Mike Thompson, Head of Apprenticeships at Barclays

Looking at Lifetime Salaries

These past weeks, students up and down the country will have been awaiting A-Level results with baited breath, knowing their grades could have a large bearing on their future and their careers.

Lifetime Salaries infographic 2

To many, university might seem like the best and most obvious route – indeed, recent research by Barclays found that 61 per cent of young people in the UK apply to university on ‘autopilot’ without considering other options or questioning whether it really is best for them. Young people cited worries of disappointing parents, feeling like university is the only route to a good job and a lack of information on other options, such as apprenticeships, as key reasons for applying. This is why it is so important that young people feel they have all the information to make an informed decision for their future, as university isn’t a ‘one size fits all’.

There are still many misconceptions that surround these alternative options; for example, many believe that you need a degree to be able to earn a good salary and get ahead in the world of work.

Lifetime Salaries infographic 1

However, working with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), Barclays has published a report, “Productivity and Lifetime Earnings of Apprentices and Graduates”, which reveals that the average gap in lifetime earnings potential between apprentices and graduates is actually just 1.8 per cent.

The average ‘Lifetime Earning Premium’ (LEP) difference for the two study paths stands at just £2,200 and in some sectors, apprentices’ LEP outstrips that of graduates by over 200 per cent, including Arts, Media and Publishing and Agriculture, Horticulture and Animal Care.

The figures in the report show quantifiably for the first time that apprentices are getting a ‘hidden pay cheque’ through earning while working that is comparable to or in some cases higher than university graduates.

Lifetime Salaries infographic 6This bonus means they can fast track themselves to home or car ownership – as well as through their careers without worrying about long-term student debt.

The report also rebukes the common misconception that apprenticeships are only relevant for those looking for careers in vocational or manual industries; Business, Administration and Law accounted for the most apprenticeship starts in 2014/15, and there were over 89,600 apprentice starts within the Retail and Commercial Enterprise Sector.

Lifetime Salaries infographic 3With university applicants facing a challenging and unpredictable financial landscape – with maintenance grants abolished and rising tuition fees putting university degrees out of reach for many – we also predict that apprenticeships are set to grow in uptake as they are available across more sectors and at different levels, offering people a genuine and viable alternative to university.

Indeed, the uptake of apprenticeships has more than doubled in the past decade, with almost half a million starts in the 2014/15 academic year. 

Lifetime Salaries infographic 4This comes as research by Aviva found that more than a third of graduates regret going to university and half claim they would have landed their current job without having to study for a degree.

More and more young people are waking up to the fact that worthy and viable alternatives to university exist and it is possible to gain skills and prepare yourself for the world of work without taking on debt.

Furthermore, a new ‘Degree Apprenticeship’ was introduced in 2015 that allows apprentices to earn a full university equivalent qualification in their chosen sector without paying the ever-increasing university tuition fees.

Lifetime Salaries infographic 7

At Barclays, we support Degree Apprenticeships and have a target of offering at least 50 places on their scheme in 2016. Additionally, the Apprentice Levy introduced by the UK government this year is set to create three million apprenticeships in England by 2020. This shows that now is the time to start seriously considering taking up an apprenticeship.

With increased tuitions fees driving up the cost of university and putting it out of reach to some, Barclays forecast that apprenticeships, particularly Degree Apprenticeships, will become increasingly more important to the UK economy, and predict exponential growth in their uptake in the near future. We have seen enormous productivity and value in bringing apprentices into our business and strongly encourage others to follow our lead.

I firmly believe that apprenticeships are a genuine alternative to university that should be considered a viable and valuable career path, and the figures released in our report strongly back this up.

 Today, apprenticeships are available in a huge range of sectors and levels and are open to everyone, regardless of age, social background or qualifications and are fast becoming one of the most worthwhile career paths allowing people to earn and learn at the same time.

Mike Thompson, Head of Apprenticeships at Barclays

You may also be interested in these articles:

End to end learner journeys – from initial to end-point assessments - #FutureOfAssessment Episode 4

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

Fellowship of Inspection Nominees added a new event 5 minutes ago

Inspection Preparation Masterclass

Join Kerry Boffey for this essential masterclass to get revved up for inspection with learning from previous inspections, guest speakers talking...

  • Tuesday, 07 December 2021 10:30 AM
  • MS Teams
Fellowship of Inspection Nominees added a new event 9 minutes ago

Self-Assessment Masterclass

Join James Houston for this interactive masterclass as he takes delegates through his top tips for writing an effective, robust and strategic...

  • Tuesday, 23 November 2021 10:30 AM
  • MS Teams
Jo Foster has published a new article: AECOM crowned winners of STEM challenge 29 minutes ago

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page