Experiences of anyone's DC going down the school leaver apprenticeship route instead of Uni. Regrets? Best thing ever?

(32 Posts)
SasherinSuite Mon 17-Apr-17 09:30:52

DS has been offered a Trainee Chartered Accountant role at one of the top 10 firms. He also has offers to do a Finance degree at Uni.

On the face of it it's a no brainer as he will be paid £20k pa and the firm pay all tuition fees for the ACA exams plus he gets day release to college. So in 4 years he will have his qualifications plus no student debt.

But......He won't have the Uni experience. No living away from home for the first time, having a social life with people his own age etc.

Any experiences?

OP’s posts: |
Gingersstuff Mon 17-Apr-17 09:32:48

It really is a no brainer. Good jobs are like gold dust and the uni experience isn't an essential part of life.

angeldiver Mon 17-Apr-17 09:38:09

All 4 of my nephews did apprenticeships and not one of them has any regret of 'missing out on university.
Whilst their friend's are scratting round for any job, they are all earning and still employed in their chosen fields.
3 of them used to travel to their uni mates for nights out, so they did see the student thing going on, it didn't make them wistful in any way.
I went to uni and we had apprentices attend. I was always envious that they did their education in 8 week blocks and got paid to go!!!
I know which one I'd choose.

dementedma Mon 17-Apr-17 09:39:45

take the apprenticeship. no brainer.
DS is only 15 but already talking of leaving school at 16 and getting an apprenticeship. I have no problems with it - older dds did uni.

SasherinSuite Mon 17-Apr-17 10:01:33

Great responses thanks smile

To be completely honest it's probably more me than him who's having the doubts (not that I would admit it to him). He has more or less made up his mind to do the apprenticeship.

I definitely don't want him to be saddled with a huge debt in 4 years but am sad that he won't have the Uni experience iyswim.

OP’s posts: |
Needmoresleep Mon 17-Apr-17 10:11:54

Once qualified and with a bit of experience under his belt he could always take a year or two out to do some sort of MBA type course if he hankers after a University experience.

Otherwise no-brainer.

Not everyone enjoys University in the way people assume they will.

sniffle12 Mon 17-Apr-17 10:23:09

I know lots of people on apprenticeships and trainee schemes and they certainly try their best to replicate the uni experience! The groups usually bond very strongly and socialise a lot, and this is encouraged by the employer as they're more likely to succeed if they're well supported and enjoying it.

I went to uni under old fees (£3000) and at my current rate, even with a good graduate job, will be paying my loans back until the 25 year expiry period. That's essentially 9% extra tax for my whole working life. If he has the opportunity to become a professional without taking on a penny of debt, he should definitely go for it.


Chillywhippet Mon 17-Apr-17 10:27:27

DD1 at uni. DD2 doing engineering apprenticeship on excellent scheme with world leader in their field.
DD2 isn't as well paid as your DS will be but is not running up any student debt. Has a generous pension which already has loads in. She's not that taken with the pension thing to be honest grin but her old parents are.

DD1 is really struck by the gap that will build up between their finances. DD1 will have £40 grand of debt by the end of her degree while DD2 will have earned more than that and have no debt.

The pluses of an apprenticeship include really high quality training in skills that make you highly employable. One of the apprentices DD is training with has a degree in engineering already but said he only touched an engine once.

There is a social life with the other apprentices. DD2 lives away from home in a shared house with some financial support from us which we don't mind as we would do it if she had gone to uni.

There are some downsides. DD2 actually has to work really hard. She is in her first year at a college full time. The days are long. She is doing a BTEC on Mondays and loads of other skills based stuff the rest of the week leading to several qualifications. She also has assignments to do in the evening. For the next 3 years she will be work based and having to study day release or in her spare time. It is not an easy option at all. She can finish her apprenticeship with HNC/HND and then top up to a degree if she wants but also with the other industry relevant skills.

DD1 has enjoyed uni but not the living in grotty houses, being cold, being poor etc. She has a long way to go to get fully qualified after her degree in a competitive field. I think if you love a subject that you would love to do a degree in then go for it. Otherwise apprenticeships can be fantastic, particularly in areas where you develop professional skills and qualifications such as accounting or engineering.

Imaginingdragonsagain Mon 17-Apr-17 10:27:51

I trained as a chartered accountant with a big 4 firm (after a degree). It won't be the same as uni life but from my experience, it was very sociable with lots of young people and lots of staying away with others on various courses. Like a professional extension of university.

OdinsLoveChild Mon 17-Apr-17 10:28:46

The university experience isn't worth the stress and expense. Having to get a job to pay for accommodation/food/drink on top of studying probably isn't the best way to get a qualification if you think about it.

Having a paid job that gives you the same qualifications and money to spend on nights out, board and lodgings is by far the way to start a career imo.

GRW Mon 17-Apr-17 10:53:40

My nephew did this 10 years ago and trained as a certified chartered accountant without going to university first. He is now earning a lot more than I do as a nurse, and he is the only one of his friends who has bought his own home. He has travelled too because his firm send him overseas on a regular basis. He has missed the experience of being at uni which I am sure he would have enjoyed, but it was definitely the right decision to take the accountancy apprenticeship.

doglover Mon 17-Apr-17 11:43:30

Are apprenticeships like these just in the maths/science/engineering sector? My dd is an 'English-y" type and really wouldn't suit the afore-mentioned subjects but is open to an apprenticeship in her area of expertise.

OdinsLoveChild Mon 17-Apr-17 11:51:35

doglover apprenticeships are availability in thousands of different work disciplines.

Have a look on the apprenticship.gov.uk website for a quick look at whats available. Dont put a specific subject in the search just use the location search. Some roles may not be what your dd was initially considering but she may like what theyre offering as a whole package.

doglover Mon 17-Apr-17 11:53:30

Excellent! Many thanks for the info.

Butteredparsnip1ps Mon 17-Apr-17 12:06:19

I agree it's a no brainier. DS did an apprenticeship, and the salary meant he could afford to run his own car and has a good social life. He has also been able to pursue a hobby he enjoys, so I don't feel that he has missed out on uni. Just that he has had different experiences.

My one caveat would be to check the firm out that is offering the experience. (I imagine not an issue if your DS's apprenticeship is with one of the magic circle). I say this because DS started with a small firm and was made redundant just before he had been their for 2 years. He did manage to get another job, and complete his qualification, but it was a very difficult time, and I'm aware that it could have been worse.

Cynically, I felt the firm had used DS and taken advantage of the gov scheme, then discarded him just before he had been there long enough to qualify for any employment rights. Overall my advice would be to check out the stability and financial accounts for small firms to avoid being in a similar position.

Allthebestnamesareused Mon 17-Apr-17 12:53:28

I'd say the apprenticeship if he was going to become an ACA after uni anyway. He will have a 3 year head start on the graduates coming in after uni , no debt and above all else EXPERIENCE.

Accountancy is one of the best apprenticeships that offers a level playing field for non-graduates/graduates. Tell him to go for it!

hellsbells99 Mon 17-Apr-17 16:00:11

I would say go for it but at the same time get your DS to contact his first choice university and ask if he can defer his start date until next year - don't mention the apprenticeship, just say he needs to earn some money before starting university. That way he is not closing any doors if he changes his mind.

SasherinSuite Mon 17-Apr-17 20:49:10

Thank you all for your experiences. It's been really good to hear all the positive views.

DS will most likely be living at home so no rent or bills to pay so is very excited at the thought of being able to save a decent amount every month as well as have spending money.

That's a good idea hellsbells, I think he had already considered doing this.

I'm starting to get quite excited for him. Just need to get through the A Levels now wink

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PeterHouseMD Tue 18-Apr-17 15:32:34

I'll be the one voice that differs on this thread.

Accountancy is one of the professions most threatened by automation and artificial intelligence in the coming ten years. Many accountancy roles will disappear in the next ten years.

While a Trainee Chartered Accountant position would have been a no-brainer ten years ago, I would be wary of recommending anyone to go down this route today. Those most likely to survive are those with advanced qualifications in finance and information systems and I would recommend anyone to consider this route instead.

corythatwas Tue 18-Apr-17 16:40:17

There is no chartered route of Experiences that everybody has to go through to have a valuable life: everybody lives their own life and if they are interesting people, then it will be an interesting life.

Out of myself + 3 siblings, 2 of us went the uni route and 2 didn't. We have ALL had interesting lives. Not leaving home to live at uni doesn't mean your ds can never leave home: he will just do so as an apprentice or employee instead.

Imo the only reason for going to uni is a) if you are genuinely interested in your studies or b) if your heart is set on a career that requires a degree. And I'm a university lecturer.

senua Tue 18-Apr-17 17:26:29

if your heart is set on a career that requires a degree.

That's the problem. So many jobs think that they "require" a degree.
DH is a Chartered Accountant and, after 30-odd years' working experience as a CA, he still sometimes gets turned down by recruiters because he hasn't got a degree. Despite the ICAEW qualification being equivalent to a Masters.
There are some recruiting numpties out there.

nona99 Tue 18-Apr-17 18:46:50

As another CA (Top firm trained) I would like to second PeterHouseMD's comment that 'Many accountancy roles will disappear in the next ten years.' for the reasons he stated - I would just say, take care and be aware.

SasherinSuite Wed 19-Apr-17 15:08:52

Thank you both Peter and nona for the alternative viewpoint. Which elements do you think are safest? Auditing, tax?

OP’s posts: |
senua Wed 19-Apr-17 16:26:06

"in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

Audit is a good development opportunity in the early years (you get to see, in detail, how a myriad of clients approach the same problem in a multitude of different ways) but deadly boring. However, it is part of the training contract is that you rotate around specialisms so he should get a bit of experience of everything, so he can find what suits him.

I think that the "many jobs will disappear" POV may be overstated. The basic functions of accounts may go by the wayside (like the backroom staff at banks now we / our computers do our own inputting) but the higher level jobs (which rely on judgement and experience) will still be there.
The Science of accountancy might shrink, but not the Art.

Kez100 Thu 20-Apr-17 20:17:19

I qualified as an ACA through a training contract and was a partner very young. I don't regret doing a degree at all. However, I've never really had an easy time. I've always been working really hard! I sort of wish I had for that reason but not now, given the cost.

Anyway, if he does do a degree and wants to be an ACA he will still have years of professional exams to do after graduation.

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