Thinking about which Learning method will help accelerate your career?

Apprenticeship vs University: Hopefully this will provide you with a better insight into both!

Bit of a later upload, but it’s still an upload so it counts right? Today is the 7th Friday and I was discussing with the rest of the Tess team on our weekly roundup webinar how 7 weeks is actually such a long time (almost two months), and yet there’s something nostalgic about my days at Tess and that they all feel like my very first.  I think that’s why it’s so exciting – every day I am adding more to my journey and everything I am learning is still so new to me. That’s why in today’s blog I am going to be discussing the difference between Apprenticeships vs University and helping you decided what method of learning is best for you.

I am also going to be doing this with the lovely Sophie from (@prettylittlemarketer on IG) who was kind enough to share her experience at University whilst studying towards a marketing degree – of which I am going to compare to my own experience; studying digital marketing through an apprenticeship. Now, you may think that you’re learning the same in both routes – so why does it matter? However, they are different in many ways. It totally depends on an individuals preferred method of learning; whether it be hands on or theory-based work, but both have their pros and cons!


Background Info:

“I study Marketing, Advertising and Branding at the University of Gloucestershire! I’m really lucky in that it is a super creative degree as it covers advertising and branding as well as a lot of marketing theory. It’s really practical and I’ve worked with companies such as Harley Davidson and Super Dry on live campaigns. I love it and am sad to be graduating next year!”

Varying to myself as a Junior Content Creator Apprenticeship, the description of my job is to develop and create content that can be used across a variety of media including digital, social media, broadcast or in print. Thus, our accreditations are very similar as I also must work towards the clients brief to create content as apart of media, advertising and marketing campaigns, but our style of work differentiates.


Why choose to pursue a career in marketing?

“I was in a corporate events role from ages 19-21 and HATED IT. It was so restrictive and there was no creativity. I knew I wanted to leave but had no idea what I wanted to do. The job hunt started, and I stumbled across a few YouTube channels that talked about their jobs in marketing and I fell in LOVE! I knew in my heart it was for me.”

Similarly, upon leaving school I had no idea what I wanted to do, and I think with the current influence and prominence of social media in the daily lives of the younger generation – it is probably a career that is more recognised in a creative aspect than ever before. Firstly, wishing to become a mortgage advisor I had a chat with one of my close friends about my future and she said to me ‘I think there will be a serious waste of creativity’ if you go to work in a bank. Alas, the job hunt started!

An interesting question to ask the both of us might be why we decided to chose our method of learning over the other – because theres always a reason.

Sophie chose Uni because: “Back in 2018 when I started my degree, the majority of apprenticeships were for school leaves (aged 16 after GCSE’s) or sixth form leavers (ages 18). So aged 21, there wasn’t a lot for me sadly. Also, living far from Manchester, London or any major “business” cities, opportunities were scares unless I wanted to move. I did consider an apprenticeship and would have loved to have done one, however the opportunities at the time just weren’t there.”

AND I am here to crush this stereotype – although many apprenticeships are posed to young school leavers, they can be for anyone – no matter of age! However, understandingly it all depends on the opportunities given to you – Uni definitely wasn’t on my list of things to do but since I decided that digital marketing was the route I wanted to go down, if I hadn’t have got this job, Uni for me was next on the cards as I believed this was the only way to get into this industry. Oh, how I was so wrong! I think I chose an apprenticeship all because of my preferred method of learning. The thought of sitting in a classroom style learning environment for the next 3 years was just not something I wanted to do. I have a passion for putting my thoughts into action and being busy 24/7.

However, I feel like the choice between an Apprenticeship vs University can 100% depend on how you like learning. Both methods can be of a similar length so before choosing which path to take – make sure it is definitely the right one for you! This also links to the amount of on-the job training you get. Sophie hasn’t had any – whereas that is pretty much what my job consists of! However, she has proved her workings elsewhere (like her Instagram or working with impressive brands); but this might not simply be for you, your mind may work best completely learning the theory of a subject and that is okay too!

Different Styles of Learning – Apprenticeship vs University:

Next, Sophie talks about how Uni is majority theory based and compare it to the style of learning I receive: “Luckily, this February I landed my first industry role as a marketing assistant however I know that for a student – that is a rare opportunity. I truly believe without that industry experience; I would feel like a very small fish in a very big world upon graduating. Having completed 2 live projects at university with big industry giants, however a 2-week project is not enough to be industry ready. Theory knowledge is great, but without knowing how to apply that knowledge, industry is hard.”

This is a great insight to another difference of an Apprenticeship vs University. You may feel like you have all the gear, but no idea! Yet this mustn’t stop you from going for what you want; if you don’t put yourself out there and show employers your worth because of a lack of ‘industry experience’ you will get nowhere! Fortunately, my job offers full industry experience, I am constantly creating content whilst learning along the way. However, then I could argue that I don’t have as much theory-based knowledge as someone who attended University – but then where would this lack of self-belief get me?

Now, despite if you have a desired stye of learning, your choice can all come down to the lifestyle that accompanies each method as-well. So, Sophie shares what her favourite thing about University is:

“My favourite thing about uni is the passion it’s given me for marketing. From consumer behaviour, to brand image, to cognitive reactions – there’s so much more to marketing than I ever imaged prior to my studies and seeing the big picture when I see a campaign on IG or an ad on TV is really exciting for me.”

Me too – there really is so much more too marketing than I’d ever imagined! Moreover, my favourite thing is to be a part of a company who guides and encourages me along every step of the way. I am allowed to be individual in my designs whilst representing the brands values and really putting my visions for the business out there. Apprenticeships are good, in the way that the learning aspect breaks up the day-to-day work that you are doing – it provides your mind with a refresh after staring at a computer screen all day and ensures that everything I am doing for my brand has a reason behind it – colour choices, themes, SEO, text choice, who it is targeted towards etc.

Sophies advice to ME AND YOU!

I found Sophie through her Instagram account and if it wasn’t for Social Media, I would have no idea who Sophie is or what she does… This proves how relevant social media is in today’s current society. That’s why I think marketing is such a special career to pursue – you get to connect with all kinds of people, hence why I decided to share my journey as a junior content creator on Instagram (@rileysrendering) to join a massive community of other digital marketers doing the same thing! Thus, I asked for one piece of advice of which she gave: “Network, network, network – it’s not always what you know, but who you know! LinkedIn is a great place to start reaching out and talking with those who inspire you.”

Honestly, before this job I didn’t have a clue what LinkedIn was and its powers but now I am starting to understand it more and realise it really is like the magical wand to every magician. The powers to make the most of it are all in your hands!

Moreover, her advice to others wishing to study at Uni was: “My advice would be, as important as your studies and degree are, what you do outside of the classroom is just as important. Widening your mind and broadening your studies will give you an edge over other candidate and help prepare you for industry. Things like online internships, online courses, reading or running a blog – all great ways to learn and develop outside of university.”

I really recommending keeping up to date with Sophie on Instagram or Facebook as she really does provide some top-quality content to others studying and those in the same industry – its great! Especially in a career that can become so lonely (freelancing for example), it’s so good to know that there are complete strangers there to support you and your journey. And I mean, there is no better way for your brand to get recognised!

Degree Apprenticeships?

I also asked for her opinion about degree apprenticeships, as you basically get the best of both worlds and if you are really unsure then this may be the route you want to take – and you get an excellent qualification out of it! “I think apprenticeships are fab. I’m so pleased to see more companies both big and small offering marketing apprenticeships to school and sixth form leavers. Uni isn’t for everyone, sitting in a classroom doesn’t suit every learning type and there should be options out there that suit everyone!”

Basically, summed up my blog in one sentence! Besides the main difference between both methods which is probably everyones first thought: money! You also need to assess whether you want to pay for the experience you are receiving or want to be payed for doing so. Not sure on what you want to do as a career yet? Uni allows you to have this time to self-reflect and figure it out. Not forgetting freshers! But i’ve heard my work holds a pretty good Christmas party this year and I know which one I’d rather attend 😉

All jokes aside, Apprenticeship vs University I think it all does come down to personal preference, but I do hope that this blog has given you a little insight into which route may be best for you and sharing two different experiences but following the same career route! Of course, choose which one you think will benefit you the most but even if you were unclear on the differences/similarities of these routes and my career – I am hoping you have taken at least one thing away from this.

Thankyou for taking the time to read my extra-long blog and I’ll be back again next week with (hopefully) a shorter one! Also, cant forget to say a massive thanks to Sophie from @prettylittlemarketer for sharing her experience and letting me ask her questions on her own personal experience so that I can compare them to my own!

Check out her Website:

For my Apprenticeship Jargon Busting follow this link:



Apprenticeship vs University