Considering your options after GCSEs or A-Levels? Heard about apprenticeships, or degree apprenticeships, but not sure if it’s the right path for you?

An apprenticeship is a chance to continue earning while learning; as an apprentice, you’ll split your time between working for an employer and studying towards nationally-recognised qualifications. Each scheme is specifically designed to prepare you for that particular role, in that particular sector.

Here are three key reasons why an apprenticeship could fit your career goals:

1. You already know what career you want to pursue

University is an excellent chance to figure out what you actually want to do, whilst studying a subject you have a genuine interest in.

However, it’s worth keeping your options open as the path chosen needs to be the right one for you. There are now high-quality apprenticeships available in around 15,000 different job roles, across 170 industries including banking, engineering and law, so if you already know what career you want to pursue, it’s worth exploring all options available to you within your chosen field.

2. You’re fed up with only learning within a classroom

Keen to swap textbooks for the workplace? Do you prefer a more hands-on approach to learning?

As an apprentice, or degree apprentice, you’ll work on real projects that have a real impact on the world. You’ll need to hit the ground running - working for an employer is very different to getting your homework in on time - but an apprenticeship is a brilliant opportunity to gain the skills you need to succeed in your chosen career.

Before you jump ship, bear in mind that you’ll spend at least 20% of your time as an apprentice in off-the-job training, so you’ll be learning academic theory in the classroom, whilst putting the theory into practice in the workplace. Depending on the scheme, this typically includes working towards industry-relevant qualifications. So don’t throw your pencil case away just yet.

3. You want to be financially independent

You’ll be paid a salary from day one and entitled to employee perks such as paid holiday time and pension contributions. The National Minimum Wage for an apprentice is £3.90 an hour. However, lots of employers pay their apprentices more, with those in banking and finance offering an average salary of £20,218.

And if you want a degree but don’t want to take out a student loan, you can even do a degree apprenticeship, where you’ll study for a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree alongside working full-time for an employer. With the government and your employer co-funding the tuition fees, you’ll pay absolutely nothing for your degree.

So, is an apprenticeship right for you?

At the end of the day, only you can decide which path to take.

But if we’ve sparked your curiosity, start by thinking long and hard about whether you’re really ready for the workplace. Do your research, talk to people who have done an apprenticeship or degree apprenticeship themselves, and get work experience in your chosen field to test the waters, before making any decisions.

For further advice, have a read of’s blog.

Written by Louise from RateMyApprenticeship