I’ve recently been having a lot of conversations about what young people can do following school/college.  Some people are aware of the variety of opportunities available.  However, the vast majority believe that apprenticeships are only for individuals who do not have the grades to attend university.  Or those who want to get into the trades.

With the apprenticeship levy now in place, companies are exploring how they can make the most of this.  That means more opportunities for school leavers to start apprenticeships in professional environments like the legal sector, engineering, and finance.  I’m not just talking about Level 3 qualifications (equivalent to A-Level standards) that are most associated with this type of role.  There are also a significant number of degree apprenticeships.

To top it off, there’s a growing number of employers who do not offer the apprentice wage.  Instead, they are offering national minimum wage or even London Living Wage.  Now, this obviously isn’t everyone.  Yet, with employers having a growing focus on diversity and ensuring opportunities are open to all, they are being more conscious of the cost of living.  Oh, and did I mention that apprentices are paid while they are studying toward their qualification.  Not just the time spent “on the job”.

If you still think of apprenticeships as a route only for students who are not academically inclined, maybe it’s time to reconsider.  Maybe it would make sense to explore the benefits of studying toward a nationally recognised qualification.  Whilst building a career in a professional environment, and potentially earning a decent salary (with benefits).

I am a great believer in the value of attending university for the right reasons (see my earlier blog), and I believe there are alternatives better suited to some people.