An organisation which represents New Zealand training organisations is welcoming a report showing the benefits of not attending university.
New research by economists BERL found apprentices get a headstart in working, earning and paying off their mortgage, and are often better-off financially than their academic-minded peers well into their working lives.
Josh Williams from the Industry Training Federation says the research casts doubt on whether we should be encouraging most people to go to university, as they'll start working later and be swamped in debt.
"Is that really the best thing we can do for them, and is that the best thing for our economy right now?" he told Newshub.
The study also found apprentices can have nearly double the value of assets mid-career than someone who went to university.
Mr Williams says taking the earn-and-learn path can be a smart move.
"Apprenticeships are a really fantastic option if you want good financial security and money in the bank early on, so you've got freedom of choice to do things and get on with your life."
But Mr Williams admits the research shows those with a degree catch up towards the end of their careers.
The findings of the BERL report, Modelling costs vs benefits of apprenticeship vs degree, surprised even some of its own economists.