The days of degree or bust are long gone. There are alternative ways into the workforce these days. Absolutely I would say to my own kids to consider them.” The words of a successful business person who never went to uni? Motivation from an educator encouraging their charges to look at all routes post-school? Maybe the musings of a celebrity parent whose children are nearing the flying-the-nest stage?
Nope. This was the government’s Higher Education Minister, Jo Johnson, speaking back in July 2017. He went on: “They (apprenticeships) are valued by employers and we want to make sure they have the same esteem in society the classic honours degree has had.” Blimey! Note, too, that Mr Johnson’s special remit is UK universities.
No doubt we can partly attribute the minister’s comments to the government’s strategy to push apprenticeships and vocational training, which is backed up by a very large chunk of funding and its launch of the Apprenticeship Levy. Nonetheless, these are encouraging words for those of us on the ‘Not Going to Uni’ side of the fence and we are happy to publicise them here on our blog.
Last week (October 23rd 2017) the Daily Mail ventured into the vexed question of Apprenticeship vs Degree with a classic tabloid piece designed to provoke and stimulate. Check out the Headline:
It seemed to work; as we write today the article has had over 8,500 shares and generated 2,000+ comments. But beyond the sensationalist headline, and the fair criticism made by some of the commenters that maybe the journalist was comparing apples and oranges, there are some very interesting facts within the article that cannot be ignored. Let’s list some of them out:
This last fact is important, because when taken in aggregate, figures do show that graduates will earn more over a lifetime than non-graduates. Graduates may start behind, but their pay levels do eventually catch up and then overtake non-grads, and this is one of the key points used by those arguing in defence of the university route.
However, even on this point the picture is mixed. Below we will list out some stats and facts taken from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and other sources and you can decide where the truth lays:
Where you study counts too: Law degree from the LSE? After 5 years median earnings were £26,000 p.a., Law degree from University of Bradford? £12,000 p.a.
Overall then, the apprenticeship vs degree debate can be argued strongly from both sides. In this blog we have concentrated on the pay and earnings angle but there are non material considerations as well. The key, surely, is that success can be achieved by both routes but depends very much on the choices you make and the effort you put in. And for some, perhaps a little bit of luck as well. Although as the famous golfer Gary Player once observed: “The more I practice, the luckier I get.” We’ll take that quote as another vote for the vocational route.
Credit to: https://www.notgoingtouni.co.uk/blog/apprenticeship-vs-degree-which-route-for-success-1943