Full-time College or Apprenticeships. Which is right for me?

Blog: Full-time College or Apprenticeships – Which is Right for Me?

26 August 2020

Making decisions about the future is hard. As a 16-18-year-old, trying to decide what your next steps should be is even harder. You might feel worried about what happens if you don’t get it right or change your mind.

We get it.

Here we’ll try to outline the difference between attending College full-time and an apprenticeship.  (You can find out the difference between A-Levels and Technical Courses here).

What’s the Difference Between College and an Apprenticeship?

Many people think of apprenticeships, and apprentices, and automatically think of the construction trades, motor vehicle mechanics or hairdressing. Of course, apprenticeships are available in these industries. But lots of industries take on apprentices in roles including Business Administration, HR and recruitment. We’re also working hard to bring new apprenticeships in Animal Care and Sport – we’ll announce more details as soon as we can.

So, what is an apprenticeship? Apprenticeships are jobs with training. That means that you will be employed (and have all the rights that full-time employees have in regards to payment, holiday allowance etc) but will also combine training with your day-job. You will gain a nationally recognised apprenticeship at the end of your period of training, and following your end-point assessment, that evidences you have the knowledge, skills and behaviours to work competently in your chosen industry.

If you choose full-time study at College, you will spend a minimum of 12 hours each week in College in a mixture of theory and practical sessions. At the end of the course, you will gain a nationally recognised qualification in your chosen subject area.

Is It Hard to Get an Apprenticeship?

Getting an apprenticeship is competitive. They are a popular route to a career as many people see the value of combining a job with structured, formal training.

Securing an apprenticeship position with a company takes time and effort. To secure an apprenticeship you will first have to find a vacancy. You will need to complete an application, that normally means completing an application form, putting together a CV and composing a cover letter. Then there could be interviews with the training provider and the employer, as well as various tests you’ll need to complete to confirm your suitability for the apprenticeship.

The advice of our apprenticeship team is to always apply for a full-time course alongside your apprenticeship applications. That way, if you aren’t fortunate enough to secure an apprenticeship position you can still pursue your chosen occupation – gaining a qualification can provide the knowledge and skills needed to start an apprenticeship at a later date.

Can I Go to University If I Do an Apprenticeship?

Higher and degree apprenticeships are becoming increasingly popular, and are a great way to combine a job with training. And, like apprenticeships at all levels, your employer is responsible for paying the course fees so a higher or degree apprenticeship is a great way to gain university-level qualifications, without racking up student debt.

Some apprenticeships also have Level 3 qualifications integrated within the apprenticeship, meaning that as well as a nationally recognised apprenticeship that has been designed by industry, you also gain a nationally recognised qualification that may be accepted as meeting entry requirements for university.

What Looks Better on my CV – College or an Apprenticeship?

The answer to this question depends on what the employer looks for in a new recruit, as well as your own career aims and ambitions.

Over 90% of apprentices either retain employment or move on to further study at the end of their apprenticeship. If you’re looking for a role within the industry in which you’re qualified an apprenticeship might just give you the edge. Not only will you have the knowledge and skills required to do the job, but you’ll also have gained valuable soft-skills and behaviours that are important in the world of work.

However, that doesn’t mean that employers don’t value the CVs of individuals who have completed a full-time College course. And, at Dearne Valley College, we encourage students from all of our subjects to undertake work placements and work on live projects with our network of local employers.


Where Can I Get More Information About Technical Courses or Apprenticeships?

You can find information about our courses and apprenticeships on our website at www.dearne-coll.ac.uk

Or, if you’d like to speak to an advisor and understand more about your options you can give us a call on 01709 513355 or email learn@dearne-coll.ac.uk

We work in partnership with RNN Training to deliver an exciting range of apprenticeships.
You can view our current apprenticeship vacancies at www.rnntraining.co.uk/vacancies

Categories: Blog