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Results day university entries down 2% – What are the alternatives?

With tuition fees continuing to rise and an increasingly-saturated graduate market, young people are considering alternative options to university

Last week’s A-level results revealed a number of statistics, not least that results day acceptances were down by 2% on last year. Although thousands more went on to receive university places through the clearing system, there are many who will be left feeling unsure of what steps to take next.

With tuition fees continuing to rise and an increasingly-saturated graduate market, young people are considering alternative options to university. Of course, there are many other avenues young people can pursue to gain a successful career. Darren Diamond, CEO at online recruitment service DYWAJ – Do You Want A Job? gives some alternatives to university.


Apprenticeships can be a great alternative to university, as you train while you work, which means you are earning money while gaining an NVQ qualification. What’s more, if you are successful you will usually be offered a full-time job at the end of the apprenticeship. This can often mean a quicker progression in a company in contrast to peers who will spend three or four years at university and, in addition to this, there won’t be any debt at the end of it! Apprenticeships can last between twelve months and four years and are open to those over 16 years of age, with opportunities in almost every sector.


Traineeships were introduced in 2013 and offer a similar opportunity to apprenticeships but typically last between six weeks and six months. This makes them a short but valuable option for those not wanting to go to university. They are available for young people between the ages of 16 and 25.

Short college courses

For those looking for a qualification in a more specific industry or sector, there are plenty of short courses at colleges that can be taken as an alternative to a degree. For example, if you want to go into catering and hospitality, fashion and design or vehicle mechanics you can opt for a course which will give you the knowledge needed to kick-start your career in these areas. These can range from foundation degrees to Higher National Diplomas and BTECs.

Working your way up

For those who don’t want to go into higher education, looking for a job could be the right call. Starting at the bottom of a company can be one of the best ways to show your worth and determination in making it to the top. Once you have a few years of experience under your belt, your CV will look much stronger and attractive to potential employers, meaning you can take the next step on the career ladder.

Be your own boss

If you have a great business idea and an entrepreneurial spirit, you could start your own business. While many see this as an expensive option, small start-ups can often grow into big enterprises. There are also plenty of start-up organisations offering to help and give advice to young people, such as the Prince’s Trust. Who’s to say you couldn’t be the next Sir Richard Branson or Lord Sugar?

Take a gap year

If you’re undecided about whether you want to go to university, a gap year can be a rewarding way of spending a few months trying different experiences and learning new things. Whether you want to go travelling or work abroad for a year, it is a sure way of gaining valuable experience. You may decide afterwards that you want to apply for university, or follow another, alternative career path.

If you are looking for a job, upload your CV to where employers will find you!

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