Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Higher education is crucial – You might not be aware of all the options

Over half of students in England and Wales have no back-up plan if they fail to get the grades they need, research by Which? University found.

Researchers questioned over 1000 17 and 18-year-olds and found that 54% said they had not made any preparations for the possibility that they might not get the grades for either their first or second choice universities.

A typical University degree isn’t the only way to progress your career

University is an experience, but it’s not for everyone and there are other paths to your dream career.  
It’s important that you don’t feel pressured into taking a university course that you don’t like. Tuition fees could be raised even further past their current £9,000-a-year cap. You don’t want to find yourself in a position where you are paying £27,000 in tuition fees for a degree that you don’t value.

Make sure you are choosing university for the right reasons. Many often believe it is the only option, even if it doesn’t fit with your goals.

Students need to weigh up what their employment prospects will be after degree study against the debt they will accrue and seriously consider what an alternative educational and training route may bring in terms of expense, career progression and financial rewards,’ writes Jason Geall from The Student Room.

What else is there?

Avoid making a snap decision that could affect your future career and financial standing; educate yourself on all of the opportunities available.


You could be earning money, getting hands-on experience and making a real contribution to a company with an Apprenticeship. You’ll also completely bypass massive student debt and will finish your apprenticeship with more first-hand work experience than the majority of students graduating from university.

Apprenticeships combine hands-on experience with industry qualifications

What’s more, you’ll also get training leading to industry recognised qualifications. When 
you’re Apprenticeship ends you’ll be fully qualified to work. Plus, once you finish, it’s highly likely you’ll be able to stay with your employer and continue working. In fact, 98% of Firebrand Apprentices stay with their employer’s after their Apprenticeship finishes.

Thousands of organisations across the UK value and support their Apprentices. With a massive range of areas to work within, you’ll find a great entry-point to get on track to your dream career.

If you want to pursue a career in IT – you’re in luck. The IT industry is booming but the UK just can’t keep up with the demand for skilled professionals. As a result, we are currently experiencing a skills gap that could cost the UK as much as £2bn a year.

There are hundreds of great IT Apprenticeships available - with a bit of determination you’ll soon see your skills in demand across the country. The UK will need an additional 750,000 skilled digital workers by 2017 – you could be amongst this number.

School leaver’s programmes

A school leaver programme is a fixed-term, paid job available to students after sixth form that provides an intensive, structured training programme and in some cases, professional qualifications.

Over 300 top employers offer these competitive programmes and many more join this number each year. Companies are beginning to recognise the talent and enthusiasm younger students can bring to their organisations. As a result, they are investing time and money into training and developing their School Leaver programmes.

The majority of programmes offer a competitive salary and on top of that, you won’t have to pay for the valuable qualifications.

Sponsored Degrees

Sponsored degrees aren’t a typical university experience. Companies want to develop their own talented graduates by taking students and sponsoring them through degree level courses. The end result is a highly-trained graduate who understands their sponsor company in-depth.

You’d work with the company during holidays or work part-time and study at university for the rest of the time.

You’ll benefit from a salary and valuable work experience. Plus, you’re likely to finish your degree without any debt and be able to walk straight into a job with your company at the end of the process.

It’s important you consider your career choice as some sponsored schemes may require you to work for the company immediately after your graduate. Also, you will have a very different experience to most undergraduates – you will likely be working when others are socialising (especially during the holidays).

It’s not too late to plan ahead

Whatever you plan to do once you receive your results - keep Jason’s words in mind - "The worst thing would be making a snap decision under pressure that could affect a future career and finding yourself on a course you don't like.”

"There's still time, now, to get it right."