Bentley Apprenticeship - Bentley Leather Trim Shop Apprentice 01

Apprenticeship or University?

There comes a time when you have to make a choice: “Apprenticeship or University? Do I stay on at school and do my A-levels so I can go to University? Or do I leave school at 16 and apply for an Apprenticeship?” There are no wrong or right answer to these questions. An Apprenticeship is right for some people and not for others, just as University is right for some and not for others.

Apprenticeship or University - Aston Martin Apprenticeship - Design Studio Engineer - Clay Modelling

Apprenticeship or University? Aston Martin Design Studio Engineer Apprentices

You need to think carefully about what your objectives are and where your interests lie. Do you want to study a particular subject for 3 or 4 years at University? Or would you prefer to work for a company who will train and teach you skills that are directly relevant to your chosen field of employment? Let’s take a closer look at the differences between an Apprenticeship or University.

Apprenticeship or University? Both offer rewarding and often similar careers.

Some people have the perception that Apprenticeships are only for “technical” or “manual” jobs, while University degrees are for those who want a career in an office environment. In the Motor Industry, this is not the case. There are several Apprenticeships in Finance, HR, IT, Purchasing, Logistics, Sales, Marketing and PR, amongst many others. These are in addition to the traditional “technical” Apprenticeships in Engineering and Manufacturing.

For example, Aston Martin offer Apprenticeships in Manufacturing, IT, CAD Design, Clay Modelling, or Colour and Trim (click here for details). Aston Martin also offer Graduate Jobs in Powertrain, Chassis & Vehicle Integration, Electrical, Body Engineering and Manufacturing (click here for details).

Apprenticeship or University - Bentley Graduate Jobs - Bentley Colour and Trim Design Graduates

Apprenticeship or University? Bentley Colour and Trim Design Graduates

Bentley also offer a similar range of Apprenticeships at their factory in Crewe. These include traditional crafts in Manufacturing such as Wood Shop and Leather Trim, as well as Engineering, Human Resources, Purchasing and Finance (click here for details). Bentley’s range of Graduate Jobs include Engineering and Manufacturing, Sales and Marketing, Human Resources, Purchasing and Finance, amongst many others (click here for details).

So, you can see from just the two examples of Aston Martin and Bentley, there are many Apprenticeships and Graduate Jobs in similar fields, whether it is Engineering-related or more Business-related. So you will need to take other considerations into account before you can make a decision about an Apprenticeship or University.

Apprenticeship or University? What is the cost?

One of the main differences between an Apprenticeship and University is the cost and who pays. Universities can charge up to £9,250 per year in tuition fees (as of Oct 2017), although that figure may change in the future, either up or down. So, a 3-year University Degree course will cost £27,750 in tuition fees alone, plus accommodation and living costs. This means it is not unusual for a Graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree to have a debt of £50,000 upon Graduation. Studying an extra year for a Master’s Degree will add another £20,000 to that figure. Many students are understandably daunted by that level of debt before they even start work.

Apprenticeship or University - Audi Apprenticeship - Audi Body and Repair Apprentices

Apprenticeship or University? Audi Body and Paint Repair Technician Apprentice Training

In contrast, an Apprentice should not have to pay anything towards their training. It is the employer who funds any classroom or theoretical training required. Companies with a wage bill of over £3million per year must pay 0.5% of their wage bill to the Government. This pool of money covers the costs of the Colleges and other Training Providers who design and deliver the “academic” or classroom training part of the Apprenticeship programme. The Apprentice must stay with the same company during the Apprenticeship period, but upon Graduation will have zero debt.

Apprenticeship or University? How much will I earn?

Salaries for Graduate Jobs in the Motor Industry often start in the low £20,000 range, with some going as high as £30,000 or more. Apprenticeships are often limited to the National Minimum Wage, meaning an annual salary of around £12,000-£14,000 per year. However, you need to remember that an Apprentice can start earning a salary at the age of 16, while a University Graduate won’t start earning money until at least the age of 21.

Furthermore, upon completion of the Apprenticeship training period, Apprentices should expect a salary which reflects their fully-qualified status. This can often mean an Apprentice’s earnings are close to those on many Graduate schemes. The major difference which should be taken into account is the level of debt. As an Apprentice, you will have zero debt upon graduation, while as a University Graduate you will likely accumulate £50,000 of debt which will need to be repaid.

Apprenticeship or University? Which is right for me?

Apprenticeship or University - Halfords Apprenticeship - Halfords Service & Parts Advisor

Apprenticeship or University? Halfords Retail Apprenticeships

“Apprenticeship or University?” The answer is: “It depends”. And what it depends on is: YOU. The choice of career paths with either an Apprenticeship or a University Degree are often very similar, with a wide range of technical and non-technical jobs available in both.

The best advice is to “Follow Your Dreams” and do what you are most interested in, because you will always do what you are interested in better than something you are not. What you do is not as important as doing whatever it is you do to the best of your ability. Because only then will you find satisfaction in what you do.

Apprenticeship or University? Where do I find out what jobs are available?

“Apprenticeship or University?” Whichever route you choose, is here to help you find an Apprenticeship or a Graduate Job. Take a look at roles that are available. Learn what qualifications are required. Find out when to apply. And, most importantly, link directly to the employer without having to go through a recruitment agency or a jobs website. You are in control of your choices. is simply here to help you make the right choice for you.

“Apprenticeship or University?” It’s up to you to decide.

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