Helping your teenager decide

Your role as a parent or carer is really important as your teenager decides to study for a degree at university or take a degree apprenticeship. But don’t worry, you’re not alone.

Helping you to help your teenager

Almost a third of parents and carers in Essex have said that they don’t understand enough about the current world of work to feel comfortable in advising their teenager about whether to go to university or take a degree apprenticeship. A university degree and a degree apprenticeship both have value and merits, and you can play an important role in helping your teenager decide which is the best option for them.

Making decisions

First it may help to update your knowledge about education and careers as a lot has changed in the last five years and try not to push your own ideas onto your teenager! You may also have conflicting ideas.

While you may see the value in going straight into work, by taking up a degree apprenticeship, you may also believe that taking a traditional university degree is the route to a good salary. It’s natural for you to want the best for your teenager and want them to enjoy the journey as well as the destination.

Ask the right questions… then listen!

So perhaps start by talking to your teenager and listening to what is important to them. Try asking these questions, listening carefully to their answers, then adding follow-up questions:

  • What would suit you best, to focus on learning more about something that you are passionate about in an educational setting by going to university? Or in the workplace through a degree apprenticeship? Why do you think this would suit you better?
  • Do you think you would thrive as part of a professional team if you did a degree apprenticeship? For example, how would you manage the demands of being employed full-time while also doing a degree on top? (it’s not the easy option that some people think!)
  • Do you think you would you thrive in an academic setting, where you have plenty of time for independent study and group work, by taking a traditional degree? Why would this suit you better?
  • Or, perhaps you could think about something in the middle ground – such as taking a traditional degree with a placement year out in industry, usually in the third year?


Work together, research different choices, and discover the wealth of new opportunities and job roles that exist.

Get some facts together, consider them together, and this will help them make their decision.

parent and teenager