“My child wants to do an Apprenticeship and I want them to go to University. What should I do?”

Apprenticeships have come a long way, and there’s a lot to consider when choosing between Apprenticeships and University. This advice from careers expert Julie Poppleton will help parents stay objective and informed.

Research, research, research! There is  still a lack of awareness about what the differences are between Apprenticeships and University.

I have certainly spoken with parents who only consider University to be a ‘quality option’, with Apprenticeships perceived to not be a valid equivalent. Some parents still perceive Apprenticeships to be poorly paid with few job prospects at the end.

Questions for parents:

  • Why do you want your child to go to University?
  • What is the rationale behind this?

Questions for your child:

  • Why do you want an Apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships or University? Both parents and children need to do their research, stay objective and dispel myths with facts.

I often hear similar myths about not wanting to go to University, with young people often saying they are anxious about student debt.

Others have said they know of someone who went to University and ended up not being able to get a job, so now they work in a low skilled and low paid job with all that debt.

Sometimes young people might base their decisions on the fear of being away from home and friends.

Other students may not realise their own self-worth and they consider that University is only for certain types of students.

Part of the research and conversations need to be around your child’s preferred learning style and preferred learning environment.

Apprenticeships info and resources:

About Julie Poppleton

Julie Poppleton is a Director of Careers. She is a Level 7 Careers Leader and a Level 6 qualified Careers Practitioner. Her leadership responsibilities and expertise include Employer, Stakeholder and Community Partnership Engagement including parents and families. She sits on a Senior Leadership Team for a Secondary School in Staffordshire and her additional commitments include:
  • Vice Chair – Southern Skills Employers and Educators Board
  • Chair Staffordshire Careers Professionals Forum
  • Executive Board Member Tamworth & Lichfield District Chamber of Commerce
  • Member of the Staffordshire Education and Skills Strategic Group
  • Lead school for the Careers and Enterprise/Stoke and Staffs LEP Careers
  • Hub and member of the Steering Group Committee
  • Moderator for Inspired Teenager Plus
  • Careers peer awards reviewer for Careers and Enterprise Company


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For more information, please email info@youthemployment.org.uk or call 01536 513388.

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