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Apprenticeship VS Vocational Course: Which One is for You?

two workpays staff talking whilst sitting at a table

So, you find yourself at the crossroads of choosing an apprenticeship or studying for a qualification without hands-on experience. Which is best? Well, there is no straight answer to this question. Both of these educational options are great choices! However, you can quickly figure out your choice based on who you are as a person.

Firstly - What’s the difference?

Let’s take a quick whistle-stop tour! An apprenticeship is a job with training - as the famous saying goes, ‘earn while you learn’. You will be employed whilst visiting a training provider usually one day a week to complete your end-point assessments. If you choose to solely gain your qualification at a training provider, you will mainly focus on theory with some practical sessions involved.

Theoretical VS Practical

The first way to decipher which route to choose is to determine whether you are a theoretical or practical person. Do you find yourself wanting to bury your head in books and research ideas on the computer? Or, do you prefer getting hands-on and learning by doing? This is the core difference between an apprenticeship and a theory-based qualification. In an apprenticeship, you get to learn from carrying out tasks that are related to your chosen profession, as you will be working within a business whilst studying one day a week. If you don’t feel ready to step into the workplace and prefer to study and sit exams, then a full-time or part-time course is right up your street.

Team Project or Independent Study?

When you have to work on a team study project, are you excited or do you think ‘I wish I could just do my own thing!’. Team projects are great, but often you can’t go with your own flow as there are other people's ideas to consider. On an apprenticeship, most days will see you surrounded by a team, completing tasks together, and going out on jobs together depending on your sector. For some people this is great and for others not so much. Either way, there is no right or wrong answer! If you like to go to the library or a coffee shop to settle down and study, then maybe a full or part-time may be more suitable. In all fairness, who doesn’t love a trip to Starbucks?!

Office-based or On-site?

What career are you looking to get into? Business, Construction, Childcare? All career paths have varying degrees of practicality involved, and this may help with your decision. For example, many roles in the business sector enjoy hybrid working, whereas careers in construction are hands-on every day. For some, the thought of working from home all day may be their worst nightmare. You may love the idea of being at work every day and getting stuck in on practical tasks. For others, getting through tasks on the computer all day and communicating virtually is the best way to keep them productive. Whichever you prefer, relate this back to your decision, and it will make it easier.

So, have you decided? Don’t worry if not! It is a big decision to make and can determine the next few years of your life. If you need more support on your choice, our team is on hand to help.


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