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Apprenticeships: the truth Vs outdated myths

Written on 5th February 2024

Apprenticeships have a long history in the UK and over the decades have become synonymous with supporting manual industries such as construction and engineering with a new workforce. 

In recent years, apprenticeships across the Greater Manchester region have seen incredible development to deliver a wide range of pathways for students including Creative and Design, Sales, Marketing and Procurement, Legal, Finance and Accounting alongside more traditional routes such as Construction, Engineering and Manufacturing and Catering and Hospitality.

A National Careers Service study found that 89% of apprentices were satisfied with their apprenticeship, while a further 83% of apprentices felt their career prospects had improved1.

Furthermore, 68% of apprentices were fully satisfied in their career, whereas only 26%of university students reported being fully satisfied1.

While the debate over university or apprenticeships continues, we’re taking a closer look at apprenticeships, to get the facts about the hands on qualification and dispel those long held myths.

Degrees are better than apprenticeships

There are plenty of routes to get you to your chosen career, and university degrees aren’t the only option. Apprenticeships are valued just as highly as undergraduate degrees and are very favourable amongst employers, as they enable students to gain skills and real life experience working in industry.

There are apprenticeship pathways for a range of careers including medicine, chemistry, marketing and finance. Apprenticeships can also allow students to progress to study qualifications at degree and master’s level. 

A huge benefit of undertaking an apprenticeship is that students don’t incur any fees unlike university degrees.

Apprenticeships are only for vocational industries

One persistent myth about apprenticeships is that they are only available in vocational or manual industries such as hair and beauty, construction and engineering. While these apprenticeships are available, there are a variety of other apprenticeship courses available from accountancy, journalism, digital and marketing. 

In recent years there has been more funding for new apprenticeship pathways, introducing courses to students who may have previously chosen a different route.

Apprenticeships are low paid

Apprenticeships won’t cost students a penny and you’ll even earn money while you learn. 

In the UK, apprentices aged 16 to 18 and apprentices aged 19 and over in the first year of their apprenticeship are entitled to a minimum of £5.28 per hour. However, many companies pay more. The average salary of a degree apprentice in the UK is over £23,0002

Research by the London School of Economics has found that apprentices in their twenties earn anything between £1,000 – £7,000 more, per year, compared to their graduate counterparts3.

Apprentices get stuck in one job

Many people believe that if you train as an apprentice, you’ll never be able to change career or job roles. Apprenticeships train people for a specific type of career from Financial Services to Engineering, but during placements, each student develops a range of transferable skills including problem-solving, communication skills, teamwork and organisational skills.

By the time students are qualified they have already acquired tons of industry experience and a wide range of skills, making them great assets to companies offering a variety of job roles.

Our nine General Further Education colleges across Greater Manchester are currently supporting over 7,7000 students to achieve apprenticeships across the region. With the skills gap widening nationwide, apprenticeships directly bridge that gap by helping people of all ages to gain employment and learn new skills, while supporting employers to access an incredible pipeline of talent.

If you are an employer interested in the benefits an apprentice could bring to your company, or someone who is interested in undertaking an apprenticeship, contact your local college as they will be only too happy to help you on your journey.





3FE News