University graduates wage gap revealed

Wigan UTC, Parson's Walk, Wigan University Technical College Wigan
Wigan UTC, Parson's Walk, Wigan University Technical College Wigan

TOP apprentices can expect to earn tens of thousands of pounds more during their lifetime than many university graduates, according to research.

But those who gain a degree from a top institution - including Oxford and Cambridge - are still likely to have the highest earnings, it suggests.

The study, published by the Sutton Trust, argues that a high-quality apprenticeship offers as much financial security as many undergraduate degrees, and warns that a cultural change is needed to raise the status of these vocational courses.

It calculates that youngsters who opt to study for a Level 5 higher apprenticeship - equivalent to a foundation degree - will earn around £1.44 million over their lifetime, almost £52,000 more than a student who studies at a non-Russell Group university - considered among the best institutions in the UK. These graduates can expect to take home around £1.39 million. Students from a Russell Group university will earn around £1.6 million, the study shows - around £160,000 more than someone who does a higher apprenticeship and around £212,000 more those who did not attend a top university.