First off, let’s get things clear. It doesn’t matter which of these routes you take, you will still end up with a fully accredited Bachelors degree, so the end result, in terms of your qualification is the same. It is the route to getting that qualification that differs and here are some of the things you will need to consider when deciding which is better for you.
1. Your career aspirations
Degree apprenticeships are a fairly recent arrival and so at the moment, the types of degree apprenticeships on offer is not as wide as it will be in the future. There are new types of degree apprenticeships being created all the time covering a wide range of professions such as law, nursing, banking, engineering, surveying and IT. If you have a specific career in mind, you will need to check that your industry is already offering a degree apprenticeship.
2. The cost
This is where degree apprenticeships definitely have the advantage over a traditional university degree. By taking the degree apprenticeship route, you will graduate debt free, as your employer will cover the costs of your studies, instead of the usual £50,000+ student loans that most students are now graduating with. Not only that, you will also be paid during your apprenticeship, so the cost benefit of a degree apprenticeship is a definite plus in their favour.
3. The experience – missing out on university life?
Many people will argue that one of the best things about going to university is the life – all the activities and social experiences it offers, plus the experience of moving away from home and living with other people your age, often for the first time. Doing a degree apprenticeship will not give you this experience in the same way, but you will not be missing out entirely. As part of your degree apprenticeship you will be attending university usually one day a week and you will also have a student card, which will give you access to all the facilities that the university campus experience offers. In some cases, degree apprentices need to move away from home but you would be living in private rented accommodation rather than halls, so not quite the exact university experience, but not far off.
4. Future employment prospects
Most graduates these days are being told that they will need to get some kind of work experience along the way to enhance their CV and be more employable. Work experience gives you that head start on other applicants who many not have any. The degree apprenticeship route gives you on the job, practical training throughout the programme so not only will you be studying but you will graduate with 3 – 4 years work experience under your belt. Whilst a degree apprenticeship still does not guarantee you a job on completion, most companies will want to keep their apprentices as they have invested their time and money in training you to do the job how they want it done. But if they can not keep you on, you will certainly have a head start on all your friends graduating straight from university when it comes to applying for other jobs.
5. What suits you best?
Nobody ever said that getting a degree was easy – if it was then it wouldn’t have the value it has – but getting a degree via a degree apprenticeship can be doubly hard. You will be working 4 days a week full time and then often have to attend classes one day a week plus write essays and study evenings and weekends. You will have to think carefully about how it would suit you best to study. Do you have the drive and stamina to undertake a degree apprenticeship? Will it suit you best to focus entirely on studying?
The fact is, there are pros and cons to both routes to getting your degree. It will depend on your aspirations and your personality as to which will suit you best. Only you can decide, but at the end of both, you will still be highly employable and hold a Bachelors degree.