Why I Chose An Apprenticeship Over University

Hi guys, it’s been a while since I last posted on here – and that is because I’ve been insanely busy these last few weeks finishing my apprenticeship. So I thought now would be the perfect time to get to work on this idea of a 3-part ‘Apprenticeship Series’ here on my blog. In this series I want to talk all about apprenticeships, exposing the good, the bad and the ugly, with the aim to help anyone who may be thinking about starting one.

So to kick off this series, this post is going to explain why I initially chose to do an apprenticeship instead of going to university.

Firstly, let me start by saying, I did apply for University – I went through the whole Ucas process, looked around a number of unis, got offers from my choices… and then decided to quit the process altogether.  At that point I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, but I knew that I loved social media and the online world in general, so I started looking into entry level jobs in this field of work. While searching, I came across a few companies that run social media and digital marketing apprenticeships, so I applied, and the rest is history!

When I tell people that I’m an apprentice, the one question I always get asked is:

So why didn’t you go to university?

There are multiple reasons, so please hear me out…

1) I don’t like the sound of crippling debt

As most of you will know, going to university in the UK is RIDICULOUSLY EXPENSIVE!
If you have a clear vision of what you are going to do with your degree, then yes, it’s probably worth the money. But if you are going to university ‘for the experience’ – why on Earth would you put yourself in £30,000+ worth of debt, for that? I’ve spoken to multiple people who are in their 40’s and are STILL paying back their student loan, which just seems like a nightmare to me. Of course this is only my opinion, and if you think the university experience is worth that amount of money, then who am I to say otherwise?!

2) You don’t need a degree for marketing

Once I started looking into digital marketing careers, I quickly realised that although employers may sometimes like you to have a degree,  it is by no means a requirement, and industry experience is just as valuable (if not more valuable). I have actually had marketing managers say to me that they prefer industry experience over a degree any day. Obviously a lot of jobs require a degree, and that’s good, but marketing doesn’t usually fall into that category.

3) I wanted to get out into the ‘real world’

This may be a controversial point, but I feel that university students are kind of in this university bubble, which doesn’t always reflect what it’s like to live and work in the real world. In the real world, you can’t go out on mid-week pub crawls, and you can’t just not turn up to work, and you don’t have the reassurance of a student loan coming in every few months. Yes, you could argue that most uni students have moved out and are fending for themselves, but they usually have the university to fall back on if they are in real need of aid – which you definitely don’t have in real life.

4) Money motivation

I am not ashamed to say that I am highly motivated by money. Why should I be ashamed? Why should I not want to create a good life for myself? Of course, money cannot buy happiness… but I’d rather cry in a Maserati… no I’m kidding – but no one can deny that in this day and age, money is a constant worry. So the idea of an apprenticeship,  i.e. earning while learning, sounded perfect for me. This means I get to go out and do fun things without being on a super restricted budget, and without any debts trailing behind me. Don’t get me wrong, apprenticeship wages are not great (I’ll go into this more in my next post)… but it’s better than nothing!

5) I couldn’t walk away from my responsibilities at home

For me, it isn’t as simple as just packing up and leaving – there are other serious factors I need to take into consideration. The main one being my horse Gismo (who I’ve talked about in previous posts), and it may seem strange to some people, but he is a huge responsibility of mine that I can’t just walk away from, and to be honest I wouldn’t want to – where I go, he goes!

When people ask me the dreaded university question, obviously I don’t go into all of this detail – I usually say something along the lines of ‘it just didn’t feel right for me’. But I wanted to get my thoughts out there, so thank you if you’ve made it this far!

I also want to say that I am in no way anti-university.

For many people, including most of my friends, going to university was the best option for them, and they are having the best time of their lives. However, not going is simply what worked for me, and maybe this post could help a few others who are in a similar situation.

But whether you are at university, doing an apprenticeship, working, or something else – if you enjoy what you’re doing and you are happy, that’s the main thing!

P.S. – If you have any questions regarding the apprenticeship application process, (because I didn’t know anything about it when I applied) then feel free to email me at ellarubyblog@gmail.com, as I’d love to help you out!

P.S.S. – Stay tuned for the second installment, where I’ll be chatting about what life as a marketing apprentice is really like!

3 thoughts on “Why I Chose An Apprenticeship Over University

  1. Pingback: What They Don’t Tell You About Apprenticeships | Ella Ruby

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