Why an apprenticeship is just as good as a degree: Pimlico Plumbers' Charlie Mullins explains

An apprenticeship can get you just as far in life as a university degree, according to Charlie Mullins.

The Pimlico Plumbers owner started as an apprentice himself in the 70s, and having built his company into the largest independent plumbing business in London, he thinks they’re just as valuable today as they were then.

The benefits of an apprenticeship

“Do an apprenticeship, get a trade - you’ll never be out of work and you’ll earn loads of money.” That’s the advice the Pimlico Plumbers owner was given when he left school, and he’s keen to pass it on.

Like a degree, an apprenticeship is a qualification you can take ‘around the world’, Charlie says, making it far easier to find a steady stream of work than if you were unqualified.

He firmly believes that university isn’t the right path for everyone, and recommends that young people get into work experience to find a career path that suits them, adding that the key ingredients for success are not your grades but “your determination and how much enthusiasm you’ve got, and if you’ve picked the right thing for you.”

“It’s a winning formation: apprenticeship, qualification, experience. You can’t go wrong.”

Government to invest in apprentices

According to Charlie, the government are very ‘switched on’ when it comes to apprenticeships and know that they are ‘the way forward’.

In 2015 the government pledged to create three million new apprenticeships by 2020, and the introduction of the Welfare Reform and Work Act this year means they will now have to report annually on the progress of their pledge.

And so far they seem to be stepping up their game. In 2015/16, 509,400 people started apprenticeships in England - 9,500 more than the previous year.

How to get started with an apprenticeship

Charlie’s advice is that when you start an apprenticeship you make sure it’s one that’s accredited and that will give you a qualification when you complete it.

If you’re looking to become an apprentice, a good place to start is the government’s apprenticeship website, which not only has a function to search for the apprenticeship that’s right for you, but also offers a guide to apprenticeships and advice on how to write a winning application.

Meanwhile, if you’re looking to get into plumbing and believe an apprenticeship is the way forward, check out our guide on how to become a plumber in the uk.

What do you think? Are apprenticeships just as good as degrees? Let us know below.

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