Not sure what you want to do after leaving school? Have you considered an apprenticeship?

In school, students are often expected to follow the traditional route and progress onto a sixth form or college. However, we all know that not everybody learns the same way or wants the same path in life, and the traditional educational route does not suit everyone.

Apprenticeships offer the chance to gain practical and relevant experience within the industry you choose to do your apprenticeship. There are various apprenticeship types to suit your interests and goals.

Learn & Earn: 

Doing an apprenticeship allows you to earn an apprenticeship wage while simultaneously learning/ gaining a qualification on the job. Many students take on a part-time job while studying full-time at sixth form or college, eating into your time. At the same time, you can earn money from doing your already full-time apprenticeship and have the rest of your free time to yourself. Not to mention as long as you are over 16, living in England and not in full-time education, doing an apprenticeship is free.

How much will I be paid? 

If you are under 19 or in your first year as an apprentice, you are entitled to £5.28 as of 2023, which will be changing to £6.40 per hour as of April 2024.

If you are over 19 or have completed your first year as an apprentice, you are entitled to the National Minimum Wage or the National Living Wage depending on your age.

Gain industry insight: 

There is a myriad of apprenticeship options out there; regardless of the industry the apprenticeship is in, it is a guarantee that you will gain some industry insight. This happens naturally as you complete your apprenticeship, as 100% of your time is spent in the workplace; you will grow to thoroughly understand the workplace and industry as you develop your skills within it.

Other traditional educational routes do not offer the opportunity to gain industry insight like an apprenticeship; sixth form and college options are theory-based for the majority. Apprenticeships prepare you for work in a way that sixth form and college could never.


Suppose you struggle with the traditional structure of academic learning. In that case, an apprenticeship is an opportunity to still learn and push yourself in your chosen field, with more flexible time to complete your apprenticeship compared to the pressure of exams and copious amounts of coursework at sixth form and college.

Moreover, if you have not passed GCSE math’s, you have the opportunity to do a more accessible math’s qualification while doing your apprenticeship, known as math’s functional skills. This is a nationally recognised qualification and a GCSE equivalent. 

Education/Life Balance:

During an apprenticeship, an apprentice has to complete their apprenticeship work during their working hours; they can’t take their work home to complete as it has to be done in designated hours. This factor allows for a better work/life balance as you are not taking work home; in the same way, as you would have to revise/ do homework in sixth form and college.

At Zenith Training, we offer a wide range of apprenticeships, why not have a browse of the range of apprenticeships we have on offer Apprenticeships – Zenith Training

Further education: Apprenticeship vs traditional University route 

Apprenticeships are also available at a higher level; a level 4/5 is equivalent to a higher education diploma or a foundation degree. A level 6 is equivalent to a bachelor’s degree, and a level 7 apprenticeship is equivalent to a master’s degree.

You can gain access to a higher level apprenticeship opportunity by completing a level 3 qualification such as an advanced apprenticeship, A levels or NVQ level 3.

Why choose a higher apprenticeship over the traditional university route?

Student debt 

Perhaps the worst aspect of university is the mass amount of student debt that accumulates during a degree. While doing an apprenticeship, you can have the same job opportunities without the £30,000 obligation following you once you graduate. Not only is there no debt, but apprentices also have the chance to earn while they work.

Higher chance of employment after 

Getting a degree from university does not guarantee a job like it used to, especially given the current climate; postgrads are continuing to struggle to find work post-university relating to their degree.

Research shows that 85% of apprentices stay employed after completing an apprenticeship, with 64% continuing to work for the same employer. An apprentice continuously builds a relationship with their employer throughout their apprenticeship. This existing relationship could warrant a job offer at the end of an apprenticeship as an employer has had the opportunity to prove their skills throughout their time with the business.

Practical experience 

Most university degrees are mostly made up of theoretical practice; this does not leave room for much practical learning. Practical learning is critical in ensuring you are prepared for work once studying ends and you enter the workforce. Further apprenticeships prepare you for employment after study as you have been working alongside completing your qualification. Furthermore, an apprentice works alongside industry professionals and interacts with them daily; university students do not get the opportunity to do this often throughout their degree.

As much choice with apprenticeships as degrees 

While it is true that some jobs, such as a doctor or teacher, do require you to go down the traditional university route to train, there is still a lot of variety of further apprenticeships that can lead to some great jobs. Some jobs include Engineer, management and even airline pilot.

Want to learn more? Check out the pros and cons of an apprenticeship vs a degree over at ‘What Next’ Apprenticeship versus Degree: the pros and cons | What Career Live.