentices can earn anything up to £25,000 (that's per year, not per hour!).

4. You can still get your degree

If you’re dead set on getting a degree, why not consider a degree apprenticeship, which gives you the chance to study at university while training in the workplace? You should also find out about higher apprenticeships – they often let you study for a degree as well. So you can get the best of both worlds.

5. You don’t need amazing grades

Employers are looking for potential, but you don’t have to have the kind of grades you need to get into the top universities. To do a higher apprenticeship, you’ll need 5 A*-C GCSEs, plus some A-levels or another type of apprenticeship. It’s a similar story for degree apprenticeships.

I want to do one! How do I find out more?

Here are some top resources to help you decide:

Amazing opportunities on our site right now

If you're already sold on apprenticeships, we have some great paid training opportunities you can apply for right now:


PwC helps companies with their tax, makes sure they're getting the most out of their staff and much more. Their apprenticeships are for you if you're excited about starting a career in business.


If you think you could be the next big thing in finance, Investment2020 offer paid training programmes at some of the biggest names, including JP Morgan, JO Hambro and BNP Paribas.

British Army

With a British Army apprenticeship, you could learn to fix a tank, build a bridge or stop a cyber attack – all while seeing the world! The Army's got something for you whatever your favourite subject – find out what it is.

We hope you found today's post useful. If you want to know more about apprenticeships, we've got tons of articles to help you out. Take a look at all our apprenticeship pages to find the answer to your question.