In the last year of college there’s a huge pressure on students to go to Uni.  There are classes you are made to attend about the whole process, forms you are made to fill out, meetings to attend etc.  It is to the extent that college students actually forget that this is only an option and not compulsory.  Even if it’s not said verbally, there is the general consensus that you MUST attend university to be successful in life.   And this just isn’t the case. An apprenticeship could be more beneficial than University.


I remember in my college tutorial lesson I got into an argument with my tutor about it.  It wasn’t that I hadn’t thought about what I wanted to do later in life, I just simply didn’t know.  And I certainly wasn’t ready to make the huge decision about university just yet.  I simply told my tutor I didn’t know yet, and wasn’t going to fill out the form.  If I were to go to university, it definitely wouldn’t be that year, and I would think about it in my own time without some old bat standing over my shoulder telling me how my future should be.  I phrased the last bit (slightly) more politely, of course.


I had a friend who – after a month at university – nearly had a breakdown after she realised she’d picked totally the wrong course.  Luckily after a lot of stress and faffing about she was able to change course and thankfully it all went well in the end.  But this happened because she was rushed into it and didn’t see any other option but to go to university.


It’s all very hit and miss with Uni, it seems.  It could go fantastically well.  You have a great time and meet lots of new friends and party you’re a** off and get a degree and land your perfect job. But that isn’t always the reality of it.  You could be forced to live with people you end up hating, not do so well in your course, and land yourself in a heap load of debt… And still not end up getting a job.  Is it always worth it?  If only there was another option which didn’t mean dropping out and working at McDonalds.


Well there is.  It’s called an apprenticeship.


When people think of apprenticeships they often wrongly believe they’re only available in jobs like welding, engineering, hairdressing etc… basically hands on jobs but this isn’t the case.  Not that there’s anything wrong with these, it’s just that apprenticeships are now available in every type of job – IT, media, business, law… the list goes on.


The main advantage of doing an apprenticeship over a university course (and the most obvious) is there is no huge debt to pay at the end of it.  Like I said, Uni is very hit and miss and if you doesn’t work out as you planned, you might be stuck with a huge debt with not much hope of getting out of it.  Apprenticeships on the other hand offer you security and the peace of mind that you aren’t going to owe huge sums of money; and you know at the end of it there’s a job waiting for you.  Win win!


It’s not the greatest money (but again, better than being in debt) but you know in the long run it will be worth it!  So just be patient and stop wasting your money on things you don’t need!  You just need to budget wisely… and it can be done!  I’m on an apprentice wage and I still have the money to pay rent, eat out occasionally, buy clothes, go out, and PARTY LIKE A STUDENT!


One of the main things that appeals to people about Uni is the lifestyle.  And in all honesty, that was one of the main reasons I considered going.  But here’s the thing: you can still live this lifestyle, even things like getting student discount in bars because as an apprentice you are part of a college scheme and are given a student card!   Also, it’s most likely that some of your friends will be going to Uni so if you keep in touch you automatically become involved in that lifestyle by default.  ALL WHILST NOT WORRYING ABOUT DEBT!


I’m not telling you to not go Uni, I’m simply stating it’s not the only option, and you don’t NEED to go there to be successful (Steve Jobs and Bill Gates are prime examples of this).   So an apprenticeship is definitely worth thinking about.

Tom Duffy