With nearly half a million students starting an undergraduate degree each year, university can often seem the only option for a school leaver. However, rising tuition fees, expensive living costs and an increasingly saturated graduate market, it’s worth considering an alternative to the traditional degree route. This is where school leaver programmes and apprenticeships really come into their own. If you don’t want to go straight into a job, such schemes allow young people to combine qualifications with employment. This means that they can earn money whilst gaining valuable skills and experience, greatly improving their career prospects.
So why the bad press? Despite the potential of these schemes, they are often stereotyped by the media as a second choice to university. However, companies in the UK are increasingly looking to recruit A Level students with good grades through their school leaver programmes. Trainees on such programmes are treated like those on graduate schemes, receiving similar training but at a far earlier stage in their career.
For those who don’t want to give up on their university dream, but don’t feel they can make the financial commitment it entails, sponsored degrees are a path to consider. These, along with certain apprenticeships and school leaver programme, offer the possibility of attending university whilst in employment. Usually on a part-time basis, students can combine their higher education with real work, helping them maintain a secure financial footing whilst completing their studies.
Ultimately, it’s important that young people don’t feel they have to go to university. Rather than starting a degree because you believe it is the only viable career option, the university route should be driven by passion for the subject, not by peer-pressure or media misconceptions. Apprenticeships and school leaver programmes offer unparalleled opportunities for school leavers to gain qualifications, earn money and progress their career. Starting such a scheme by no means closes the door on higher education. Indeed, it may well open it, providing the financial help needed to fund a degree. If it’s the right option for a young person, they shouldn’t be afraid to do something different.
Guest post provided by Aaron Marchant of www.allaboutschoolleavers.co.uk
ABOUT THIS BLOG
Designed for professionals, the Career Alchemy blog mixes news, career trends and philosophy with "how to" advice to help you achieve happiness and success in your working life, no matter how much the world of work is changing.