Want to do an apprenticeship instead of uni? Here's what to tell your parents...

What to tell your parents about the value of an apprenticeship - parents wield huge influence on teenagers' career choices.

If they are pro uni and anti apprenticeship, what do you need to tell them to win them around?

“I didn’t have much trouble convincing my parents,” says Buzz Carter, 22, who took a digital apprenticeship at 17 – he now heads a department at digital marketing agency Bulldog. “I pointed that I would be earning money now and have a four-year head start in my career.”

But many parents don’t think an apprenticeship is “good” enough for their own child – how can you convince them it’s right for you?

Apprenticeships have been overhauled, modernised. Training is better quality and must be government approved. If you want to check out an employer, find out how many apprentices train and stay on after completion. Nearly nine out of ten apprentices say they’re satisfied with their scheme overall.

Nearly nine out of ten apprentices say they’re satisfied with their scheme overall.

Apprenticeship aren’t just for manual work. They’re offered in some 1500 occupations across 170 industries – they’re simply a different route into skilled employment and a viable alternative to university. A degree apprenticeship gives you just that – a bachelor’s or even a master’s degree (without the fees). You can start at a lower level and progress through the levels in many cases.

Pay isn’t always great early on – in their first year apprentices receive the (16 to 18) minimum wage of £3.90 per hour (as from April 2019), but with regular rises. But many larger employers pay more, and this will rise year on year. Industry designed degree apprenticeships might start at £17,000 a year.

“My mum was worried about me going straight into full time work,” says Ellie Keon who opted for a PR apprenticeship over uni. “But loads of companies provide networking events, I can visit friends at uni, and my employer has social event outside of work, which is nice.”

Over the longer term, earnings don’t differ dramatically from those of university graduates. Top apprentices can expect to earn thousands of pounds more over their careers than graduates of non-Russell Group universities (source: The Sutton Trust).

But, students from top universities earn the most – with estimated lifetime earnings of £1.6 million, above the estimated £1.5 million higher level (5 and above) apprentices will earn.

Students from top universities earn the most – with estimated lifetime earnings of £1.6 million, above the estimated £1.5 million higher level (5 and above) apprentices will earn.

Other employers will welcome your experience too. More than 90 per cent of apprentices stay in employment at the end of the course, two thirds with the same employer. And companies say former apprentices are 15 per cent more employable than those with different qualifications.

We worked with Awarding Organisation NOCN to produce a fabulous special report all about apprenticeships - view the digital edition