Last updated: 21.03.14

Young people urged to consider apprenticeships

The head of a website that promotes awareness of alternative forms of learning to university has called on youngsters in the north-east to give serious consideration to vocational training and apprenticeship schemes.

According to Spencer Mehlmen, who is the managing director of, there are plenty of different paths to university that individuals have open to them and that may be more suitable for their development.

He told the Northern Echo: "It would be fantastic to see more students within the north-east undertaking apprenticeships and vocational training, realising their potential and defying stereotypes."

By pursuing such a path, individuals can ensure that they are learning real and practical skills - whether from their colleagues and managers or from online learning resources -  that will be of direct benefit to their chosen career path, enabling them to move up the career ladder. 

The website's Apprenticeship Guide 2014 lists a number of benefits of undertaking career-based training instead of going to university, which many young adults may not have thought of, from earning money sooner and developing a strong work ethic to learning about your industry or sector of choice and gaining work experience that will help you to find jobs down the line. 

It is estimated that those who complete an apprenticeship will earn as much as £100,000 more over their lifetimes than individuals in the same fields who do not. 

Looking at the north-east in particular, Mr Mehlmen notes that there has been a significant rise in the number of apprenticeships within the workplace across the region and that there have been significant investments in sectors such as green technology, while cost of living and house prices are also low.

He told the newspaper: "It’s possible to pave yourself a fantastic career without having to attend university for three or more years. It’s possible, and sometimes more beneficial, to undertake an apprenticeship whereby you learn whilst you earn, and with so many companies – large and small – offering such schemes, we want to make sure students are fully aware of all options before making a decision."