As an apprentice I started earning from day 1. 4 days in work, 1 day in college. From 2 paper rounds to £6.5k/PA this was a big step up in lifestyle and profile. I had my first driving lesson on my 17th birthday. I was able to buy my first car before 18, and I qualified with ONC, HNC, and subsequently a degree in project management whilst working and learning in parallel. The benefits of this were not just financial. Every lecture connected to an experience. Every calculation at college was queried for suitability and applicability in the workplace. The workplace created questions I could ask in college. All knowledge was cemented into my Project Management Degree dissertation, achieving a distinction, for how it related to, and would benefit a project I was involved in.
The knowledge was tangible, the experience was real, capability was established.