The Student Room Group

Civil Engineer Graduate/Degree Apprenticeship

My son is looking at an apprenticeship, I would be grateful if anyone who is currently doing a Civil Engineer Graduate/Degree Apprenticeship could give me the pros and cons of doing this rather than just going to university.
He has 5 " A " grades at higher and doing a further 2 higher's and 2 advanced higher's with predicated " A " grade so not sure if that should make him think more about uni or apprenticeship?
Any help would be much appreciated.
Original post by Pandrop
My son is looking at an apprenticeship, I would be grateful if anyone who is currently doing a Civil Engineer Graduate/Degree Apprenticeship could give me the pros and cons of doing this rather than just going to university.
He has 5 " A " grades at higher and doing a further 2 higher's and 2 advanced higher's with predicated " A " grade so not sure if that should make him think more about uni or apprenticeship?
Any help would be much appreciated.


I completed a mechanical engineering degree apprenticeship.

My advice would be to look for apprenticeship opportunities with the top employers. These yield the best work-based training and project opportunities. Where Oxbridge/Russel Group may be the full time university heavy hitters, for apprenticeships, Mott MacDonald, Atkins, Arup, et.al., may be the civil Eng apprenticeship equivalent in value.

Pros
Access to work-based facilities (uni often use limited student software licenses and restrict hardware to final year and postgraduate students).
Internal and external training (20% off-the-job means you may have opportunities to do additional certification like six-sigma).
End Point Assessment (by the end you will be proven as competent not only technically, but interpersonally. Apprenticeships put just as much focus on developing soft skills.)
Support Network (you likely would have a qualified work place “buddy”, mentor, supervisor, and manager, all with the common goal of optimising the outcome of your apprenticeship studies.)
Experience (the work you complete on-the-job will have progressively more real world impact. University modules often lack complexity, the human element, or real world application).
Exposure (some apprenticeships allow you to rotate around different functions and broaden your skill set).
Employability (you will have a proven track record of project success by the time you complete your studies).

Cons
Commitment (Can be extremely demanding to keep on top of workload, or may narrow future career prospects - therefore important to ensure alignment with long term career goals early on).
Pay (starting pay can be 14-20k per year depending on competitiveness).
Risk of committing (employer may fall short of training requirements, or the apprentice may lose
interest in the role).
Suitability (If the apprentice isn’t highly proactive, motivated, or doesn’t take their learning into their own hands, they may not get the most out of the scheme).

I didn’t do A levels, choosing to work my way up apprenticeship levels. Saying that, the quality of training I received meant that in my research and development role, I already had 3 academic publications prior to graduating.

If done properly, and unfortunately it isn’t always, it feels like a cheat into high level professional employment.
(edited 1 year ago)
Reply 2
Original post by Chris2892
I completed a mechanical engineering degree apprenticeship.

My advice would be to look for apprenticeship opportunities with the top employers. These yield the best work-based training and project opportunities. Where Oxbridge/Russel Group may be the full time university heavy hitters, for apprenticeships, Mott MacDonald, Atkins, Arup, et.al., may be the civil Eng apprenticeship equivalent in value.

Pros
Access to work-based facilities (uni often use limited student software licenses and restrict hardware to final year and postgraduate students).
Internal and external training (20% off-the-job means you may have opportunities to do additional certification like six-sigma).
End Point Assessment (by the end you will be proven as competent not only technically, but interpersonally. Apprenticeships put just as much focus on developing soft skills.)
Support Network (you likely would have a qualified work place “buddy”, mentor, supervisor, and manager, all with the common goal of optimising the outcome of your apprenticeship studies.)
Experience (the work you complete on-the-job will have progressively more real world impact. University modules often lack complexity, the human element, or real world application).
Exposure (some apprenticeships allow you to rotate around different functions and broaden your skill set).
Employability (you will have a proven track record of project success by the time you complete your studies).

Cons
Commitment (Can be extremely demanding to keep on top of workload, or may narrow future career prospects - therefore important to ensure alignment with long term career goals early on).
Pay (starting pay can be 14-20k per year depending on competitiveness).
Risk of committing (employer may fall short of training requirements, or the apprentice may lose
interest in the role).
Suitability (If the apprentice isn’t highly proactive, motivated, or doesn’t take their learning into their own hands, they may not get the most out of the scheme).

I didn’t do A levels, choosing to work my way up apprenticeship levels. Saying that, the quality of training I received meant that in my research and development role, I already had 3 academic publications prior to graduating.

If done properly, and unfortunately it isn’t always, it feels like a cheat into high level professional employment.


Many thanks for taking the time to write such a very good balanced response.

Its good to see that with hard work and commitment, which you must have both of the apprenticeship has been a great choice for you and also made you very employable elsewhere if you decided to move to a different employer.

I think the main thing my son really needs to think about is the commitment he needs to put in the get the best out of the apprenticeship if he goes down that route or indeed is lucky enough to be accepted.
Original post by Pandrop
Many thanks for taking the time to write such a very good balanced response.

Its good to see that with hard work and commitment, which you must have both of the apprenticeship has been a great choice for you and also made you very employable elsewhere if you decided to move to a different employer.

I think the main thing my son really needs to think about is the commitment he needs to put in the get the best out of the apprenticeship if he goes down that route or indeed is lucky enough to be accepted.


Agreed, he needs to have a natural interest in the type of work to see a return for his efforts. Otherwise, the apprenticeship scheme wouldn't benefit him regardless of how well it was delivered.

I believe this is the same for university anyway, though at least you can keep your studies broad as an undergraduate.

Perhaps he could take the free 16personalites quiz online and see if it invokes any clarity on suitable career paths?
It produces some free reports on career paths and workplace habits that may be useful.

Here’s the link:
https://www.16personalities.com
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by Pandrop
My son is looking at an apprenticeship, I would be grateful if anyone who is currently doing a Civil Engineer Graduate/Degree Apprenticeship could give me the pros and cons of doing this rather than just going to university.
He has 5 " A " grades at higher and doing a further 2 higher's and 2 advanced higher's with predicated " A " grade so not sure if that should make him think more about uni or apprenticeship?
Any help would be much appreciated.


I am doing a degree apprenticeship in software engineering. I would almost always recommend a degree apprenticeship instead of a normal degree unless you are looking to pursue research. You can find plenty of forums and pages which weigh up the advantages and disadvantages between the two options.

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