Is it worth going to uni or should I look for an apprenticeship?

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Abbie1311
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For a while I’ve wanted to do an accounting apprenticeship and had two interviews with no luck. All the apprenticeships give you a qualification that’s equivalent to A level or GCSE which I’ve already got.

I’ve got no experience in accounting so i was thinking of doing a level 2 accounting course and then apply for uni in 2021.

My only doubts are I have a car that costs £130 a month (4 years left) plus petrol, phone etc so will I be able to afford this with just a uni loan or do I need to keep my 16 hour a week job?
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MisterFortnite
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(Original post by Abbie1311)
For a while I’ve wanted to do an accounting apprenticeship and had two interviews with no luck. All the apprenticeships give you a qualification that’s equivalent to A level or GCSE which I’ve already got.

I’ve got no experience in accounting so i was thinking of doing a level 2 accounting course and then apply for uni in 2021.

My only doubts are I have a car that costs £130 a month (4 years left) plus petrol, phone etc so will I be able to afford this with just a uni loan or do I need to keep my 16 hour a week job?
This is entirely dependant upon how much student finance you're eligible for. You can't exactly predict how much you're granted.
For example: I was lucky enough to be granted the full amount of the student loan. I also lived out with rent averaging £600 per month throughout the 3 years. However, I still needed to work a minimum of 16 hours a week to keep myself afloat. Plus, it also depends on your lifestyle and what you're willing to either lose, compromise or keep, materialistically speaking.
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Abbie1311
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(Original post by MisterFortnite)
This is entirely dependant upon how much student finance you're eligible for. You can't exactly predict how much you're granted.
For example: I was lucky enough to be granted the full amount of the student loan. I also lived out with rent averaging £600 per month throughout the 3 years. However, I still needed to work a minimum of 16 hours a week to keep myself afloat. Plus, it also depends on your lifestyle and what you're willing to either lose, compromise or keep, materialistically speaking.
Well I only live with my mam who works 37 hours on minimum wage so it’s not too great for her. I do like to treat myself and make plans but I can also force myself To not spend. I just wouldn’t wanna go to uni and risk losing my car
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Phoenixfeather99
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16hours a week at uni is actually pretty average for a part-time job. I work 14hours and I manage my studies fine. If you were planning on doing a high intensity course such as medicine or nursing then you may struggle with 16hours, but accounting tends to be more of a reading degree from my flats mates experience rather than an in uni degree.
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MisterFortnite
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(Original post by Abbie1311)
Well I only live with my mam who works 37 hours on minimum wage so it’s not too great for her. I do like to treat myself and make plans but I can also force myself To not spend. I just wouldn’t wanna go to uni and risk losing my car
To be honest, I don't understand why you would be losing out on your car? I had a car throughout uni. If you do choose to go to uni, be smart about choosing accommodation which is 'parking friendly'. Also, top tip. If your family is living on any types of benefits, you potentially might be entitled to a higher student loan. It's all dependant upon were your family falls in the income bracket.

Also, there is no harm in applying for universities, and student loans. You are able to cancel both your place, and loan even once they've been given to you. There is a limited window for this though. Check with the university you apply with and student finance office before considering this. I'm sure you'll be fine and have a prosperous future no matter which pathway you choose.
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Abbie1311
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(Original post by MisterFortnite)
To be honest, I don't understand why you would be losing out on your car? I had a car throughout uni. If you do choose to go to uni, be smart about choosing accommodation which is 'parking friendly'. Also, top tip. If your family is living on any types of benefits, you potentially might be entitled to a higher student loan. It's all dependant upon were your family falls in the income bracket.

Also, there is no harm in applying for universities, and student loans. You are able to cancel both your place, and loan even once they've been given to you. There is a limited window for this though. Check with the university you apply with and student finance office before considering this. I'm sure you'll be fine and have a prosperous future no matter which pathway you choose.
I think it’s because I always hear about people going into their overdraft but it’s most likely because they go crazy on nights out. I just get worried I’m not gonna have enough spare money to keep up with the £130 a month but I think with a job and being smart it should be ok. I’ll definitely look into that thank you
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Abbie1311
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(Original post by Phoenixfeather99)
16hours a week at uni is actually pretty average for a part-time job. I work 14hours and I manage my studies fine. If you were planning on doing a high intensity course such as medicine or nursing then you may struggle with 16hours, but accounting tends to be more of a reading degree from my flats mates experience rather than an in uni degree.
Oh really? Maybe it is possible then as it’s quite a flexible job anyway. How do you find university? I’m getting torn between that or getting an apprenticeship whilst getting paid. It’s a tricky one for me
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Phoenixfeather99
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(Original post by Abbie1311)
Oh really? Maybe it is possible then as it’s quite a flexible job anyway. How do you find university? I’m getting torn between that or getting an apprenticeship whilst getting paid. It’s a tricky one for me
I really enjoy uni. My course is psychology so it’s very reading based so I’m only in uni for around 9 hours a week. I then work 14hours with over time where I can.
The biggest issue you’ll have with your car is physically keeping it with you. Most universities don’t allow students to bring their cars with them unless they are disabled or are on certain degrees such as nursing and even then it’s very limited. You may find that you have to leave your car at home. There are some halls where you can bring your car, so I’m at Swansea and if you stay at HSV you can bring your car but you can’t bring your car if you stay at any of the other halls unless you fall into any of the exclusion categories.
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claireestelle
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(Original post by Abbie1311)
Oh really? Maybe it is possible then as it’s quite a flexible job anyway. How do you find university? I’m getting torn between that or getting an apprenticeship whilst getting paid. It’s a tricky one for me
It's quite possible you d end up on apprenticeship wage if you do an apprenticeship, in which case you may not be able to keep your car on that amount for a year anyway.
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JOSH4598
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(Original post by Abbie1311)
For a while I’ve wanted to do an accounting apprenticeship and had two interviews with no luck. All the apprenticeships give you a qualification that’s equivalent to A level or GCSE which I’ve already got.

I’ve got no experience in accounting so i was thinking of doing a level 2 accounting course and then apply for uni in 2021.

My only doubts are I have a car that costs £130 a month (4 years left) plus petrol, phone etc so will I be able to afford this with just a uni loan or do I need to keep my 16 hour a week job?
If your comparing full-time university courses and degree apprenticeships then that makes sense. But a Level 2 course is significantly lower in value if I'm right in thinking (GCSE level). The degree apprenticeship would give you the degree (free of charge) and you'd receive a salary for the 3 years (around £18-25k). However they are competitive and you may be limited with which firms you join, and you'd likely be contractually tied with them for many years. This link may be helpful for you.

In terms of the debt at university, you only repay the loan you take once you enter employment after university. It doesn't matter whether your loan is £30k/40k/50k/60k etc, you pay a fixed amount back based on your salary when you start work as a graduate. If your earning less than £26k per year you pay nothing back, up to around £30k per year you only back back £20-odd per month so the debt is incredibly manageable. You can work as well as study at university - it's certainly not uncommon. You mention your mum works 37hrs per week on minimum wage, so by my best estimates you'd be eligible for an annual maintenance loan of around £7-8k potentially more. That figure plus however much you earn from working a part-time job is more than enough to live on.

I've chosen university over an apprenticeship/degree apprenticeship because I'm not 100% sure what I want to go into when I'm older and want to give myself maximum choice which most generic degrees offer. If you're dead-set on going into accountancy then an apprenticeship is your best bet. But if you're only doing it for the money and end up hating it, you're a little stuck as no other industry would be too interested in an accounting qualification for any skilled role. Having said that, some smaller employers may not mind so much. Focus on the longer term - where do you see yourself and what do you want to do? Don't settle for a career you don't love just because it's seemingly the only financial-viable option now.
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Abbie1311
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(Original post by JOSH4598)
If your comparing full-time university courses and degree apprenticeships then that makes sense. But a Level 2 course is significantly lower in value if I'm right in thinking (GCSE level). The degree apprenticeship would give you the degree (free of charge) and you'd receive a salary for the 3 years (around £18-25k). However they are competitive and you may be limited with which firms you join, and you'd likely be contractually tied with them for many years. This link may be helpful for you.

In terms of the debt at university, you only repay the loan you take once you enter employment after university. It doesn't matter whether your loan is £30k/40k/50k/60k etc, you pay a fixed amount back based on your salary when you start work as a graduate. If your earning less than £26k per year you pay nothing back, up to around £30k per year you only back back £20-odd per month so the debt is incredibly manageable. You can work as well as study at university - it's certainly not uncommon. You mention your mum works 37hrs per week on minimum wage, so by my best estimates you'd be eligible for an annual maintenance loan of around £7-8k potentially more. That figure plus however much you earn from working a part-time job is more than enough to live on.

I've chosen university over an apprenticeship/degree apprenticeship because I'm not 100% sure what I want to go into when I'm older and want to give myself maximum choice which most generic degrees offer. If you're dead-set on going into accountancy then an apprenticeship is your best bet. But if you're only doing it for the money and end up hating it, you're a little stuck as no other industry would be too interested in an accounting qualification for any skilled role. Having said that, some smaller employers may not mind so much. Focus on the longer term - where do you see yourself and what do you want to do? Don't settle for a career you don't love just because it's seemingly the only financial-viable option now.
Yes a level 2 course is the equivalent to a GCSE but that’s simply because I’ve never done anything related to accounting before so I want to at least get some knowledge of the subject and make sure I like it. I have never came across a degree apprenticeship they’re all advanced or intermediate I think it is.

The repayment is actually a lot less than a thought which is positive. That put me off a lot and that’s good to know it would be easy to live on.

I’ve never had a dream job, accounting is just soemthing I think, just think, I would like but obviously I’ve never done it so how do I know. Do you know of any other university courses that would be accepted into accounting as well as other jobs?
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Abbie1311
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(Original post by claireestelle)
It's quite possible you d end up on apprenticeship wage if you do an apprenticeship, in which case you may not be able to keep your car on that amount for a year anyway.
Yeah that’s why I won’t settle for just anything
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Gent2324
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youd have better chances by just reapplying for the apprenticeships rather than self-studying
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JOSH4598
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(Original post by Abbie1311)
Yes a level 2 course is the equivalent to a GCSE but that’s simply because I’ve never done anything related to accounting before so I want to at least get some knowledge of the subject and make sure I like it. I have never came across a degree apprenticeship they’re all advanced or intermediate I think it is.
All I would say is don't be put off from studying it to degree-level as you'll gain all the necessary understanding fairly quickly. Of course you need to have some numerical intelligence but largely you'll be taught everything you need. It's probably the same time commitment and you'll likely gain a better job with a Level 6 qualification as opposed to a Level 2 one (especially if you already have GCSEs and A-Levels). I would take Law as a good example. The vast majority of law students at university are unlikely to have studied it before. Whether it's a full-time university course, or a degree apprenticeship, don't dismiss higher level qualifications as it's likely you're more than able to cope with the work.
(Original post by Abbie1311)
I’ve never had a dream job, accounting is just soemthing I think, just think, I would like but obviously I’ve never done it so how do I know. Do you know of any other university courses that would be accepted into accounting as well as other jobs?
I completely agree about having a dream job. Most people I know seem to have no clue about future careers! Accounting is certainly a more well-paid industry with lots of opportunities for further qualifications and career progression. Also it's a sector which will always have demand, as most companies use accounting firms for everything from auditing to wealth management. Obviously depends if you want a 9-5 office-based job but no harm in trying that out through work experience. Other courses you could consider are Maths, Economics or Finance degrees (which are useful in every company!) or less numerical-focused courses such as Business Management or Law. There are also lots of courses which merge these, such as Finance and Accounting, PPE, Business and Economics, Business and Law etc. Websites such as Prospects and Complete University Guide give a lot more information though!
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Abbie1311
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(Original post by JOSH4598)
All I would say is don't be put off from studying it to degree-level as you'll gain all the necessary understanding fairly quickly. Of course you need to have some numerical intelligence but largely you'll be taught everything you need. It's probably the same time commitment and you'll likely gain a better job with a Level 6 qualification as opposed to a Level 2 one (especially if you already have GCSEs and A-Levels). I would take Law as a good example. The vast majority of law students at university are unlikely to have studied it before. Whether it's a full-time university course, or a degree apprenticeship, don't dismiss higher level qualifications as it's likely you're more than able to cope with the work.

I completely agree about having a dream job. Most people I know seem to have no clue about future careers! Accounting is certainly a more well-paid industry with lots of opportunities for further qualifications and career progression. Also it's a sector which will always have demand, as most companies use accounting firms for everything from auditing to wealth management. Obviously depends if you want a 9-5 office-based job but no harm in trying that out through work experience. Other courses you could consider are Maths, Economics or Finance degrees (which are useful in every company!) or less numerical-focused courses such as Business Management or Law. There are also lots of courses which merge these, such as Finance and Accounting, PPE, Business and Economics, Business and Law etc. Websites such as Prospects and Complete University Guide give a lot more information though!
Yeah the level 2 is simply just a starter and then I apply for uni with my 2019 college results and if I don’t get into university with those I will progress onto level 3 if possible and then uni after that. If it works like that anyways.

You’ve been very helpful thankyou. The course I was looking at was Business with Accounting but I will definitely explore others. Thank you
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Abbie1311
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(Original post by Gent2324)
youd have better chances by just reapplying for the apprenticeships rather than self-studying
So you think I should get an apprenticeship for a year then go to uni? Or just apprenticeship into a proper job
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Gent2324
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(Original post by Abbie1311)
So you think I should get an apprenticeship for a year then go to uni? Or just apprenticeship into a proper job
apprenticeship for a year is useless they will make you pay back the tuition costs , I suggest accounting apprenticeship and stay there
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Abbie1311
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(Original post by Gent2324)
apprenticeship for a year is useless they will make you pay back the tuition costs , I suggest accounting apprenticeship and stay there
I just came across a 4 year apprenticeship where you do level 2 for 15-18 months, then level 3 and then the ‘perfect’ candidate will have the opportunity to do a level 4. Do you think it would be useful to do this? It’s 14.5k a year for the apprenticeship so the normal wage must be decent
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Gent2324
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(Original post by Abbie1311)
I just came across a 4 year apprenticeship where you do level 2 for 15-18 months, then level 3 and then the ‘perfect’ candidate will have the opportunity to do a level 4. Do you think it would be useful to do this? It’s 14.5k a year for the apprenticeship so the normal wage must be decent
no thats not good. apprenticeships arent always the best option but heres the criteria id go by when deciding an accounting one:

- Level 3 minimum (AAT Level 3)
- 4/5 years
- option to do ACCA or ACA or CIMA (this will be level 7)
- big 4 or mid tier
- 16k + starting salary

you can also go regional if thats your career goals, but ive found that a lot of smaller companies abuse apprentice workers by either treating them like **** or giving them a low wage. id be very careful going into an apprenticeship at a smaller company, its harder to train an apprentice than a graduate so its important that they are doing it properly

The salary requirement doesnt have anything to do with making more money, its just that anything lower and i would seriously question whether the company was for real. usually if its 15k or under then thats an indication of a bad apprenticeship. i cant speak for other industries but thats what ive seen in accounting

have you applied to big 4 and mid tier apprenticeships ? they all have options to do aca/acca and having a starting salary of 17-18k and 22k in london
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Abbie1311
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(Original post by Gent2324)
no thats not good. apprenticeships arent always the best option but heres the criteria id go by when deciding an accounting one:

- Level 3 minimum (AAT Level 3)
- 4/5 years
- option to do ACCA or ACA or CIMA (this will be level 7)
- big 4 or mid tier
- 16k + starting salary

you can also go regional if thats your career goals, but ive found that a lot of smaller companies abuse apprentice workers by either treating them like **** or giving them a low wage. id be very careful going into an apprenticeship at a smaller company, its harder to train an apprentice than a graduate so its important that they are doing it properly

The salary requirement doesnt have anything to do with making more money, its just that anything lower and i would seriously question whether the company was for real. usually if its 15k or under then thats an indication of a bad apprenticeship. i cant speak for other industries but thats what ive seen in accounting

have you applied to big 4 and mid tier apprenticeships ? they all have options to do aca/acca and having a starting salary of 17-18k and 22k in london
So I need to start an apprenticeship that is level 3 even if I’ve done nothing like accounting before? Because I think there’s about 2 in my area but they’re only about £150 a week which is awful. That’s the thing with my area there’s not many good apprenticeships. The apprenticeship I just found is called ‘cummins’ it’s actually not a small company if you searched the website it’s quite good.

I really need to do more research. What is the big 4? And there’s no apprenticeships like that mainly just aat
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