It’s hard when young people are torn between going to university or starting an apprenticeship. University has historically been seen as the crème de la crème of education, while apprenticeships were seen as routes into more manual jobs. However, times have changed and so have opinions on Apprenticeships. So many students are now realising that potential employers value work experience and the transferable skills gained from an Apprenticeship.

Obviously, for some roles such as, Doctors, Nurses and ecologists students will need a degree to enter the industry, but even in these cases a practical apprenticeship can support a Higher Education application as it shows dedication.

Did you know that for roles like Digital Marketing managers, Vehicle Technicians and IT support professionals to name a few, there are specially designed apprenticeships?

Former skills minister, Nick Boles, told the Guardian: “I want every young person leaving school to view university degrees and high-level apprenticeships as different but equally valid choices.

“You can gain a degree with an apprenticeship in subjects ranging from accountancy to law and engineering,” he said. “Apprenticeships allow all school leavers the chance to fulfil their potential through taking the next step that best suits their skills and ambitions.”

Graduates on apprenticeship schemes are a relatively new trend. Previous eligibility rules had always prohibited those with anything higher than a foundation degree (Level 4) from being able to sign up and get funding from the Government. In addition, as most apprenticeships available were at relatively low levels many graduates felt they were overqualified to embark on one.

In May 2017, however, with the introduction of the apprenticeship levy, the Government relaxed the rules on previous learning and in addition has spent a lot of time and money to create a number of apprenticeships at Level 6 and 7, equivalent to Degree and Masters levels.

Early last year it even gave its approval for MBA-level apprenticeship funding, which has opened up a whole new market for those leaving university who can now do an apprenticeship at a level higher than their degree.

But if your students want to enter a sector different from their degree or college course, you should know that Graduates aren’t only progressing onto higher level apprenticeships, but rather, with new apprenticeship Standards being focused on specific job roles, many graduates with a non-relevant degree are being funded on lower level apprenticeships that can equip them with the necessary knowledge or skills to perform in that role, that their degree simply didn’t teach them. In this way many see the benefits in an apprenticeship to get their practical skills up to scratch.

So instead of Apprenticeships or university, it should now be Apprenticeships AND University.