Unless you're a genius - and very lucky - you're not going to be on the big bucks after leaving school or college.
But some apprentice jobs pay significantly better than others, according to research by Future Mag .
Some apprenticeships pay less than the stingy £3.50-an-hour national minimum apprentice wage, while some pay up to £22,000 a year.
One thing is for certain - it's worth getting A-levels or a vocational college equivalent as the apprenticeships that command higher salaries require candidates with these qualifications.
Some require degrees so it may be worth putting yourself through the expense of university.
According to website Graduate Jobs: "Companies can be very coy about how much they pay their apprentices and starting salaries can be scandalously low – and in the last year the government has prosecuted a handful of employers who’ve failed to pay the minimum wage – currently £3.50 an hour and due to rise to £3.70 in April 2018.
"But the good news is that higher level and degree apprenticeships pay considerably better, with built in salary rises and prospects of a decent salary after qualification. These compare healthily with many graduate salaries – while top companies pay their graduates around £30,000, most graduates begin on around £19,000 to £22,000."
The top 10 best paid UK apprenticeships
1. Accountancy £19,734
2. Government / not for profit £19,316
3. Banking £18,937
4. Energy £18,479
5. Insurance asset and investment management £17,384
6. IT and consultancy £17,334
7. Engineering £16,719
8. Business £16,468
9. Construction £16,468
10. Fast Moving Consumer Goods (e.g. packaged foods, toiletries, over-the-counter drugs) £15,884
And the worst...
According to government figures per hour
1. Hairdressing £3.47
2. Childcare £5.02
Should I go to uni?
Many would-be students are now facing a choice between university or vocational training – apprenticeships are shedding their “manual” reputation and reinventing themselves as an option for ambitious school leavers.
Apprenticeships are undoubtedly hard work. Although employers must allow recruits 20 hours a week for off-the-job training, higher and degree apprentices are expected to study in their spare time too – that means some evenings and weekends.
Many students say they don’t feel ready for the nine to five workday experience that an apprenticeship entails.
University, despite the fees, looks more fun. It also buys you another three or four years to work out what you want to do.
When weighing the pros and cons, it’s worth thinking how you like learning. While it’s not a straight split between theory (university) versus practical learning (apprenticeships), apprentices do have an opportunity to apply what they learn directly at work – many students won’t do this until they graduate. But students will have the flexibility to change direction during a degree if they discover new interests and periods of intense study suit many.
“What’s right for you?” asks Maggie Stilwell, managing partner for talent at 'big four' accountancy firm Ernst & Young. “Start by trying to understand more about yourself. What do you enjoy doing and importantly what are your strengths?” In some cases, you can “try before you buy”, she advises. “You can take advantage of ‘taster’ days, internships, or work experience offered by many firms.”