Full-time College or Apprenticeships. Which is right for me?

Blog: Full-time College or Apprenticeships – Which is Right for Me?

26 August 2020

If you’re reading this there is a fair chance that you’re trying to work out what your next steps should be. You know that you want to continue learning, but you’re just not sure what the right direction is for you.

You might have finished school, you may have completed your AS Levels or a Level 2 technical course, you might even have completed A-Levels but decided that you want to go another route.

If you learn best through practical, hands-on experiences then a technical course or an apprenticeship could be perfect for you.

Here we’ll run through some of the differences between an apprenticeship and a technical qualification such as a BTEC or Technical Diploma.

Is There Much of a Difference Between a Technical Course v An Apprenticeship?

An Apprenticeship is a job with training. That means that you will be employed (and have all the rights that full-time employees have in regards to payment, holiday allowance etc) but will also combine your day-job with structured training. You will gain a nationally recognised apprenticeship, sometimes including technical qualifications, at the end of your period of training, and following your end-point assessment.

A technical course, such as Engineering or Performing Arts at Rotherham College are full-time college courses. That means you will spend a minimum of 12 hours in College each week attending classroom and practical sessions. At the end of your course, you will gain a nationally recognised qualification in your chosen subject area.

There are similarities between our apprenticeships and technical courses in the way they are designed. We work closely with businesses operating in our local community to ensure that we are delivering training that meets the knowledge and skills required on a local level. This helps ensure that whatever option you choose you’re on the right track for finding employment at the end of your course.

Will I Learn More On An Apprenticeship or a Technical Course?

This is a tough question to answer.

On an apprenticeship, you will naturally gain more exposure to real working environments and have to overcome more real-world problems. Apprenticeships by their very nature are carried out in a less controlled environment than a college classroom or workshop. You’ll likely have more interaction with a bigger variety of people, meeting colleagues and customers of different ages and backgrounds than you are likely to in a college environment.

However, in terms of technical skills and know-how, it very much depends on the course and the apprenticeship. You’ll have more time to perfect the techniques and you’ll learn in a more controlled environment at college, whilst still having the opportunity to carry out meaningful work experience and work on live projects.

What Are My Options After Completing a Technical Course v An Apprenticeship?

Over 90% of all apprentices continue in employment or move into further study on completion of their course. So, if you choose an apprenticeship statistically your chances of progressing your career in your chosen industry are good.

However, completing an apprenticeship doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to follow that route forever, and you could choose to undertake an alternative apprenticeship or move into full-time study.

On completion of a technical course, many of our students either progress onto Higher Education courses or move into employment.

If you’re interested in attending university then both routes offer progression to university-level study. Level 3 technical courses are worth UCAS points so you can apply to study at university. Some apprenticeships include Level 3 technical qualifications, which also carry UCAS points.

It’s also possible to undertake a higher or degree-level apprenticeship and gain a recognised qualification without racking up any student debt. At our purpose-built Higher Education facility University Centre Rotherham, we run a range of higher and degree level apprenticeships in subjects including business management, human resources, construction, engineering and health and social care.

Which Will Look Better on My CV – A Technical Qualification or an Apprenticeship?

The answer to this question depends on what the employer looks for in a new recruit, as well as your own career aims and ambitions.

If you’re looking for a role within the industry in which you’re qualified an apprenticeship might just give you the edge. Not only will you have the knowledge and skills required to do the job, but you’ll also have gained valuable soft-skills and behaviours that are important in the world of work. You’ll also have acquired a range of soft-skills, such as communication, customer service and teamworking, which are really important to employers.

However, that doesn’t mean that employers don’t value the CVs of individuals who have completed a full-time College course. At Rotherham College, we work closely with local employers to design our curriculums and encourage students to undertake work placements and work on live projects with our network of local employers. This ensures that we teach the technical skills, whilst giving you the chance to gain the soft-skills that make you work-ready and give you a great chance of securing a job.


Where Can I Get More Information About Technical Courses or Apprenticeships?

You can find information about our courses and apprenticeships on our website www.rotherham.ac.uk

Or, if you’d like to speak to an advisor and understand more about your options you can give us a call on 01709 362111 or email info@rotherham.ac.uk

You can view our current apprenticeship vacancies at www.rnntraining.co.uk/vacancies
We work in partnership with RNN Training to deliver an exciting range of apprenticeships.

Categories: Blog