Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Practice beats theory – small and medium businesses value apprenticeships over degrees


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Recent university graduates have to face the fact that their degrees don’t land as many job opportunities with potential employers as they used to. Read on to find out what the reasons are behind this downturn in the value of university qualifications.

Practice outweighs theory

According to research by Sandler Training, employers, predominantly small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) have become more focused on the practical skills a potential new employee can bring to the table. This is purely because practical skills immediately deliver more tangible effects on a business.

The research also revealed university graduates are slightly less likely to be hired than those who have chosen the apprenticeship route.  Although the difference is marginal at present (51% vs. 49% in favour of apprentices), based on the responses of the surveyed SME’s, there’s an expected 20% rise in the hiring of apprentices over the next five years. At the same time, there’s only a mere 7% expected increase in the numbers of graduates hired.

What do students think?

Toni Pearce, NUS president, recently said: “An NUS poll of over 1,000 graduates found over half of them believing that ‘gaining experience’ is the main barrier to securing a job.”

A different poll by Ipsos MORI also revealed that youngsters in the UK think degree-level apprenticeships are better for future careers prospects than a traditional university degree. However, despite the growing popularity of vocational training paths, the majority of parents (56%) are more likely to encourage their children to take on a degree over an apprenticeship.


Do you want to avoid being rejected for having no work experience? Get hands-on with an IT apprenticeship and you’ll learn crucial skills, while you also earn money. Watch the following video by the National Apprenticeship Service to get a better idea of what you can achieve as an IT apprentice.



Apply now and kick-start your career

If you’re committed and not afraid to “get your hands dirty” we have tons of great opportunities for you. Visit Firebrand Apprenticeships to find out more about our programmes and the qualification you will get whilst working a paid, full-time role.

What Firebrand Apprentices said

  • “Loved it! Don’t want to leave. Enjoyed all of it, learned some great things.” – Timothy Rabson
  • “I feel that this has started to become the most rewarding educational experience I have had...The instructor makes lessons interesting, treats us like adults and respects us.” – Elizabeth MacKenzie
Learn more about Firebrand Apprenticeships and apply now.

About the Author:       
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry.