Turning down university for an apprenticeship

19 November, 2019

This week the trainee solicitor blog team caught up with Rosie Harvey, second year paralegal apprentice, who explains why she chose an apprenticeship over university.

Nursery. Primary. Secondary. University. Job. Right? It’s the typical route that, for the last few decades, is ‘normal’. When reaching the age of 18, most students are faced with an unavoidable dilemma where they are forced to choose between a university course or finding a job. But what happens to those of us that want to work, and want experience, but also want to get the same recognition as a degree qualification? University is the right choice for many, and with dozens heading down this route, it can often seem like the best path to take. However, the conventional route is not always the best route to success.

At the end of my final year of school, I was set on attending university to get a law degree – I had an unconditional offer from Oxford Brookes. When my fellow classmates received their offers, their excitement was like a child opening presents on Christmas morning. However, I felt like I’d just received a free magazine through the post and my university excitement never appeared. After coming across the Cripps Pemberton Greenish paralegal apprenticeship advert by chance, I looked into it and to me the benefits were undeniable: I would avoid over £50,000 of debt; earn a qualification whilst getting experience; increase my chances of a job opportunity and still be at home for my mum’s weekly roast.

I am now 14 months into my apprenticeship and the benefits of the scheme have held true. I have avoided any debts, maintained a healthy social life with other apprentices and I am much closer to my career goal. Becoming an apprentice at Cripps Pemberton Greenish has given me so many opportunities I wouldn’t have had otherwise. The scheme works by rotating the apprentices around different teams over a 2 year period, carrying out work in all areas of the law. Not only does this give great exposure to the many avenues of law, but it also means I can speak to and communicate with a wide range of people from across the firm. Learning on the job has been invaluable and this type of exposure is hard to find elsewhere.

More than 48,000 people started a higher or degree apprenticeship in England in 2018, a 32% increase on the previous year. In this day and age, where inclusion is encouraged, there should be options for all types of people and the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach is in need of a re-vamp. It is refreshing to see a leading law firm like Cripps Pemberton Greenish paving the way.

So looking back, am I glad I chose an apprenticeship over university? Absolutely! It was definitely the right choice for me.