One of the biggest debates in the Australian education sector is whether it is better to go to university or do an apprenticeship / traineeship. We understand that it is a big decision to make and that it can be quite confusing. That’s why we are here to help you understand the difference between the two so that you can make an informed decision.
For the longest time, university has been the path chosen by many school-leavers and rightfully so. It has been embedded into our heads from a young age by parents and teachers that the only option after finishing Year 12 is going to university. However, apprenticeships undertaken through Vocational Education Training (VET) is becoming a popular option among Australian students due to rising costs of a university degree.
To understand the main differences between going to university and doing an apprenticeship, continue reading.
University involves theoretical learning so it is definitely the better option when it comes to fields such as medicine or law. At university, students are taught in the form of lectures and assessed through assignments and exams. On the other hand, vocational qualifications have a practical approach to learning. An apprenticeship involves formal training undertaken with a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) and on-the-job training.
University provides a broader set of knowledge where you are taught the key skills required for your chosen field but also the theory behind concepts. One downside to university knowledge is that it is outdated and doesn’t actively keep up with the rate of progress of industries. In industries such as IT and Digital Technology, the rate of progress in the industry is so fast that by the time you graduate from university, the knowledge would have become superseded.
Vocational education training provides more specific set of skills compared to university. Since apprenticeships involve on-the-job industry training, your will acquire skills that evolve with industry progression so you never need to worry about having outdated knowledge.
University qualifications are undoubtedly more expensive than vocational education qualifications. If you choose to go to university, chances are you will incur student debt that you will be paying off once you start earning.
On the other hand, apprenticeships/ traineeships are far cheaper in comparison. Furthermore, there are a number of government funding options available for eligible students. The year 2020 is also a great time to commence an apprenticeship as the McGowan Labour Government recently announced the ‘Lower Fees, Local Skills’ policy where selected vocational training qualifications have been reduced by 50% from 1 January 2020 through to 31 December 2021 making training more adorable for thousands of local students.
When you pursue a university qualification, you wouldn’t earn until after completing your degree. That’s why most university students are broke during their student days. Since apprenticeships give students the opportunity to earn while they study through paid on-the-job training.
WHY AN APPRENTICESHIP IS BETTER FOR YOU
The benefits of an apprenticeship are endless. Here are some reasons why you should consider an apprenticeship over a university degree.
You earn while you learn
- Unlike university studies where you don’t get paid to learn, an apprenticeship will pay you to study and work.
You get real experience
- You will gain valuable work experience and be exposed to different working environments. Furthermore, you will be taught by and work alongside tradespeople who are up to date on the latest skills and techniques.
You are nationally recognized
- When you finish your apprenticeship, you will receive a nationally recognized qualification that is honored anywhere in Australia and open doors for you.
Complete training at your own pace
- Apprenticeships can be completed full-time or part-time. Training is competency-based so, you can complete your training faster if you reach the required skill level faster.
You can start while still in school
A school-based apprenticeship will give you a head start on future training before you even graduate. Completing Year 12 will not only make you attractive to employers but also increase your job opportunity.