The Student Room Group

Apprenticeship vs University

I’m currently a gap year student (did my A Levels last year) and I’m still not sure exactly what to do next year.

As I see it, my options are:

- An audit apprenticeship with a Big 4 firm.

- Mechanical engineer at Bath either as a BEng or MEng.

I’m not sure which to pick as I’m very conflicted.

The advantage to the apprenticeships is that I get the ACA, I get paid and it’s a good way to start a career, however if I don’t like it I’m likely to be stuck in audit, or at least accountancy for my life, and these firms aren’t too keen on people starting their own side hustles which is something I’d like to do.

As for university, it’s a tried and tested method so I’ll always be able to find a job. The advantage to university is that the engineering degree is quite versatile and will allow me to get access into various different fields (accounting/finance, data, tech, and obviously engineering). The disadvantages are that I’ll have to move out which if rather not do, and it’ll cost me a lot of money. But I will have the freedom to do other things like try out side hustles etc which will be really restricted in audit.

I’ve got a month, maybe two to decide fully but ideally by the end of June I’d like to have a clearer idea of what I want do, any thoughts, advice or experience would be greatly appreciated
What type of university will you be going for ? Prestigious high ranking or not because in my opinion its far more advantageous to get a aprenticeship than any degree from a random university and be burdened with debt. However if you are able to get into a ''good'' university then that is probably a choice more aligned with your goals.
Reply 2
Original post by procyani
What type of university will you be going for ? Prestigious high ranking or not because in my opinion its far more advantageous to get a aprenticeship than any degree from a random university and be burdened with debt. However if you are able to get into a ''good'' university then that is probably a choice more aligned with your goals.


I’ve got an offer from Bath for Mechanical Engineering MEng. I’ve looked into Bath and it was University of The Year last year and was rated higher than Oxford for graduate prospects apparently. Also graduates for my course seem to land jobs at big firms for other roles such as Tech and Consulting, not just engineering. So in that sense Bath does seem like a good option so long as I make the most of all the opportunities available to get a good graduate role. However as you said the apprenticeship is far more appealing due to the financial aspect. I was leaning heavily towards the apprenticeship until I looked more into audit and realised that I may not really want to do it and there aren’t many exit opportunities into consulting or other fields, I would forever be stuck in an accounting role even if I moved up the ranks in an industry job and left B4 after qualifying. University would give me more time to decide what I want to do, at the cost of a lot of money.

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