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University or an apprenticeship? Morgan’s Story

Arrows pointing in different directions
National Apprenticeship Week 2021

After finishing college, I was left to decide between going to university or doing an apprenticeship. Initially I was unsure which career path I wanted to go down but after much thought, I decided I didn’t want to go to university, wasting time and money if I didn’t enjoy what I was doing.

Instead, I decided I wanted to do an apprenticeship where I could gain valuable real-world experience, whilst also earning a living and learning at the same time. This would allow me to start my career whilst also still being educated and earning a recognised certificate which is the beauty of doing an apprenticeship. 

I started as a digital marketing apprentice at a previous employer for a few months before the pandemic hit which unfortunately caused me to lose that job. This apprenticeship allowed me to take my first step on the career ladder and start developing the necessary skills for a career in marketing. In the time I was there, I got used to working in a professional environment and got stuck straight into making a difference to the business, whether that was by updating the website, updating and maintaining their social media profiles, creating a flyer for potential clients and much more. This allowed me to gain career skills and build my confidence as an effective team member, laying the foundation for the future progression of my career. 

Whilst doing all of this at work, the money I was earning allowed me to pay for the things I wanted to do outside of work; for example, I could afford a car which allowed me to meet my friends to play football on the weekends or go to my table tennis matches during the week. For many, this will understandably be the most appealing part of an apprenticeship especially when you compare it to the student debt acquired by going to university, of which there is none from doing an apprenticeship. 

In the past, there were some stigmas around apprenticeships, mainly suggesting they were a lower form of higher education compared to the traditional route of going to university. These days however, apprenticeships have evolved vastly and are becoming more and more popular as investment from the government and employers into apprenticeships continues to grow. There are also some apprenticeships that are equivalent to doing a degree so the notion that apprenticeships are a lesser form of education compared to university is well and truly outdated.  

Overall, I would strongly recommend doing an apprenticeship whatever your age. Although I’ve not been at the Growth Company long, I have already enjoyed my time here and the support I have received being a new apprentice has been outstanding. The benefits I have outlined give more than enough reason to consider doing one and it provides an excellent alternative to going to university if you are not convinced that’s the path for you. This is even more true during this COVID-controlled economic climate where the need for relevant, vocational skills is higher than ever. On top of this, where some of my peers who are at university have had their learning heavily disrupted by the pandemic, I am still able to continue my apprenticeship gaining more experience every day and progressing my career. 

If you’d like some help to understand whether an apprenticeship is right for you, how to find them and navigating the application process, the National Careers Service can support you.

Call us on 0800 100 900 or visit nationalcareers.service.gov.uk