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Apprentices can earn 270% more than graduates - does this change their future?

It’s time to stop judging apprenticeships and realise their lifelong potential.

Safeera Sarjoo
03rd October 2016
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A study done by Barclays and the Centre for Economics and Business Research has revealed that apprentices in the UK earn £117,600 more over their lifetime compared to those with A levels. Surprisingly, graduates earn just £2,200 more over apprentices which is a 1.8% premium.

However with increasing university fees, you can expect this gap to diminish entirely.

Even more interesting is the fact that apprentices within certain sectors can expect their lifetime earnings to outstrip graduates. Apprentices in the arts, media and publishing stand to earn more than their graduate counterparts by up to 270%.

Mike Thompson, Head of Apprentices for Barclays, said: "The figures released today shows quantifiably for the first time that apprentices are getting a 'hidden pay cheque' through earning while working, that is comparable or in some cases higher than university graduates. 

"This bonus means they can fast-track themselves to home or car ownership - as well as through their careers without worrying about long-term student debt."

Those who have previously doubted the legitimacy of apprenticeships and the prospects they can offer will no doubt have food for thought given the attitudes towards them.

This news should serve as an eye opener that apprenticeships are not just for those wanting to work in the manual industries. You can now forge a career within the arts, media and even law through an apprenticeship programme.

The study also reports that after the arts, publishing and media, apprentices in agriculture, horticulture and animal care were likely to outstrip their graduate counterparts.

In a way this is a positive development as it acts as a motivator to people who are interested in pursuing a career in these sectors. The truth is, we need people in these areas to ensure their longevity and grow opportunities.

Even more important than that though is the fact that this study has been significant in showing people that we shouldn’t pigeonhole apprenticeships.

‘Today, apprenticeships are available in a huge range of sectors and levels and are open to everyone, regardless of age, social background or qualifications and are fast becoming one of the most worthwhile career paths allowing people to earn and learn at the same time,’ Thompson added.

Slowly but surely opportunities are opening up. The fact that apprentices can expect to out-earn graduates over the course of their life time may mean a growth in interest or uptake in these opportunities.

The report also revealed that those taking apprenticeships in languages, literature and culture could earn an average of 29% more than someone with a university degree across their career.

 Thompson also said: ‘With increased tuition fees driving up the cost of university and putting it out of reach to some, we forecast that apprenticeships, particularly Degree Apprenticeships, will become increasingly more important to the UK economy, and predict exponential growth in their uptake in the near future.’


Read more about Pearson College London who unveiled their first Degree Apprenticeship in collaboration with some major businesses.

If this news has inspired you to find out more about apprenticeships, then why not start your search here?

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