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Graduates Pain, Apprentices Gain

Posted by Michaela Elcoat on 3rd June 2016

Many people automatically assume heading to university to study for an academic 3 or 4 year degree is the best way to start a prosperous career and make a higher income. In fact it is often assumed within education that an apprenticeship or a trade career is simply for those unable to make it to university. However, latest figures published by Business News, shows graduates are facing fewer job vacancies in their preferred and educated field and lower paid wages due to a slump on the graduate employment front.

With students fees in the UK continuously rising and draw backs such as fewer and poorly paid jobs more people are realising the real benefits of taking on a trade. In particular training as a sparky seems to be very appealing to those who are looking to focus on blue collar rather than white collar jobs. Not only is it one of the cleanest trades it also pays the best and tends to make use of the grey matter a bit more too, meaning you can challenge both you mind and your body whilst enjoying varied role.

So, what are the benefits of becoming a sparky vs Graduate employment?


When looking at the time taken to gain employment there is a huge difference between university and the trades. Most graduates will take 3-4 years to complete a degree before they can start earning. However you can train as a domestic installer in just a few weeks or if you go down the fully qualified route get your Electrical Diploma’s in 8 months with us and start earning a proper salary whilst you complete an NVQ. If you do an apprenticeship you actually earn while you train and won’t take on any debt.


On average graduates earn around £22K per year in their first year. As an electricians mate you can expect to start on around £20K so there isn’t much in it. However, when you have a trade there is a much greater earnings potential if you become self employed. It is also much easier to take on staff and grow your business to make more money that way. One of the biggest benefits of taking on a trade is that you will almost certainly use your skills to make money on property. Most tradesmen will buy a renovation project, live in it and then use their own skills and connections to do the place up. With increases in property prices this is possible the most lucrative part of taking on a trade and it’s tax free if you are doing up your own home!

And don't forget you get earning much sooner so by the time you would have normally graduated you will be on a higher wage than you started on.


The cost of learning a trade is way below the cost of studying at university. Current university tuition fees for 2016/17 stand at £9000 a year while maintenance fees (living costs) are £8200 (outside of London). If you went to university for 3 years it will cost you a whopping total of £51,600.

Electrician course fees can cost anything from £2200 - £10,000, making the cost much more manageable and with shorter studying times you will be spending less on travel and accommodation whilst you train. There are also lots of ways to fund your training from Advanced Learning loans to government grants and if you go down the apprenticeship route your training could be free whilst you earn money! Seems to good to be true but it is true!

Drop outs

Studies also show 40% of people who decide to move away to attend university aren’t mentally prepared to leave home and fend for themselves, causing them to stray off course and never complete their degree.  In comparison, those studying for a trade close to where they live for a shorter length of time create contacts within the industry to help them complete their course and find employment.

Job Security

Job demand is high in the electrical industry. The construction industry is booming in both businesses and homes. This has a positive knock on effect for electricians, who will always be needed to help these projects flourish. There is also a looming retirement time bomb which is going to see demand rise as time served electricians bow out at the end of their careers.

So if you are still unsure which way to go why not take a closer look at a career in electrics. Do some research online, give us a call or simply try and handy course finder tool here.