Monday, 23 October 2017 10:23

Degree vs. apprenticeship

Ok, so the biggest talking point surrounding university these days is not the quality of the course and what opportunities it will open up after graduation, but instead whether the cost of tuition fees is really worth it with regards debt and whether the job at the end of study will be financially viable.

According to the latest figures that we have seen, there has been a drop in the number of people applying for university and it isn’t hard to establish why. For a three-year course, a person can be expected to rack up nearly £30,000 in debt – and this is without the guarantee of a job at the end of the three years of study. It’s a heck of a gamble don’t you think? A gamble that many people are not prepared to take.

Enter the rise of the apprenticeship. There has always been a bit of a debate when it comes to apprenticeships and degree courses with regards to which one is best and there has always been a bit of snobbery surrounding the former, with many people stating that degree courses not only give better education but make an individual more rounded.

Despite this argument, apprenticeships seem to be taking the lead in the popularity contest lately, and we can see why. Primarily, apprenticeships give young people the practice of being in work, grafting 9-5, understanding time management, working as part of a team and getting a grasp of real-life. One of the biggest advantages, however, is that they get to learn a skill whilst being paid for it. Learning on the job surrounded by people who have done the same skilled practice for years can offer an insight into the working world like no other and can offer expertise better than any university can.

Before tuition fees reached ridiculous levels, university seemed to be the way to go for students after A-levels. It was, in many peoples’ opinion, the best option for intellectuals and not only did people think it would give them a head-start over other applicants for a job after study, they liked the sound of the university lifestyle too.

Now though, the tuition fees are too astronomical to be justified and jobs are scarce, even with a degree, so benefits are decreasing.

People of student age are also getting anxious about having so much debt when they know that when they finish university they have to find a job and start paying bills like everyone else. The cost of living is ever increasing and house prices show no sign of coming down to any reasonable and affordable level and this will be playing on many students’ minds as they ask themselves whether university will hamper their chances of getting onto the property ladder.

Apprentices, on the other hand, have no debt. The money that they earn is their own.

Rising through the ranks is also highly possible when doing an apprenticeship and in a lot of instances you will be offered training on the job that will result in a qualification anyway – so it really is a win win.

It may sound like we are shouting in favour of an apprenticeship – we are not. Everyone’s circumstances are different and university still has many lures.

All we are pointing out is that university is a very expensive option these days and doesn’t have the job promises that it used to have.

We, as a source of news and opinion within the finance and money sector, wouldn’t be doing our job correctly if we didn’t point out the financial pitfalls that different scenarios may throw up, and we cannot get past the fact that some people may have to pay up to £30,000 for a degree that may or may not get them the job that will give them a better life.

Ultimately, it is up to the student which path they choose to go down, but unless something changes with regards tuition fees, we can see universities starting to lose their appeal with people who are money conscious.

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