Home DIY Why choose a practical trade over a university qualification?

Why choose a practical trade over a university qualification?


Thinking about university but don’t want to spend the earth on a three-year degree?

Today’s fees are £9,000 per year and that doesn’t even touch the total costs you will incur over the course – on average around £50,000.

There’s the money for your flat, your food, transport, textbooks, specific tools and going out… of course!

In light of the ever-increasing university fees, there has been a surge in the number of people taking up a practical trade where you can learn on the job and work your way up the ladder.

And with the government announcing plans to introduce T Levels as vocational qualification equivalents to A Levels, it looks like future choices for those reaching 16 are likely to be much more practical – T Levels, A levels, BTEC or an Apprenticeship.

Find out more on why you should consider a practical trade over a university degree:

Not stuck at home

And with the current global health crisis set to affect all aspects of life for years to come, the very fabric of university life is set to change dramatically.

Being packed into nightclubs into the small hours and sitting crammed into a lecture theatre will be things of the past.

Gone will be many overseas students who will instead opt to stay on home soil rather than risk travelling to foreign climes to hit the books.

Learning a trade means you can be out on the job learning practical skills in lots of different locations.

Still getting qualifications

Just because you don’t pick the university route doesn’t mean you can’t keep attaining.  The more qualifications you receive, the higher your earning potential.

If you decided to become an electrician, for example, there are still qualifications you’d need to achieve, such as the 18th Edition, to ensure all of your installations are deemed safe and meet the current British Standards 7671.

Be your own boss

Following these more practical paths to a rewarding career can see you progress to running your own company and having staff in a surprisingly short amount of time.

Research by the Sutton Trust found that someone with a level 5 higher apprenticeship, considered equivalent to a foundation degree, can expect to earn an average annual salary of £34,220 over their working life.

Earning faster

After you finish university you won’t be expected to pay back your student loan until you’re earning over £21,000 per year. But the interest is crippling and the amount you’ll owe will be so much more in the long run.

But from day one on an apprenticeship you could be earn cash as you learn. Working as a plumber’s mate, for example, will give you some pocket money to keep you going while you learn the skills.

Based on April 2020 figures, an apprentice wage (after completing your first year) should be:

  • Aged under 18: £4.55
  • Aged 18 to 20: £6.45
  • Aged 21 to 24: £8.20
  • Aged 25 and over: £8.72

Practical uses in own life

Learning how to maintain electrical wiring, fix appliances or install pipe systems could all be incredibly useful to you in your personal life, as well as earning you some cash!

You could learn enough skills to do up a house, sell it on and make a profit, or revamp your own family home, saving tonnes of cash on hiring other workmen to do it for you.


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