Should I go to University or do an Apprenticeship?

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studying12345
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I have applied to both university and an apprenticeship. I have firmed Bath as my first choice for a degree in management with marketing (including a placement year - 4 years). Bath's management school is the best in the country.

I've also got an offer for a digital marketing degree apprenticeship with Unilever (a great company) which lasts 3.5 years.

I was originally set on doing the apprenticeship. But now, I feel quite conflicted as many say Bath is a great uni and I'm missing out on the opportunity to go to such a great uni.

However, with a degree apprenticeship, I would get a degree (at Southbank Uni) but also have 3 years of experience in the industry.

Any advice on which one I should go for?
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Realitysreflexx
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(Original post by studying12345)
I have applied to both university and an apprenticeship. I have firmed Bath as my first choice for a degree in management with marketing (including a placement year - 4 years). Bath's management school is the best in the country.

I've also got an offer for a digital marketing degree apprenticeship with Unilever (a great company) which lasts 3.5 years.

I was originally set on doing the apprenticeship. But now, I feel quite conflicted as many say Bath is a great uni and I'm missing out on the opportunity to go to such a great uni.

However, with a degree apprenticeship, I would get a degree (at Southbank Uni) but also have 3 years of experience in the industry.

Any advice on which one I should go for?
I would go with Bath in the current climate.
Unilever is a great opportunity, amazing actually but the question is will the program even go on, if Unilever needs to cut costs due to the current environment.

But it's all a mess, and hard to say.

My thinking would be there's about 18-24 month's until a vaccine is in circulation and we return to normalcy. But Unilever might be somewhat insulated to the crisis as they produce food stuffs and cleaning supplies. And obviously the work experience would be great. You would need to research it a bit to make a decision.
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studying12345
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(Original post by Realitysreflexx)
I would go with Bath in the current climate.
Unilever is a great opportunity, amazing actually but the question is will the program even go on, if Unilever needs to cut costs due to the current environment.

But it's all a mess, and hard to say.

My thinking would be there's about 18-24 month's until a vaccine is in circulation and we return to normalcy. But Unilever might be somewhat insulated to the crisis as they produce food stuffs and cleaning supplies. And obviously the work experience would be great. You would need to research it a bit to make a decision.
Thank you! I didn't really think about the current climate to be fair. That does put things into perspective. I've done so much research but honestly still a bit lost!
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Realitysreflexx
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(Original post by studying12345)
Thank you! I didn't really think about the current climate to be fair. That does put things into perspective. I've done so much research but honestly still a bit lost!
My apologies for not being able to give you a definitive answer...tbh before this happened i would have advised you to go with Unilver and said not worry about the degree reputation, but possibly it gives you more flexibility by going to Bath, also as far as getting maybe a Master's place. Economically it could in theory take us roughly 18-24 months to get a vaccine done. Add about another 2 years for confidence to come back, if you were fully educated yourself in those 4 years you should be in an economy in an upswing. But i could easily imagine, firms needing to eventually cut jobs in this environment, and if that happened a London South Bank degree is probably not what you want to be holding. But it's a very complicated situation. I could in fact be totally wrong.
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Chris2892
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(Original post by studying12345)
I have applied to both university and an apprenticeship. I have firmed Bath as my first choice for a degree in management with marketing (including a placement year - 4 years). Bath's management school is the best in the country.

I've also got an offer for a digital marketing degree apprenticeship with Unilever (a great company) which lasts 3.5 years.

I was originally set on doing the apprenticeship. But now, I feel quite conflicted as many say Bath is a great uni and I'm missing out on the opportunity to go to such a great uni.

However, with a degree apprenticeship, I would get a degree (at Southbank Uni) but also have 3 years of experience in the industry.

Any advice on which one I should go for?
I’m in my 5th year of a degree apprenticeship.

I can give you my perspective of working style outcome, based on comparisons of the other final year degree apprenticeship in my group, and the full time students.

•Degree apprentices generally appear more professional, organised, and structured in their work.
•Some degree apprentices even have published work and patented ideas/designs!
•Full time students tend to be more broadly focused, where apprentices will identify areas to specialise in and focus on within their working industry relatively early.
•Apprentices seen to struggle more with deadlines due full time work, although, full time students have more day-to-day distractions and may have to hold a part time job to pay rent/bills.
•Some full time students seem happy with just obtaining 40<50% for minimum pass. Grades might be assessed for apprentices by the employer.

It goes without saying that a degree apprenticeship is very exclusive, valuable, but difficult to obtain. At the least, you may gain valuable interview experience, so I’d recommend applying regardless.

Let me know if there’s any specific areas you want further information on.

Hope this helps
Last edited by Chris2892; 2 weeks ago
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studying12345
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(Original post by Realitysreflexx)
My apologies for not being able to give you a definitive answer...tbh before this happened i would have advised you to go with Unilver and said not worry about the degree reputation, but possibly it gives you more flexibility by going to Bath, also as far as getting maybe a Master's place. Economically it could in theory take us roughly 18-24 months to get a vaccine done. Add about another 2 years for confidence to come back, if you were fully educated yourself in those 4 years you should be in an economy in an upswing. But i could easily imagine, firms needing to eventually cut jobs in this environment, and if that happened a London South Bank degree is probably not what you want to be holding. But it's a very complicated situation. I could in fact be totally wrong.
Thank you. I'll take all this into consideration. You're right, many companies may start cutting down on jobs. In the current climate, it is a little risky. I'll do some more research into it.
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studying12345
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(Original post by Chris2892)
I’m in my 5th year of a degree apprenticeship.

I can give you my perspective of working style outcome, based on comparisons of the other final year degree apprenticeship in my group, and the full time students.

•Degree apprentices generally appear more professional, organised, and structured in their work.
•Some degree apprentices even have published work and patented ideas/designs!
•Full time students tend to be more broadly focused, where apprentices will identify areas to specialise in and focus on within their working industry relatively early.
•Apprentices seen to struggle more with deadlines due full time work, although, full time students have more day-to-day distractions and may have to hold a part time job to pay rent/bills.
•Some full time students seem happy with just obtaining 40<50% for minimum pass. Grades might be assessed for apprentices by the employer.

It goes without saying that a degree apprenticeship is very exclusive, valuable, but difficult to obtain. At the least, you may gain valuable interview experience, so I’d recommend applying regardless.

Let me know if there’s any specific areas you want further information on.

Hope this helps
Thank you so much! That was all very useful. I've already applied but I am waiting on the assessment day (which at this point, I'm not sure is going to happen). If I were to get the offer, I'm not sure what I would go for.

Just a quick question. Does it matter that the degree is at a low ranked uni? If I were to do a full-time degree, it would be at Bath which is a top university. By doing the degree apprenticeship, I would get my degree at Southbank, which is at a much lower rank.

What apprenticeship are you doing and what is the degree like?
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Chris2892
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(Original post by studying12345)
Thank you so much! That was all very useful. I've already applied but I am waiting on the assessment day (which at this point, I'm not sure is going to happen). If I were to get the offer, I'm not sure what I would go for.

Just a quick question. Does it matter that the degree is at a low ranked uni? If I were to do a full-time degree, it would be at Bath which is a top university. By doing the degree apprenticeship, I would get my degree at Southbank, which is at a much lower rank.

What apprenticeship are you doing and what is the degree like?
My apprenticeship is mechanical engineering, and I work at a medical device company in research and testing.

I find that the university module assignments aren’t very good. They do however, help you learn new skills, but they’re not very transferable to graduate job level work. They’re often introduction level, where they teach you the basic tools or theory.

This in mind, you should get opportunities to do projects you can propose yourself. This is better as an apprentice where you can pick something from work you’re interested in and build up that knowledge.

Not many universities support the degree apprenticeship route, so choice is limited. But if you get into a good company, this far outweighs a good university (excluding the top 3). You’d be working with industry leaders, have a bigger support network for your studies, and be actively using the relevant tools and skills to a more proficient level than you would at university. Most software at university has limited licenses, only give you student versions, and as a result have limited capabilities.

Additionally, you have to complete 20% off the job training including university studies during an apprenticeship, so you’ll receive additional training and other off site opportunities.

The competition is tough in applications because the end result is so rewarding. You receive a better education, become more employable, and get paid for it. It’s hard, but so so very worth it regardless of university.

For management in particular, I see interpersonal skills as key. Being surrounded by experienced managers who can guide and steer your development would no doubt yield better results.
Last edited by Chris2892; 2 weeks ago
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speedwagon
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I also received Russell Group uni offers for Marketing and Management degrees, but if I get a degree apprenticeship offer I plan to reject them. Queen Mary, in example, is the only Russell Group uni offering a degree apprenticeship for Business Management. The only issue is that degree apprenticeship offers are far more difficult to obtain; the applicant to offer ratio is usually far steeper than Oxford/Cambridge. If you want to have experience and higher employability, particularly for business management, I would suggest going the degree apprenticeship route. It also helps that the employer covers your tuition fees and generally offers a salary far higher than the maximum university maintenance loan.
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smartince98
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I'm a degree apprentice in my first year of studies however have had three years in industry, Civil Engineering. You queried about whether attending a lower ranked university for your part-time course makes a difference.. in my experience, it doesn't. However, that does depend on the company you're with. I'm fortunate enough to be in a very good company, and the apprenticeship agreement they have in place is with one of the lower ranked universities in my city. In fact, most of the graduates we intake are from the "better" university in the city, but the apprentices all attend the former.

I think the best way to gain insight into what you'd be going into is to ask the company representatives at interview stage, what support (besides financial and 20% OTJ learning) they're willing to give you. Will they give you tasks that reflect the work you're carrying out at in your studies? Will they expect you to complete an end point assessment? If so, what support will they provide you with to be officially recognised? Will you have a mentor?

Bare in mind the pro's and cons of both routes:
- Apprenticeships you get paid a salary higher than that of your university fees, and your course is paid for
- You gain experience while carrying out your studies. For example, you're studying for 3.5 years, gaining 3.5 years of experience, BEFORE you would have even completed your full time course at Bath. If you were to be professionally recognised at an end-point assessment, you would have done this in half the time as an apprentice than you would have by attending university full time and then getting a graduate role.
- You've been given the opportunity to get your foot in the door before your career has even started!
- Apprentices do have to spend evenings and weekends carrying out their work, so it takes a lot of organisation from the outset. Full time students may have more free time, however more distractions.
- You don't necessarily get the university lifestyle from an apprenticeship. That being said, you do get the networking opportunities and you'll have the cash to go out socially with those uni pals (so who wins?)
- You may not go to your top choice university.

It completely depends on the way you want to look at it. I'll be happy to give any other info if you need it
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Chris2892
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(Original post by smartince98)
I'm a degree apprentice in my first year of studies however have had three years in industry, Civil Engineering. You queried about whether attending a lower ranked university for your part-time course makes a difference.. in my experience, it doesn't. However, that does depend on the company you're with. I'm fortunate enough to be in a very good company, and the apprenticeship agreement they have in place is with one of the lower ranked universities in my city. In fact, most of the graduates we intake are from the "better" university in the city, but the apprentices all attend the former.

I think the best way to gain insight into what you'd be going into is to ask the company representatives at interview stage, what support (besides financial and 20% OTJ learning) they're willing to give you. Will they give you tasks that reflect the work you're carrying out at in your studies? Will they expect you to complete an end point assessment? If so, what support will they provide you with to be officially recognised? Will you have a mentor?

Bare in mind the pro's and cons of both routes:
- Apprenticeships you get paid a salary higher than that of your university fees, and your course is paid for
- You gain experience while carrying out your studies. For example, you're studying for 3.5 years, gaining 3.5 years of experience, BEFORE you would have even completed your full time course at Bath. If you were to be professionally recognised at an end-point assessment, you would have done this in half the time as an apprentice than you would have by attending university full time and then getting a graduate role.
- You've been given the opportunity to get your foot in the door before your career has even started!
- Apprentices do have to spend evenings and weekends carrying out their work, so it takes a lot of organisation from the outset. Full time students may have more free time, however more distractions.
- You don't necessarily get the university lifestyle from an apprenticeship. That being said, you do get the networking opportunities and you'll have the cash to go out socially with those uni pals (so who wins?)
- You may not go to your top choice university.

It completely depends on the way you want to look at it. I'll be happy to give any other info if you need it
All excellent points.
Just to add for the “university lifestyle”, most university unions can be joined without being a student there. I joined the local university union and signed up to some of their society’s, despite going to university part time in a different city.
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studying12345
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(Original post by Chris2892)
My apprenticeship is mechanical engineering, and I work at a medical device company in research and testing.

I find that the university module assignments aren’t very good. They do however, help you learn new skills, but they’re not very transferable to graduate job level work. They’re often introduction level, where they teach you the basic tools or theory.

This in mind, you should get opportunities to do projects you can propose yourself. This is better as an apprentice where you can pick something from work you’re interested in and build up that knowledge.

Not many universities support the degree apprenticeship route, so choice is limited. But if you get into a good company, this far outweighs a good university (excluding the top 3). You’d be working with industry leaders, have a bigger support network for your studies, and be actively using the relevant tools and skills to a more proficient level than you would at university. Most software at university has limited licenses, only give you student versions, and as a result have limited capabilities.

Additionally, you have to complete 20% off the job training including university studies during an apprenticeship, so you’ll receive additional training and other off site opportunities.

The competition is tough in applications because the end result is so rewarding. You receive a better education, become more employable, and get paid for it. It’s hard, but so so very worth it regardless of university.

For management in particular, I see interpersonal skills as key. Being surrounded by experienced managers who can guide and steer your development would no doubt yield better results.
Thank you so much for all the great advice. It seems like a degree apprenticeship is a much better route for the marketing and management industries. You mentioned that the skills are not very transferrable to graduate job level work. Is the job you do alongside the degree not at graduate level? If after the apprenticeship, I would like to get another job at graduate level, would I not be able to do so (would it decrease my chances)?
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Chris2892
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(Original post by studying12345)
Thank you so much for all the great advice. It seems like a degree apprenticeship is a much better route for the marketing and management industries. You mentioned that the skills are not very transferrable to graduate job level work. Is the job you do alongside the degree not at graduate level? If after the apprenticeship, I would like to get another job at graduate level, would I not be able to do so (would it decrease my chances)?
The work I do at actual work is definitely graduate level and always feels more challenging than what I’m currently doing at university.

The university work isn’t that transferable to graduate level work.
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ajj2000
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How much are Unilever offering to pay you?
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studying12345
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(Original post by Chris2892)
The work I do at actual work is definitely graduate level and always feels more challenging than what I’m currently doing at university.

The university work isn’t that transferable to graduate level work.
Okay great. Thank you for all the advice really appreciate it!
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studying12345
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(Original post by ajj2000)
How much are Unilever offering to pay you?
They haven't specifically said what the salary is. They just say it's a competitive salary (so it'll either match the industry average or go beyond that).
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Gent2324
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(Original post by studying12345)
They haven't specifically said what the salary is. They just say it's a competitive salary (so it'll either match the industry average or go beyond that).
have they not sent you an offer of employment? they should be telling you what the salary is once they offer you the job
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studying12345
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(Original post by Gent2324)
have they not sent you an offer of employment? they should be telling you what the salary is once they offer you the job
Thing is I have a “conditional offer”. Once I get the a level grades I need, i’ll get the job for certain. I think they will reveal it then. I assume it’ll be around £18,000 as I’ve spoken to other Unilever apprentices who have said level 6 usually get £18,000
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Gent2324
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(Original post by studying12345)
Thing is I have a “conditional offer”. Once I get the a level grades I need, i’ll get the job for certain. I think they will reveal it then. I assume it’ll be around £18,000 as I’ve spoken to other Unilever apprentices who have said level 6 usually get £18,000
I also have a conditional offer but there's still an offer of employment it's just subject to requirements. it seems strange they havent given a contract , do you know how much holiday you get ? pension scheme ? work policy ? sick pay ? training costs ? terms and conditions of the contract? have they told you any of that ?
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studying12345
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(Original post by Gent2324)
I also have a conditional offer but there's still an offer of employment it's just subject to requirements. it seems strange they havent given a contract , do you know how much holiday you get ? pension scheme ? work policy ? sick pay ? training costs ? terms and conditions of the contract? have they told you any of that ?
Are you doing an apprenticeship? What company is it with?
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