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9 Reasons why apprenticeships are better than university degrees

Finding a career that makes you happy should be the priority right? However, all too often it is academic ability that tends to dictate a person’s career path, especially when leaving school and deciding your next move. Do you go onto university, enter the workforce or undertake a qualification like an apprenticeship?  We believe many paths can lead to career happiness and it’s time to debunk the myth that university is the only road to high wages and success.

To be clear, we are not saying don’t go to university (for many it’s a great choice) but we are saying it’s time to consider all options. When it comes to choosing your career path to happiness, it shouldn’t matter what anyone else thinks or expects. We believe opportunity, interest and desire should be your driving factor when making a career choice, not just your academic ability and what others expect of you.

A prime example of someone who took the trade route and succeeded is Canberra’s Nick Georgalis, founder and sole owner of GEOCON a major builder of stylish inner-city apartments and owner of the Abode hotels. Nick completed a Diploma of Construction Management and from there catapulted to be on BRW’s young rich list with an estimated wealth of $72m!  Here are some other apprentices who have made it big, their own way.

Here are our top reasons why an apprenticeship or traineeship can be just as good, if not better, than pursuing a university degree:

  1. You get to earn money while you are learning on the job. Sure, it’s not a lot during your apprenticeship years but it sure beats having to get a part time job while you are learning, like most of your university friends will.
  2. Less or no debt for your qualification. While your university friends will come out with a debt on average of $30k, your apprenticeship or traineeship fees are way less and can even be fully subsidised. You may also be eligible for Trade Support Loans of up to $21,078 to help cover your living and other costs while undertaking your apprenticeship;
  3. You’re already in the workforce, gaining work place skills, references and valuable industry contacts. It is likely that once you finish your qualification, your work will continue with your employer. Unlike your university friends who, depending on their degree, are likely to spend years finding work in their field;
  4. In addition to the skills for your trade or qualification, you are also learning what employers expect from their employees in a work place environment (workplace etiquette).
  5. If you are someone who learns better by visually being shown and then by doing (practice) – you will thrive in an apprenticeship or traineeship environment.
  6. Earn just as much or more money than your university friends. You’ve heard the term ‘cashed-up tradies’ – well, it’s true!  A lot of tradies earn very decent money!
  7. More job security, particularly as many trade jobs are currently experiencing skills shortages. The same cannot be said for your university graduate friends and depending on their degree, they may be competing with thousands of other graduates just to gain an entry-level position.
  8. With a VET qualification you have the potential to transfer easily to another trade role or even gain entry into university if you wanted to learn further – e.g. an electrical apprentice graduate may gain access into electrical engineering at university, if they have the desire to.
  9. Become your own boss sooner! You are not only learning a trade you are involved in the industry, making valuable contacts and therefore have the potential to start your own business sooner.

So while you’re considering your next step after school, it may be time to consider apprenticeships and traineeships as a viable career path!

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