No Image Available

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

If University isn’t an option. What are the alternatives?


According to UCAS reports this week. The number of UK students applying to start university this autumn has fallen by 8.9 percent. Just over 50,000 fewer students have applied to start September degree courses, compared to the same time last year. In England, university applications have dropped by an overall 10 percent, with a fall of under 5% in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.*

Whilst the drop in application numbers indicates less strenuous procedures for universities. Of those 50,000 non-applicants, what are their alternative options away from university? - Are they aware of them? As the government loosens focus on driving young people towards further education, this is their opportunity to support young people who not only have decided against going to university but also those who unfortunately haven't meet the benchmark.

It's important that we dont kid ourselves into thinking everyone who applies for university is guaranteed a place - the harsh reality is, due to a number of factors it's never been so diffulcult. However, there are plenty of alternatives to further education such as; Apprenticeships, work placements and volunteer schemes. The government must highlight the benefits of such schemes to ensure these individual's aren't 'Lost' if they fail to meet university entry requirements 

Apprenticeships and work-based qualifications have never been more heavily supported in the UK, not only by the government but most importantly by UK businesses as they see Apprenticeships as a profound way to give young people the skills they need to perform in a business and at the same time retain valued staff.

The support and backing starts with UK employers - both big and small, giving 16-24 year olds a chance to build their careers from the ground up. Those who are out of work, education or training should look to an apprenticeship to try and kickstart a career in their field of expertise.

Whilst we can only speculate on why university applications have declined, the general consensus seems to be that the Tory governments introduction of £9000 university fees is the main contributor in deterring young people.

The report also reveals that young people in disadvantaged areas are still almost three times less likely to apply to university than their richer peers, which worryingly suggests young people from poorer backgrounds are making life changing decisions to not go through with Further Education - purely because they've been priced out.

Shadow universities minister Shabana Mahmood said: "The UCAS application figures today show that the decision of the Tory-led Government to treble tuition fees to £9,000 is hitting young people and their aspirations."

The underlying objective should be to ensure young people dont become NEETS, as losing a generation of un-tapped talent would be a costly mistake. In the case of Further Education vs Employment, there should be no right or wrong answer but simply a well supported decision.

Nathan Pearson - Smith, Apprenticeship Ambassador for Youth Connextions.

*Source - ITN News

No Image Available

Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!