After studying long and hard through mandatory education, you’re faced with a tough initial choice. Do you continue to study or head off into the world of employment? Thanks to the apprenticeship scheme, there’s also a viable third option for those who want to gain skills and also earn a wage.

The problem is, deciding what is best can be tough as there is no clear answer. The best route is up to you. Here are the pros and cons of each option explained by Nifty Lifts, a company that prides itself on employment opportunities for young people.

Further education

Depending on your grades and goals, University may suit you. Studying at university helps broaden your horizons, develop your research skills and develop valuable life experience. However, it generally means moving away from home and incurring some heavy debt in the form of a student loan.


  • Dedicated study of a subject you’re passionate about
  • An internationally recognised qualification
  • Better research skills
  • A taste of independence
  • An exciting social life.


  • Debt
  • Arranging and securing living accommodation if moving away
  • You might be three years of being paid a wage behind your working friends
  • You may not end up with a clear route to employment.


An apprenticeship offers a route into qualification that includes payment and experience within a workplace. Unlike university, you won’t be off drinking pints after a few hours in a lecture hall. Instead, you’ll be working alongside employees of a business while gaining qualifications. However, you’ll be paid a relatively low wage as you work – so you’ll need to factor that into any decision.


  • Earning a wage at the same time as studying
  • Gaining a qualification and work experience at the same time
  • No student debts and an opportunity to gain tailored experience in an industry you’re interested in
  • Often results In a permanent job


  • No guarantee of a job after your apprenticeship
  • Low initial wage
  • Unlike the more relaxed setting of university, you’ll be subject to all the rules and regulations that apply to a workplace

Direct employment

Some jobs don’t require a qualification. Some people may even launch into their own entrepreneurial ventures and try self-employment. Whichever job you decide to go for, you can always forgo education entirely and build your career. However, there is far more competition and often there is less room for growth.


  • Earning a minimum wage immediately
  • Could progress into a flourishing career without the need for study


  • Lots of competition for entry-level roles
  • You won’t have a qualification in the future and may need one to progress or change careers
  • No guarantee of promotion or development

Whichever route you opt for, it’s important to look at the future. Don’t make a decision based on the now – because these are options that will affect your life. Nifty Lifts are a great example of a company to consider – the business offers places for undergraduates, graduates and also apprentices. Head to Nifty Lift Careers to find out more.