Research from think-tank the Sutton Trust has revealed that those who graduated from English universities last year owe an average of more than £44,000 under the £9,000 fees regime.

With no guarantee of a job after graduating and the potential to be saddled with debt, many parents will be questioning whether getting a degree really is the best option for their child. So, what are the alternatives?

Routes to employment

If your child was born on or after 1 September 1997, by law they must remain in education until at least their 18th birthday.  You might be surprised to know that the term “in education” covers more than just staying in school, and includes the following:

  • doing an apprenticeship
  • combining full time work or volunteering with part time education/training

In stark contrast to the debts run up by students choosing to pursue education through university, apprenticeships appeal to so many because they provide the opportunity to learn practical skills whilst also earning a regular wage. Upon successful completion of the course, the apprentice will have achieved a nationally recognised qualification to boot.

Gaining valuable skills

Apprentices develop many qualities which employers find desirable – regardless of the sector they start working in. However, there are many other benefits of doing an apprenticeship:

  • They enable apprentices to gain a good understanding of their chosen field because of the dual nature of the training, which combines practical and theoretical learning
  • They provide real-world practical learning to exacting standards in many different industries including childcare, construction, hospitality and engineering
  • They can help address and fill gaps in the apprentice’s literacy and numeracy skills
  • They open up excellent progression opportunities, both for the apprentice to gain further qualifications or to be promoted through the ranks in their place of work
  • They help build transferable skills in young people which are valued by employers, such as the ability to work as part of a team, using your initiative and self motivation

Before your child makes their choice about what to do after school, make sure they have considered all the options available to them outside of doing a degree. That way, they can make a decision which is suited to their needs; helping them to take the next step towards their future career.

If your son or daughter is interested in working with children, you can find out more about getting started with a childcare apprenticeship here.

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