We all have different learning styles. Some people are naturally more drawn to book learning and the academic life, while others might prefer a more hands-on and practical way of learning new skills. If you fit in the latter category, then college and university may not look very appealing. An apprenticeship might, therefore, be a better option for you.
Apprenticeships are a great deep-dive into a trade or craft. They give you practical experience working with someone who is already highly skilled at what they do, and they're often structured so that you really get to grips with every aspect of the job.
They also provide you with an opportunity to 'earn while you learn'. Employers are obliged to pay you at least the National Minimum Wage, but many will top this up, particularly if you prove yourself hard-working and eager to go the extra mile. There's the added advantage that you're not starting your working life with a student debt to pay off, you've actually got some money already in the bank.
If you choose wisely, many apprenticeships will lead to an industry-recognised qualification, which instantly boosts your career prospects. Future employers like to see you've put in the effort, gained the skills and are taking your work seriously from an early age.
The university path certainly isn't right for everyone, and there's no shame in saying it's not what you want even if your friends are going. There are plenty of apprenticeship options out there. If you know what you want to do in life, why hang around? Bypass university and get yourself onto a training programme.
You gain practical, hands-on experience
You get to earn whilst learning your trade or craft
You may get an industry-approved qualification
If you already know what you want from a career, bypass university