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Apprenticeships or University - How to Decide What is Right for You

More and more we’re hearing about the apprenticeship versus university debate. There are advantages to both routes so how do you decide?



For me, it had to be the apprenticeship route. I knew at college that I ultimately wanted to work in the Pharmaceutical industry after learning about drugs acting in the body in Biology. Until this point, I’d only considered university as an option to get my degree meaning I’d have apply for a job in the industry after graduating. That’s when I found out about the GSK Apprenticeship Scheme. Through my own online research, I discovered the scheme and what immediately struck me was that I’d get workplace experience and still earn my degree – I was sold!



Three years later and I’m completing my final year as an Analytical Chemistry Apprentice at GSK Barnard Castle. During my apprenticeship, I’ve rotated around different quality control labs performing analytical testing of antibiotics, nasal spray inhalations and now raw materials. I’m valued as any other member of the team and am given so many opportunities to develop within the lab or on the wider site. Some of my highlights include leading a project to install and validate a new piece of equipment in the laboratory, running an Apprentice Challenge to bring bees on to site, and delivering workshops in local schools.


Through my apprenticeship, I’ve developed personal skills like public speaking and leadership as well as gained practical experience of variety of analytical techniques. It’s easy to see why I’ve never looked back!

While the apprenticeship route has suited me, my twin sister, Emily, took a different pathway. Emily chose to study history full time at University and has really enjoyed her experience so far. She enjoys having the choice of which career pathway to take and is looking into various options for after she graduates. This goes to show that there isn’t a hard and fast rule, it all depends what best suits you!



With there being so many options available, it’s great to have a platform like globalbridge for you to explore all of the amazing opportunities that are available to you.

This will help with individual research of companies and roles so that you can hopefully gain some inspiration of which route will suit you best.



Molly Conroy-Oakes is a third-year Analytical Chemistry Apprentice at GSK Barnard Castle.



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