This is a really important question that people do not ask themselves enough.

At the age of 16, I certainly didn’t know what was available to me or even where to begin.

Everyone is different and it is impossible to give a blanket answer. But there are some important questions to ask yourself…
• Why am I thinking of getting a degree?
• Am I suitable for a degree and what will a degree really give me? 

There are some really positive things to consider about apprenticeships. You start earning straight away (avoiding thousands of pounds of student debt), you often build your career initially much faster than your university counterparts and also, more often or not, you can get to the exact same positions as someone who did a degree without any of the essays or exams.

Getting a degree is definitely important in some industries and companies but it is not as much fun and games as Facebook would lead you to believe. If you do not put in the hours of work and get actively involved in networking then you can come out of 3 to 5 years with a mediocre degree and nobody who wants to hire you… what a waste of time and money!

You might also be interested in: Do I Need To Go To University?

When I was 16 I decided to go to university to become an engineer. I absolutely do not regret my decision, I would not be able to be where I am today but I am someone who enjoys studying and was able to network to where I wanted to go. However, in my final year of university, I developed a love for motorcycles and race mechanics… I often wonder if I would be leading a very different life if I had chosen to go in an apprenticeship direction.

You might also like to read Where Can I Find Out About Apprenticeships & Internships?

In conclusion, ask yourself the important questions. Research your options, ask people whose career you admire what their advice is, and finally; don’t be afraid to not do the norm.  

This piece was written by Nadia Domanski, a Mechanical Engineer at Schlumberger.
You can connect with Nadia on LinkedIn here.

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