Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Apprenticeship over university – the practical experience

Up until recently, most school leavers were all psyched about university applications to get a degree that could kick-start their working lives. The idea was to get the best academic experience possible at a seemingly good price. However, with the increased university fees fewer teens are even considering the idea of pursuing a degree. 

Learn and get paid

Nowadays, more and more organisations have staff members who aren't even old enough to drive, yet they do their jobs so well, that most university graduates could learn from them. Fortunately, more and more teenagers start to grasp the idea of how practical work experience could benefit them more than a degree and thus the numbers of apprentices are slowly starting to increase. 

After finishing school, some youngsters would rather head straight into work, to gain practical knowledge and skills than spend three more years in education. Last year, the number of applicants increased by 27% and it's been increasing ever since. In 2013 over 130,000 vacancies were posted online and they generated more than 1.4 million applications, an increase of just over a third from 2012. 

Jaine Bolton, director of the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS), said: "These figures show that the demand for apprenticeships keeps growing. It is the first choice for many talented young people and more employers wanting young talent need to wake up to this fact."

Better employment prospects with apprenticeship experience

Recent surveys showed that young people with work experience have a much better chance of getting a job than university graduates, because practical knowledge tends to outweigh that "piece of paper". Education and Skills Minister Matthew Hancock said: "We've got a lot in the pipeline to make apprenticeships even better and more accessible."

At the end of 2013 the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) Chief John Cridland called for that apprenticeships were to be given an equal status to as degrees. He said: “We need to widen the gateways into higher-skilled work for far more people, including those already working, or those for whom a degree may not be the best option.”

The benefits of apprenticeships

People would say that apprenticeships are better for young people and more fulfilling than university because part-takers get real-life work experience. Although university has its own perks, such as theoretical knowledge, being an apprentice is something different. 

Apprentices learn along the way and gain skills that are required for other jobs, and therefore have the edge over those peers, who spent years learning concepts and theories, without actually practicing them.