Apprenticeships vs university

Lesson plan overview

This English lesson plan explores the different paths students can take after graduating high-school, and focuses on apprenticeships in particular as an alternative to universities. Students learn a lot of useful vocabulary, read a short text, watch a video and talk about apprenticeships vs university. It can be combined with the lesson plan “Should you take a gap year” as well as the worksheet “Idioms: learning and education”, and “Phrasal verbs: learning and education“.

Speaking: First, students discuss the labor market and youth unemployment. Then they look at different trade jobs and talk about the demand there is for these jobs and the necessary training and education people need in order to do them.

Reading: Students read a short text introducing 5 different paths people might take after finishing their secondary education. Then they complete a comprehension activity and practise some of the words and expressions from the text by completing sentences about themselves.

Vocabulary: Students read a few sentences about the current state of the labor market, containing the target vocabulary (on-the-job, hands-on, transferable skills, in-demand) and match the expressions to their definitions. Then they answer a few questions containing these phrases.

Video: Students watch a video “Apprenticeships vs university: which is best?” and complete 2 activities. First, they decide which speaker says the phrases given and then they listen again and take notes of more answers speakers give.

Speaking: The last 2 activities focus on speaking: First, students complete a role-play and then they brainstorm solutions to 1 of the 3 problems given.

The set of printable conversation cards provides additional opportunities for speaking practice and revision of the target vocabulary. This lesson will work great in combination with the lesson plan “Should you take a gap year” and “Idioms: learning and education”

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Teacher’s lesson plan

Student’s worksheet

Student’s interactive PDF

Conversation cards PDF

Pre-class activities

To send the pre-class activities to your students, copy the link below.

Vocabulary matching


The first time you watch the video, pay special attention to the correct pronunciation of the following words:

Apprentices work as electricians, carpenters, plumbers, cooks and mechanics.
Take math and science courses.
Learn to apply math and science concepts in practical ways.
The majority of employers require apprentices to have a high school diploma.
Get your driver’s license.
Apprentices are paid wages when at work, earning while they learn.
Many apprentices graduate from their programs debt-free.

Comprehension questions

In-class activities

Teacher’s lesson plan
Student’s worksheet

Conversation cards PDF

Student’s interactive PDF

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