Apprentices “can earn more” than university graduates

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Taking a higher apprenticeship offers people the chance to earn more money than going to many universities, a survey has found.

According to a study published by the Sutton Trust, youngsters who start their working lives with a Level 5 higher apprenticeship will bank £1.44 million over the course of their careers.

That is around £50,000 more than someone who graduates from a non-Russell Group university, who earns £1.39 million, the survey from the think-tank suggests.

The research also took the cost of going to university into account, as well as the high levels of debt many students end up with and the fact that apprentices have the opportunity to earn while they learn.

Calls are now being made to change the public perception of on-the-job training schemes so that they have the same status as degrees.

In a poll published as part of the study, 80% of young people thought that going to university was the best route to a lucrative career.

But Sir Peter Lampl, chairman of the Sutton Trust, said that taking an apprenticeship can also lead to success.

Writing in the foreword to the report, Mr Lampl said: “If undergraduate degrees are seen as a gold standard, these vocational qualifications are too often seen as ‘second best’, or a ‘fall back option’.

“But some of the UK’s most famous and successful entrepreneurs were formerly apprentices.

“Success can come through apprenticeships, but work is needed to boost their quantity and quality and change their public perception.”

Around 10,000 people sign up to higher apprenticeships every year, giving trainees the chance to take home a wage while building up practical experience in all kinds of industries, including construction.

The Government is committed to delivering three million extra apprenticeships by 2020, as well as increasing the number of higher apprenticeships on offer.

Steve Radley, Director of Policy and Strategic Planning at CITB said: “With over 220,000 new construction jobs being created in the UK over the next five years, there are a huge range of opportunities for young people in construction.

“A construction apprenticeship, whether at an intermediate, advanced or higher level, offers the opportunity to earn a wage while you learn, by combining study with practical work experience. It offers the next generation a foot in the door and a rung up the ladder in construction.”