Why your parents’ advice is worth listening to

Deborah Greenwood thought her daughter Ellie would be better off doing an apprenticeship than going to uni. It turns out she was right.



What parents think:

Research shows that many parents are unaware of the options that apprenticeships offer. 


of the 1,000+ parents surveyed had heard of degree apprenticeships


said they felt confident they knew where to find information to offer their child the best advice.

Once they became better informed, their attitudes towards apprenticeships changed. 

[Source: Chartered Management Institute, 2016]


of parents who were then given more info, now favour a degree apprenticeship with a major company over a traditional degree


think an apprenticeship would provide a better chance of getting a job than a standalone university degree

Deborah, why did you think an apprenticeship would be best for Ellie?

If she’d really wanted to go to university, then I would have encouraged her. In fact, we went around universities looking at the best places for business studies. But when she changed her mind and decided to study a degree in sport and exercise management, I became less enthusiastic.

I really didn’t think that would be the best degree choice for her, and I didn’t think she would grow any more at university. She was already quite confident and I knew she would benefit from being in the workplace.

Ellie was also very organised; always had a Saturday job, was mature beyond her years, so I thought uni might be a step backwards.

Ellie, how did you go about finding an apprenticeship?

What really inspired me was a school-to-work programme that I did in Year 12 with the legal team at Lloyds Banking Group, which was offered to those studying business or economics. I met someone who was doing an apprenticeship and that’s when I realised that I could get a great qualification with on-the-job experience. I researched a lot of the FTSE 100 companies but came back to Lloyds Banking Group because it offered a Diploma in Project Management.


So, Deborah – are you happy you encouraged the apprenticeship route?

Definitely. She has achieved so much in such a short space of time. She works hard, she is happy – particularly on pay day – and has a good support network at Lloyds Banking Group.

When her friends went off to uni, I wondered if she was missing out. But her visits to them showed she wasn’t. They were less financially stable, weren’t living in great accommodation and student debt was top of mind for them.

Ellie’s choice has given her independence and a salary. She still enjoys the social side – she’s been off to London on training sessions and learns with other apprentices, so she hasn’t missed out. Plus, she has all the training she needs to continue a fruitful career when she’s finished.

And Ellie, are you glad you chose an apprenticeship?

I got four A Levels so I could have gone to university, but this scheme has been better for me. Now that I’ve finished my apprenticeship, I’m at a higher grade now than if I’d be if I went to uni. Overall this has been a better option for me.

If I had chosen university, I would now be in my third year, stressing about exams and worried about student debt. So I have no regrets. I am so glad my mother thought an apprenticeship would be right for me. Even my boss who went to uni admits she would have done an apprenticeship instead had they been available at the time.