For generations, university was the dream goal for school leavers and their parents. A chance to cut their teeth in the adult world, further their qualifications, and set themselves up for a well-paid job.
But with the number of applications falling for universities across the country, something has changed. So, why are fewer people are going to university, and where are they going instead?
Once upon a time, university in the UK was almost free.
While the current system means that graduates don’t repay their fees until they’re earning over £21,000 a year, a large number of graduates are struggling to find the higher-paid work they were told their degree would allow them to aspire to. And with tuition fees now sitting around £9,000 a year, this leaves most graduates with about £40,000 of debt after completing their course.
The feeling that this debt looming over graduates’ finances has deterred many young people from going to university, and that’s without taking into account the job prospects graduates are now faced with.
Average student satisfaction rates have fallen consistently over the last few years. This takes into account factors like support from the university, quality of teaching/tutoring, course structure and crucially, career prospects after graduating.
Last year the government released sets of data about the career prospects of a degree, broken down by subject of study and institution. While some courses have great earning potential, the data showed that a large number of courses don’t lead on to well-paid employment afterwards, which is why the majority of people choose to go to university in the first place.
Increasingly people are realising that they don’t need a degree to secure the jobs they want.
A lot of young people have realised that the traditional classroom style of learning doesn’t work for them. Instead, they’re looking for the blend of qualifications and practical skills that will set them up for the future.
Not only does this allow them to secure relevant employment quicker, but it also helps many people stay focused on their learning, and more likely to secure a qualification instead of dropping out.
So, if a different style of learning can better set you up for your chosen profession and improve the likelihood of you earning your qualifications at all, it’s easy to see why this can be preferable to a degree.
For most courses, university takes 3-4 years to complete, with some courses requiring a placement year in the industry. During this time, many students can struggle to make ends meet without financial support from parents, and some courses make it difficult to take a part-time job to supplement living costs.
Another growing complaint amongst graduates is that the content of a course can’t always keep up with developments in the industry – particularly in fields such as Software Development. It’s easy to see why some people would istead get straight to working and earning, but it doesn’t have to come without more qualifications.
Apprenticeships allow you to both study and earn at the same time, without the debt that comes with a degree. As part of your programme, you’ll spend 20% of your time completing training towards your qualifications, with the rest of your time spent earning and learning in a practical environment with one of our top London employers.
There is a huge range of apprenticeships available – from Software Development to Digital Marketing, our apprenticeship programmes can give you the confidence and skills that you’ll need to land a well-paid job after completion.