Apprenticeships are not a new concept. Going back as far as the 1600s, they were traditionally a way of learning a skill or trade whilst working in the job. It's a logical idea - why sit in a classroom being told about something when you can actually do it? In the last 400 odd years they have evolved to incorporate a whole range of jobs and offer a direct route into an industry, where you'r e getting work experience and qualifications at the same time. So why aren't more people considering them? Traditionally, it seems students default to securing their A Levels and applying for University or applying for entry level jobs that don't require a degree. The downside is that University is expensive and jobs that don't require a degree tend to result in a lower salary. Additionally, once you've got a degree, you realise that thousands of others do as well and to say competition is fierce would be an understatement. A recent article looking at graduate intake in the financial sector found that intake is the lowest it's been since 1996, with many companies asking successful applicants to defer to the following year because there isn't as much need for them. For those who do manage to secure a role, salaries are far below what you would expect with some surviving on just £6,000 a year. And they are the lucky ones. However, there is hope for those who can demonstrate real work experience on their CV. Any employer will tell you how valuable it is, and when faced with a sea of graduate CV's, the ones with employment history are the ones that stand out. That's not to say the outlook is dismal. There are jobs out there, it just takes a more motivated and strategic approach to be in with a chance. For those willing to think outside the University box, there is a very attractive alternative. Apprenticeships offer a viable solution to the problems posed by the graduate rat race. It's why the government and businesses alike are allocating so much funding to them, it's why you see them advertised all over the media. With an apprenticeship you get a qualification that is funded by the government and doesn't leave you with student loans, work experience that pays and adds immense value to your CV, and there's nothing stopping you from going to University afterwards if you choose to. Take the story of Daniel Roper and Paul Morris, two 18 year olds who have recently secured themselves apprenticeships for a top law firm in Business Administration and IT respectively. They are by no means the only example. There are hundreds of training organisations across the UK responsible for finding companies to take on apprentices, and school and college leavers to fill the positions. Interestingly, if you compare the amount of opportunities to that of the graduate market, it's quite the opposite. There are plenty of apprenticeships out there, the challenge is for the training companies to find the right candidates. Could it be you? Well, we think it's certainly worth looking into before accepting your place at University this summer! To be the first to find out about apprenticeships in your area in a variety of different industries, sign up with