7 Reasons to Consider a Higher Apprenticeship after A-levels
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7 Reasons to Consider a Higher Apprenticeship after A-levels
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UPDATE - AUGUST 2019: Since this blog was published there might be another good reason to consider a higher level apprenticeship. The latest research shows that degree apprenticeship pay is rising quicker than graduate pay. On average, the starting wage for higher level apprenticeships has increased 12% over the past year from £16,000 to £17,875, while pay for graduate roles has increased by just 1.25% from £27,654 to £28,000, meaning you may want to choose this route rather than a traditional degree course. You can read more about this here:

Of course, if you are still looking at which path to take to further your studies or wondering if you are on the wrong track and not sure how to change your route, you might also find some useful information here:

How to decide if an apprenticeship is right for you

Students are you headed down the wrong career path


An apprenticeship is a combination of working and learning to gain qualifications. Higher apprenticeships (level 4 and above) are designed for applicants who want to achieve a higher education qualification but prefer to get straight into work rather than search for work only after they have completed a university degree. Applicants typically need a pass in two A-levels and five A-C GCSE grades in order to apply for a higher apprenticeship.


What are the advantages of higher

  1. Higher apprenticeships are designed for young
    people who have done A Levels and want to go directly into employment while, at
    the same time, studying for a qualification. Apprentices work a minimum of a
    30-hour week and study in their spare time and can achieve a range of
    qualifications up to the equivalent of a Masters degree (see above). 
  2. The government has passed legislation which
    states that 0.5% of all salary bills above £3m must be spent on training (or
    handed over to the treasury), a policy which specifically targets the UK’s
    largest employers and top companies. As a result there has been an increase in
    the number of higher apprenticeships of 37% in 2015/16 to 27,160 (Source: The
    Times 25/01/17). Some of the biggest apprentice recruiters are organisations
    like the Civil Service, the Big Four accountancy firms (PWC, KPMG, Deloitte,
    EY) BAE Systems and banks like Barclays, Lloyds and others. Search for the
    Times Guide to Higher & Degree
    Apprenticeships’ for a list of the biggest employers. 31% of graduates considered not to be doing
    graduate level jobs
  3. One of the biggest appeals of higher apprenticeships
    is that the employer (or the Government) will foot the bill for the
    apprentice’s education. The apprentice may have the benefit of a higher level
    qualification but without the £27,000 price tag. On the other hand, the
    apprentice may miss out on the student experience itself which is highly valued
    by many.
  4. In addition the apprentice is paid for the work
    that they do, with many of the top recruiters offering starting salaries in the
    region of £15,000, with some salaries upwards of £20,000, especially in the
    professional services and the civil service sectors.
  5. Apprenticeships are seen as a reasonably low
    risk route to a permanent position with the company, providing some level of job
    security which is sorely lacking in the graduate market, with 31% of graduates considered
    not to be doing graduate level jobs (Source: Department of Business and
    Innovation, April 2016).  If the
    applicant chooses to move employer at the end of their apprenticeship, they are
    also at a possible competitive advantage to other applicants as 79% Employers value experience
    above all else, according to a survey by the British Chamber of Commerce.
  6. The apprentice route may also offer you access
    to industries that are either very competitive or hard to enter by the traditional
    university route, like the tech industry. Developments in this sector occur so
    fast that no degree can keep up with the pace. It is estimated that 1 million digitally skilled
    workers will be required in the UK by 2020 and currently there is a
    serious skills shortage, pushing up demand for candidates with experience. Similarly
    sectors such as finance, law and engineering offer great opportunities for
    higher apprenticeships. Visit

    for information on all the options available to you.
  7. Many people find themselves doing any degree
    because they feel that this is expected of them. If you are not genuinely interested
    in studying, university may not be your only option. Students often expect that
    a degree is a pre-requisite or some kind of guarantee of a job. Increasingly it
    happens that this is not the case.

only you can decide which route is best for you. There are some strong
arguments which favour the apprentice route but many students will say that the
socialisation aspects and the academic challenges a high quality academic
education offers are irreplaceable.

addition, going down the apprenticeship route rests on the premise that you
make your career choice while you are still at sixth form. Most people do not
have sufficient self-awareness at this age to make a decision about their
future career. If you are struggling to understand what should be your next
step after school or which career is right for you,  give one of our career consultants us a call
on 0207 424 9401 and check out our
is designed specifically with you in mind.


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