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Graduates won't necessarily receive higher lifetime earnings than apprentices

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University graduates are unlikely to have higher lifetime earnings than apprentices, research by Barclays and the Centre for Economics and Business has revealed. 

The research found that the average lifetime earnings premium gap between graduates and apprentices is just 1.8%, or £2,200.

In some sectors, it was found that apprentices can earn higher lifetime salary premiums than graduates. These sectors include:

Arts, Media and Publishing (up to 270%)

Agriculture, Horticulture and Animal Care (up to 211%)

Languages, Literature and Culture (up to 29%)

Social Sciences (up to 10%)

The research also found that apprentices can earn an average ‘lifetime earning premium’ of £177,600 more than those who only have A-Level qualifications.

Salaried apprenticeships are becoming an increasingly attractive option to students put off by the high cost of studying at university and increasing student debt, as they offer a range of study areas and the opportunity to enter employment sooner.

Average student debt rose by 17% during the 2016-17 academic year, and graduates leaving university now owe an average of £32,330 according to the Student Loans Company.

Mike Thompson, Head of Apprenticeships at Barclays, said that there were still misconceptions among young people about the value of apprenticeships despite their increasing popularity.

“Apprenticeships have become increasingly popular in the past decade, and the Government’s Apprentice Levy is set to create 3 million more opportunities in England by 2020”, he explained.

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