Last month a drop in A-level grades left school leavers with lower grades trying to get to university through the clearing system. We look at apprenticeships as an alternative career path and highlight the benefits of this modern career route.

This year was the first that school pupils sat traditional exams since the start of the Covid pandemic. A post-pandemic crackdown on grade inflation together with a higher than usual number of applications to university saw students trying to get places through clearing. The Times newspaper reported that around 80,000 fewer A and A* grades were awarded. This is due to increased numbers of school leavers and universities over recruiting last year leading to A-level grade inflation. After missing their expected grades over 43,000 pupils entered the university clearing system to scramble for second choice places. However, there were fewer clearing courses available at the top universities. A Times analysis found leading Russell Group universities were advertising only a third of the number of courses through clearing than they were in 2019. The Apprenticeship Support by Be More Team has been presenting a different career route to pupils across the Liverpool City Region that has distinct advantages over traditional university.

“The Apprenticeship Support by Be More Team have been supporting schools, particularly on results day, with tailored advice on Apprenticeships. This year has been tough for pupils who don’t immediately make their first choice university’s requirement. Apprenticeships are providing a fantastic opportunity to begin a career in a paid job with training. We have been busting myths about apprenticeships and highlighting degree apprenticeships that are another way of going to university, gaining real life work experience and being paid. Degree apprentices do not have a student loan to repay when they graduate. While some parents believe apprenticeships are not a prestigious career route for their children to consider, they change their minds rapidly when we illustrate that a degree apprenticeship delivers good pay and the same qualification. We estimate an apprentice graduates from university £75,000 better off than a traditional graduate. That’s before we factor in the 3 years’ experience they have at work acquiring soft skills and an understanding of the work environment and culture,” explains Mel Dodd, Be More Skills Strategy Manager

There is a wide range of apprenticeships across virtually every career you can think of. The latest ones include Doctors. Important trade apprenticeships from brick layers to plumbers and carpenters are also available and valued by construction companies. Well paid apprenticeships in logistics are also trending.

“Apprenticeships should not be regarded as second best to a university degree. The job market has changed and modern apprenticeships are tailored to support the skills needed in the workplace of the future. Employers’ attitudes to recruitment has also changed. They recognise the value of apprentices and they do well when it comes to rapid career progression.  Many have the soft skills that put them ahead of the traditional graduate,” reflects Mel.

If you would like further information on apprenticeships and how to apply for them, talk to the Apprenticeship Support by Be More Team. The team is funded by the European Social Fund & LCR Strategic Investment Fund and provides impartial information and advice on apprenticeships across the Liverpool City Region.