University College London: Young people with a level 5 apprenticeship qualification may be able to match or better the earning power of a university graduate

Apprentices who gain a level 5 qualification can earn up to £50,000 more than those who choose to go to university. Figures compiled by the Boston Reporting Group and analysed by the Sutton Trust, found exceptional apprentices can earn up to £1.5 million over the course of their careers, soundly beating the typical graduate from a non-Russell Group Institution.

Despite these results, most young people do not view apprenticeships as being on a equal footing with degrees. In a recent ComRes poll 80% of potential students surveyed said that they thought a university degree would be better for their long term career prospects, despite the increasing cost of further education.

“Today’s report shows that the best apprenticeships offer similar financial security as an undergraduate degree,” commented Sir Peter Lampl chairman of the Sutton Trust.

“Although the government’s target for apprenticeships by 2020 is three million, we’ve only had 30,000 higher apprenticeships in the last two years. We need more good apprenticeships to offer genuine alternatives to A-levels and degrees. We also need to tackle the ingrained negative culture of apprenticeships that exists amongst teachers, parents and young people alike,” the chairman continued.

The trust believes that the government, if it is serious about its aim to create three million apprenticeships by 2020, will have to raise more awareness of the benefits of apprenticeships and reform the qualification system.

In response to the rising popularity of apprentice schemes Symposium Events will hold an Apprentices and School Leavers Conference later this year. The event will consider the best ways to attract the brightest talent, from schools and colleges, to apprenticeship programmes. The event will also offer a guide on how to set up and run apprenticeships.

Further details can be found here:






Robert joined the HRreview editorial team in October 2015. After graduating from the University of Salford in 2009 with a BA in Politics, Robert has spent several years working in print and online journalism in Manchester and London. In the past he has been part of editorial teams at Flux Magazine, Mondo*Arc Magazine and The Marine Professional.