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Weighing Up Your Options After Finishing Year 12

July 27, 2022 | Career

You're finishing school soon and looking to the future, but with that comes decisions. What path should you take? What’s your goal for next year? Should you opt for an electrical apprenticeship, university, or a gap year?

Here we look at the pros and cons of each. It may help you decide.


Pros of an apprenticeship

On the job training

There’s no better way to master an electrical trade than getting your hands dirty – quite literally. Working alongside experts you can put your newfound skills into practice immediately and gain a thorough understanding of the job.

Earn while you learn

Earning and learning at the same time with no debt to pay back when you’ve completed your apprenticeship. What’s not to love, right?

Good employer prospects

An apprenticeship makes you highly appealing to future employers, giving you a wider range of job prospects. Employers love that you know and understand the industry - you can walk the walk as well as talk the talk.

A nationally recognised qualification

Completing an apprenticeship will give you a nationally recognised qualification that will allow you to work anywhere in Australia.

Ongoing support

Doing an apprenticeship through a provider such as FHR means that you will receive ongoing support across workplace placement, training, pay and career progression.


Cons of an apprenticeship

  • Stepping into work means that you won’t get to experience university life in all its glory
  • It may be difficult to change careers later in life without further study
  • You have less flexibility
  • Competition for apprenticeships can be tough
  • You may not work with people your age


Pros of university study

Lifelong support

At university you’ll establish lifelong friendships and connections. These are the people who will support you professionally and personally long after you complete your degree.  

Specialist knowledge

A degree will provide you with in depth knowledge of your subject and provide you with transferable skills, such as communication, critical thinking, teamwork, multitasking, leadership, and problem solving.

Boosts life skills

Managing your own life admin, chores and study deadlines will give you a newfound sense of independence and confidence.

A world of opportunities

Many universities offer opportunities for students to work overseas or gain experience in a variety of organisations. There are also multiple extracurricular activities offered on campus.

Improved career prospects

Studying a degree can improve your chances of getting a job in your chosen field. It can also provide a good foundation for further study or training down the track.


Cons of university study

  • Fees are expensive, meaning most students will have debt
  • Degrees take an average of 3-4 years to complete
  • You won’t have any hands-on experience
  • There is no guarantee of a job at the end of your study
  • You may earn less than an apprentice


Pros of a gap year

Down time

Stepping away from study can give you chance to recharge your batteries after school and time to consider what you want to do next.


Travelling the world is an invaluable opportunity to see and experience other countries and cultures. This is the kind of experience that a classroom or workplace can’t offer.  

Gain Work Experience

Work experience can help you to determine what sort of role and industry you’d like to work in. Consider it a ‘try before you buy’. Employment agencies such as FHR can help you find suitable short or long term roles.

Gain new Life Skills

Managing your money, time, life admin and domestic duties will give you increased confidence when you head to university or work.

Earn and save

A gap year is a good time to stash away some cash so you’re financially one step ahead for whatever your future holds.


Cons of a gap year

  • You risk losing your momentum for study
  • It can be expensive if you choose to travel
  • You may feel lonely and experience fear of missing out with friends at university
  • Transition back to study may be hard
  • You risk wasting time and losing direction


It's important to weigh up options when choosing the path to take. Remember the decision needs to be right for you, and you can always change your mind.

Need more advice or guidance?  Reach out to the local team at FHR. We can help!

Author - Frontline Human Resources


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