Apprenticeship vs A levels

As we approach the end of the GCSE exam season and students all across the UK are coming up to the time where they have to choose whether they would like to continue full-time education with A levels or BTEC courses or to go onto something a bit different, like an apprenticeship. There is no ‘right’ option, each person is individual and will have a route that is better suited to them and their future.

If you’re struggling to make a decision then take a look at our ‘things to consider’ list below.

Apprenticeships aren’t for the academic

Apprenticeships are most definitely not for those who ‘don’t have the grades’. Most apprenticeships are very challenging and require hardworking and driven individuals. With the new apprenticeship standards coming into place, apprenticeship schemes are much more personalised to each individual role and require a high level of determination in order to achieve a high grade.

Apprenticeship standards are different because unlike frameworks, apprentices now have to complete an end point assessment which are graded pass, merit or distinction.

Essentially, an apprenticeship is college mixed with a wage and hands-on work experience.

Route to University/Degrees

A levels are most commonly seen as the ‘only route’ to getting a degree but this is where you are wrong! Apprenticeships are a great way of gaining access to study higher qualifications or to go to university.


The money you earn from an apprenticeship should be taken into consideration. Although the national minimum apprenticeship wage is slightly lower than the minimum wage for 16-17 year olds, you will be working full time meaning your overall earnings would be a lot more!

If you carry onto college or sixth form and have a part time job, it is likely that you will have to give up your evenings and weekends.

The minimum earning of a full-time apprentice is £105 per week! Although the majority of our apprentices earn a lot more than this (around £187.50 per week).

Career aspirations

By the time your friends are leaving college or sixth form with their A levels/BTEC qualifications, they will lack the work experience that you have gained whilst doing an apprenticeship! Apprenticeships will give you a more tailored qualification as well as work experience, giving you an advantage.

College is a great way of learning the theory of subjects and preparing for university or to study higher qualifications, but it misses out the crucial part of gaining experience in the working world. Some imparticular careers are only accessible by studying a degree and most of these degrees require A levels to get into them meaning that sadly, an apprenticeship is not an option.

There is no ‘better’ option

As said above, there is no right or wrong option when it comes to choosing whether you should do an apprenticeship or go on to study A-levels at sixth form/college. Every individual will have a different career path set in mind and will have a different route they want to go down to achieve their aspirations.

If you would like some extra information regarding apprenticeships or what you should do next then contact us! If you would like to speak to one of our team, give us a call on 01423 740006 or press the live chat feature!