This summer, tens of thousands of students got their GCSE results, and now it is time for them to decide what they want to do next. While it can be tempting to assume that the vast majority of students will head off to university, in reality university numbers have been dropping.
UCAS recently revealed that university applications in the UK were down by 5% in 2017, which could indicate that more students are considering alternative forms of higher education. It isn’t hard to see why – increasing student loan fees means that university students typically have around £50K of debt when they graduate, and most students don’t have a guaranteed job. In fact, many students complain that they have to settle for poorly paid jobs that aren’t related to their degrees.
But what does this mean for the future of further education?
The possible rise of apprenticeships
It does seem possible that apprenticeships will become very popular over the next few years. In fact, they are already becoming more popular, and over the last two years, around 56,200 workers were enrolled on apprenticeships. This is for a wide range of reasons. Many students prefer the hands-on learning approach, while other students think that they will have better job prospects with an apprenticeship than they would with a degree. There is also another very obvious benefit, in that students can earn as they learn, so they don’t have to wait years before they start getting paid.
This is less risky than a degree, and there is still potential to earn a good salary. In fact, many students earn between £12,000 and £17,000 while they are training, and when they graduate, they can earn up to £25,000 in the first year if they have a management position.
Apprenticeships are also very varied. In the past, most apprenticeships were linked to manual labour, such as working in construction or as a plumber, but today, you can study hundreds of different subjects, including IT, hospitality and creative design. This means that apprenticeships are appealing to a wider range of people than they did in the past.
Could apprenticeships be the future for GCSE students?
It seems that right now, both apprenticeships and university are popular options for GCSE students, but it is likely that apprenticeships will continue to grow in popularity. After all, there are lots of benefits to doing an apprenticeship, especially for the students who don’t want to saddle themselves with debt.
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