Heading for University Perhaps
The opportunities for heading off to university these days, seem almost endless. Since the Government green lighted the re-christening of various technical colleges and higher education establishments, there seem to be universities on virtually every street corner.
This is not to belittle the prowess of an honours degree, especially since the initial enthusiasm for providing degree courses on trite or irrelevant subjects seems to have evaporated.
The feeling after the turn of the millennium, that going on to Uni after school was a given that virtually all pupils would naturally do so, has faded, and although the numbers of students applying every year for places is still very high indeed, there is an undercurrent of seeking alternatives.
From 2012, student fees were raised, meaning that the average student leaves university with £44 thousand worth of debt, and few guarantees of a relevant job. Stories are legion about burger flippers and parcel deliverers with good degrees, but no opportunities at their chosen career.
Nothing in life is guaranteed, but the £44 grand debt seems close. There is an alternative which the Government is pursuing with enthusiasm, money, initiative, and and that is the degree apprenticeship.
The degree apprenticeship is aimed at school leavers in the 18 to 19 years bracket seeking a different path into higher education. This not an alternative qualification, it is a course that runs from between one to three years, and ends with a Bachelors or Masters degree.
The degree incurs no debt, on the contrary, degree apprentices are employed continuously for the duration of the course, and receive wages from the beginning to end.
The latest part of Government initiative comes into play in April 2017, when the apprenticeship levy comes into play. The levy will require employers to invest in apprenticeships, with the amount invested relevant to the turnover of the company.
For those businesses with a payroll of over £3,000,000, the levy will be 0.5% of whatever the total is. Once the levy or tax, is paid, the company can access funding through an apprenticeship account, which will allow them to select and pay, Government approved training providers.
This is part of Government strategy to ensure more than 3,000,000 apprenticeship starts per year, from 2020. That figure covers all the apprenticeship levels, of intermediate, advanced and higher, but within it there is a defined concentration on increasing the number of degree apprenticeship starts.
Nothing in life is guaranteed, such as a job on completion of the course, but degree apprentices make highly employable graduates, and are often retained by the employers with whom they have trained.