Sky News spoke to Dedipya and Serenna, who both secured roles at technology giant IBM through different routes.
Why I chose an apprenticeship scheme
Dedipya Rimal, 20, Client Technical Specialist at IBMI didn’t go to university because I’m a kinaesthetic learner.
I can’t sit down and listen when people explain things to me – I like to learn on the job.
After GCSEs, I studied A-levels at college and I really didn’t know what to do after.
But then a friend told me about apprenticeships and sent me a web link to a few different schemes.
I applied for three apprenticeships and IBM called me. After a couple of interviews, I got the job.
My decision not to go to university was not money-based because my dad had always said he would help me, or I could get a student loan.
I didn’t know what to expect when I began the scheme, but I was treated like a full-time employee as soon as I joined and I’ve been given so much responsibility.
I feel like the apprenticeship scheme gave me a clear path and it’s a plus that I get to learn and earn.
I’m really happy – I get to work with the coolest technology and travel the world for my work.
I think the scheme was the right route for me because I already have a professional network of people who see what I can do and I get to talk to people at the forefront of technology.
Everyone here at IBM is on a level playing field, and whether we did an apprenticeship or a degree, we all have different skills to offer.
Lots of my friends went to university, but I really don’t feel like I missed out on anything – a bunch of us apprentices enjoy going out together.
Now I’m two years in, I’m pleased that I did an apprenticeship – I even have a flatmate who wishes he had done it.
Image: Choosing the best path to get into work can be tricky
Why I chose to go to university
Serenna Mackenzie, 23, Cloud Division Seller, IBM
When I was choosing what to do after college, I was put off going to university by the huge fees (my year was the first to cost £9,000 per year) and I wasn’t sure what I would study.
However, there weren’t many apprenticeship schemes available and most entry-level jobs were asking for a degree as a minimum requirement.
So I took the advice of my teachers, friends and family and chose something which I enjoyed.
I enrolled at Aston University on a four-year business and management degree.
I gained a great foundation across a range of disciplines including economics, law, marketing and operations, which have all helped now I am working in a business environment.
Yet, going to university gave me more than just an education – it provided me with a whole experience.
I loved the independence and the excitement of living in central Birmingham and I met some great people.
My third year was a placement, which I did with IBM in Hursley, near Winchester.
It was a fantastic experience and I was surprised by how much responsibility I was given.
I would recommend to anyone to take up a placement year if their course allows – it acts as a differentiator in a competitive graduate market.
I re-applied to IBM to join their graduate scheme and I’m now a Software Seller in IBM’s Cloud business, looking after local government and healthcare customers in London.