Uni vs Apprenticeship

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A aron
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#1
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#1
Does anyone regret their uni? Does anyone regret their apprenticeships why?
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Wired_1800
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#2
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#2
(Original post by A aron)
Does anyone regret their uni? Does anyone regret their apprenticeships why?
Going to uni was one of the best things in my life. It gave me independence to be with people around my own age. I was able to form friendships and network without any real responsibilities. I was also given the chance to grow as a person before entering the world of work.
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Chris2892
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#3
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#3
I spent 8 years in apprenticeships from level 2 to 6 and wouldn’t have done it any other way. The part time study and full time work method just suited me better. I wanted to be hands on and learn whilst I experienced the actual industry.
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Ctrl+Alt+Defeat
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#4
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#4
I did a marketing apprenticeship for 18 months after completing A-Levels. For me personally, it was the best choice for enabling me to get a job in the career that I wanted (marketing). There were no tuition fees, so there was no debt at the end of it - I got paid to work while studying in my free time. I don’t have any regrets.

On the other hand, I’ve spoken to multiple other people who have marketing jobs who say they wished they had done an apprenticeship rather than go to university to study marketing. I think their general feeling was that they enjoyed the social experience of being at Uni, but that ultimately the marketing degree that they received at the end of it didn’t really help them attain an entry-level marketing job (that is it say it didn’t give them an advantage over applicants who had done an apprenticeship).

However it does also depend on what you want to study - e.g. if you want to study something like medicine then obviously university is your best/only option, whereas with something like marketing/business studies or even accounting, you’re probably better off going the apprenticeship route.
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Hoc est Bellum
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#5
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#5
(Original post by A aron)
Does anyone regret their uni? Does anyone regret their apprenticeships why?
I got carried away and forgot the main purpose of the thread (it is not apprenticeship vs uni). Since I put a lot of effort into this, I'm going to leave this here.

Sometimes I regret my decision to do an apprenticeship (I did a 2 year instead of a-levels and currently doing a 4-year degree apprenticeship instead of uni). This fades though and I am generally happy with my decisions. When I look at it from an observer perspective:

Apprenticeship

Pros

- x years of wages (£xxx,xxx)
- x years of professional experience (in good companies)
- The ability to invest earlier in life
- Start pension early
- Very good salary after apprenticeship (if successfully completed)

Cons

- Degree apprenticeship takes an additional year vs uni
- My degree title is "Digital and Technology Solutions"
- BTEC vs a-levels
- Not studying at a top university
- Difficult to change into a different specialised career path

University

Pros

- Degree title
- 3 years vs 4 years
- Can change specialisations quite easily with a more general degree
- Can study at a top university

Cons

- £27,750 in tuition debt and £xx,xxx in maintenance loans (not to mention interest)
- No relevant experience (may be able to get a part-time role with transferable skills)
- Average graduate starting salary is £24,000 (https://www.savethestudent.org/stude...ur-degree.html)
- No guarantee of a job

Although I am biased to the apprenticeship route, each has its own merits. If you were looking to pursue research, it is possible via an apprenticeship but would probably be much better to do this via the university pathway for example. If you are looking for some specific graduate schemes (investment banking, consulting) uni may be the better option (although again you can do this via the apprentice pathway). If you know the role that you want to specialise in and want a headstart in your industry, then an apprenticeship is probably the way to go.
Last edited by Hoc est Bellum; 10 months ago
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Chris2892
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#6
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#6
(Original post by Hoc est Bellum)
I got carried away and forgot the main purpose of the thread (it is not apprenticeship vs uni). Since I put a lot of effort into this, I'm going to leave this here.

Sometimes I regret my decision to do an apprenticeship (I did a 2 year instead of a-levels and currently doing a 4-year degree apprenticeship instead of uni). This fades though and I am generally happy with my decisions. When I look at it from an observer perspective:

Apprenticeship

Pros

- 6 years of wages (£135,050 before tax)
- 6 years of professional experience (in good companies)
- The ability to invest earlier in life
- Start pension early
- At least £36,000 salary after apprenticeship (if successfully completed)

Cons

- Degree apprenticeship takes an additional year vs uni
- My degree title is "Digital and Technology Solutions"
- BTEC vs a-levels
- Not studying at a top university
- Difficult to change into a different specialised career path (non-tech or engineering)

University

Pros

- Degree title
- 3 years vs 4 years
- Can change specialisations quite easily with a more general degree
- Can study at a top university

Cons

- £27,750 in tuition debt and £xx,xxx in maintenance loans (not to mention interest)
- No relevant experience (may be able to get a part-time role with transferable skills)
- Average graduate starting salary is £24,000 (https://www.savethestudent.org/stude...ur-degree.html)
- No guarantee of a job

Although I am biased to the apprenticeship route, each has its own merits. If you were looking to pursue research, it is possible via an apprenticeship but would probably be much better to do this via the university pathway for example. If you are looking for some specific graduate schemes (investment banking, consulting) uni may be the better option (although again you can do this via the apprentice pathway). If you know the role that you want to specialise in and want a headstart in your industry, then an apprenticeship is probably the way to go.
This is very insightful and well written.

I think the key takeaway from this is, where attending a top university is arguably paramount to the value of your degree and subsequent opportunities as a graduate, the equivalent value for apprenticeships is getting a top employer who invests in your development.

There are many mandatory things an employer must offer for your development as an apprentice, but also many things they don’t offer to the full extent, or at all. Including, but not limited to:

• External and certified training
• Internal training
• Project leader opportunities
• Business exposure
• Mid year and end of year reviews
• Development goals
• Training budgets
• Access to internal software and hardware
• Development feedback
• Personal Mentor
• 1-2-1 weekly meetings
• Opportunities to present
• Travel for business/conferences/meetings etc
• Project ownership
• Time for planning
• Department Rotations (multi-discipline or for exposure)
• Research, novel and investigational
• Publication support
• Team working
• Institution membership support
• Realistic responsibilities
• Progressive responsibility
• Work-life balance
• Consideration of learning curves

All of these things are key to development on an apprenticeship, but are also the things that vary from employer to employer.

These should be the things you’re asking about in your interviews/assessment days. After all, it may be what justifies spending the additional year or two as an apprentice instead of going to university full time.

In summary, I was lucky to have an excellent employer who managed all of the points above very well, and for that reason, I don’t regret my 5 year apprenticeship.
Last edited by Chris2892; 11 months ago
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re9957
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#7
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#7
(Original post by Hoc est Bellum)
I got carried away and forgot the main purpose of the thread (it is not apprenticeship vs uni). Since I put a lot of effort into this, I'm going to leave this here.

Sometimes I regret my decision to do an apprenticeship (I did a 2 year instead of a-levels and currently doing a 4-year degree apprenticeship instead of uni). This fades though and I am generally happy with my decisions. When I look at it from an observer perspective:

Apprenticeship

Pros

- 6 years of wages (£135,050 before tax)
- 6 years of professional experience (in good companies)
- The ability to invest earlier in life
- Start pension early
- At least £36,000 salary after apprenticeship (if successfully completed)

Cons

- Degree apprenticeship takes an additional year vs uni
- My degree title is "Digital and Technology Solutions"
- BTEC vs a-levels
- Not studying at a top university
- Difficult to change into a different specialised career path (non-tech or engineering)

University

Pros

- Degree title
- 3 years vs 4 years
- Can change specialisations quite easily with a more general degree
- Can study at a top university

Cons

- £27,750 in tuition debt and £xx,xxx in maintenance loans (not to mention interest)
- No relevant experience (may be able to get a part-time role with transferable skills)
- Average graduate starting salary is £24,000 (https://www.savethestudent.org/stude...ur-degree.html)
- No guarantee of a job

Although I am biased to the apprenticeship route, each has its own merits. If you were looking to pursue research, it is possible via an apprenticeship but would probably be much better to do this via the university pathway for example. If you are looking for some specific graduate schemes (investment banking, consulting) uni may be the better option (although again you can do this via the apprentice pathway). If you know the role that you want to specialise in and want a headstart in your industry, then an apprenticeship is probably the way to go.
Am looking to go into engineering, what do you mean by "Difficult to change into a different specialised career path (non-tech or engineering)"? isn't that the same with doing a degree at uni? say for eg you do a mechanical engineering degree after the degree you can go into many sects because of how varied mech engineering is. Wouldnt you have the same opportunity after doing a mech engineering apprenticeship or degree apprenticeship.
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Chris2892
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#8
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#8
(Original post by re9957)
Am looking to go into engineering, what do you mean by "Difficult to change into a different specialised career path (non-tech or engineering)"? isn't that the same with doing a degree at uni? say for eg you do a mechanical engineering degree after the degree you can go into many sects because of how varied mech engineering is. Wouldnt you have the same opportunity after doing a mech engineering apprenticeship or degree apprenticeship.
I did a mechanical engineering degree apprenticeship.

It hasn’t limited me at all within engineering, in fact, I’d argue the opposite.

Regardless, I was able to rotate around departments on my apprenticeship and eventually specialise in my preferred function. So you’re less likely to even need flexibility, since you can sometimes tailor your work-based experience to the specific function you enjoy the most.
Last edited by Chris2892; 10 months ago
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Gent2324
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#9
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#9
I don't regret doing an apprenticeship, its given me a better job now than I would've had after uni, way more experience, higher salary and its doing work I enjoy. It was good for me because I've always wanted to be a software engineer, if you're unsure what career you want I don't think an apprenticeship is a good idea, except ones that rotate you around different departments (provided you want a career in that field though)
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Hoc est Bellum
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#10
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#10
(Original post by re9957)
Am looking to go into engineering, what do you mean by "Difficult to change into a different specialised career path (non-tech or engineering)"? isn't that the same with doing a degree at uni? say for eg you do a mechanical engineering degree after the degree you can go into many sects because of how varied mech engineering is. Wouldnt you have the same opportunity after doing a mech engineering apprenticeship or degree apprenticeship.
Degrees on apprenticeship schemes are made specifically to fit the job role rather than as a general degree. For example, if you did a software engineering apprenticeship, your degree would be "Digital and Technology Solutions (Software Engineering Specialism)" vs a plain computer science degree. It is much easier to move onto masters degrees in other subjects because CS isn't very specialised. I guess if you wanted to do say a GDL to get a law degree, it wouldn't me much easier or harder for either so I will remove the (non-tech or engineering)" part.
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M4gn3ticMach1ne
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#11
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#11
(Original post by Chris2892)
I did a mechanical engineering degree apprenticeship.

It hasn’t limited me at all within engineering, in fact, I’d argue the opposite.

Regardless, I was able to rotate around departments on my apprenticeship and eventually specialise in my preferred function. So you’re less likely to even need flexibility, since you can sometimes tailor your work-based experience to the specific function you enjoy the most.
Where did you get the apprenticeship? I've been looking for a mechanical degree apprenticeship
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Chris2892
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#12
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#12
I applied through CogentSkills:
https://www.apprenticesandgraduates.co.uk/vacancies/
They typically offer science based apprenticeships in healthcare/medical/bio, but they also have engineering roles too.

The apprenticeship standard was product design and development.
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M4gn3ticMach1ne
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#13
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#13
(Original post by Chris2892)
I applied through CogentSkills:
https://www.apprenticesandgraduates.co.uk/vacancies/
They typically offer science based apprenticeships in healthcare/medical/bio, but they also have engineering roles too.

The apprenticeship standard was product design and development.
Thanks a lot. I'll look it up.
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M4gn3ticMach1ne
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#14
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#14
(Original post by Chris2892)
I applied through CogentSkills:
https://www.apprenticesandgraduates.co.uk/vacancies/
They typically offer science based apprenticeships in healthcare/medical/bio, but they also have engineering roles too.

The apprenticeship standard was product design and development.
I wasn't able to find any engineering roles
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Chris2892
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#15
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#15
(Original post by M4gn3ticMach1ne)
I wasn't able to find any engineering roles
The 2021 intake has just recently finished.

We had two new degree apprentices start a couple of week ago.

The next start date would be for 2022 and typically a August to October start.

You can expect new vacancies to be posted anywhere up to august 2022, so just keep an eye out.

My advice, focus on landing a top employer in something you enjoy rather than focusing on a top university or specific degree. I found the training and projects at work to be far superior to anything I did at university.

Undergrad University was super basic, subjectively graded, not relevant to real world application, and wasn’t worth the free time it took from me.
Last edited by Chris2892; 9 months ago
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M4gn3ticMach1ne
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#16
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#16
(Original post by Chris2892)
The 2021 intake has just recently finished.

We had two new degree apprentices start a couple of week ago.

The next start date would be for 2022 and typically a August to October start.

You can expect new vacancies to be posted anywhere up to august 2022, so just keep an eye out.

My advice, focus on landing a top employer in something you enjoy rather than focusing on a top university or specific degree. I found the training and projects at work to be far superior to anything I did at university.

Undergrad University was super basic, subjectively graded, not relevant to real world application, and wasn’t worth the free time it took from me.
I see; thank you and I appreciate ypur advice. As you can see,I'm considering doing a degree apprenticeship in engineering and I have a question: how did you manage to find undergrad uni super basic? Don't you do calculus and all the hard mathematics that torment students?

And,What companies would you recommend looking into? I'm currently looking at Siemens, Atkins, Leonardo, JLR, Airbus, and MAYBE, the RAF.
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Chris2892
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#17
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#17
(Original post by M4gn3ticMach1ne)
I see; thank you and I appreciate ypur advice. As you can see,I'm considering doing a degree apprenticeship in engineering and I have a question: how did you manage to find undergrad uni super basic? Don't you do calculus and all the hard mathematics that torment students?

And,What companies would you recommend looking into? I'm currently looking at Siemens, Atkins, Leonardo, JLR, Airbus, and MAYBE, the RAF.
Learning the math is the hardest part, but I started a degree apprenticeship after a level 3 apprenticeship without any A levels. I couldn’t even multiply fractions. So as long as you make an effort to revise, I’m sure most can manage.

The actual application and theory is fairly basic.

For specific employers, I wouldn’t limit yourself too much given the availability and competitiveness. Just find a good employer. You can always apply elsewhere after.
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M4gn3ticMach1ne
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#18
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#18
(Original post by Chris2892)
Learning the math is the hardest part, but I started a degree apprenticeship after a level 3 apprenticeship without any A levels. I couldn’t even multiply fractions. So as long as you make an effort to revise, I’m sure most can manage.

The actual application and theory is fairly basic.

For specific employers, I wouldn’t limit yourself too much given the availability and competitiveness. Just find a good employer. You can always apply elsewhere after.
Right; lastly, what makes an employer a good employer?
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Chris2892
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#19
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#19
(Original post by M4gn3ticMach1ne)
Right; lastly, what makes an employer a good employer?
The main focus of your apprenticeship is to develop, so you want to make sure the employer is invested in developing talent including their apprentices. That in mind, you also want to make sure they have good approach to work-life balance.

Larger companies typically have better training budgets, so you’re likely to have access to better external training opportunities. This might include having their own training centre, or partnerships/memberships with training providers.

The available on-site equipment is also a big factor in development. I found the university equipment to be mainly booked out by post graduates and not in the best working condition, so I often used my employers equipment.

On that topic, see what software they’re using. Universities usually hand you student licenses for software which limits functions and computational power, whereas your employer may have full licenses for the same software.
I used full licenses at work for assignments to make a completing the work faster and simpler.

Identifying good employers
To gauge all of this, you can review current vacancies for non-apprenticeship roles to see how they sell themselves to potential applicants.

You could also reach out to former or current apprentices during the application or interviewing stage.

I would strongly recommend asking the employer questions about anything you’re unsure about to make sure the role is right for you, mainly within the interview process.

Finally, follow companies on LinkedIn and see what sort of ethos they radiate.
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Umayrc63
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#20
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#20
(Original post by Hoc est Bellum)
Cons

- Degree apprenticeship takes an additional year vs uni
- My degree title is "Digital and Technology Solutions"
Hi, I'm confused about how the degree digital and technology solutions is a con. Isn't that a 'general' degree? As it covers a lot of jobs in the IT sector.
The other option would be a computer science degree in uni right?
How would computer science degree be better?
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