Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

University Not for All

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

University Not for All

Article excerpt

MANY college leavers will be thinking of university this month when it comes to post Alevel study.

But for some, studying for a degree at a further education (FE) college might be a better option, says Richard Thorold, principal of Gateshead College.

And it's not just sixth formers whomcould benefit by heading for the gates of their local FE facility, he says.

Mature students returning to education after a period of work, or after raising a family, are also taking university-level degrees at college, where they can benefit from smaller classes, a more hands-on approach and help with employment when they graduate.

The proportion of higher education taking place in colleges is now 10% - 286 out of approximately 400 colleges offer some form of HE.

And the upward trend is set to continue as more FE degree courses are introduced and the financial incentives for living at home during the current recession remain strong.

"University is not for everybody," says Richard, who himself returned to education after previous spells driving a bus and working as a warden in a wildlife park.

"Some people are better suited to college life.

"At university, an undergraduate might just be another face in the crowd of 200 others staring back at the lecturer, who invariably wouldn't know their name or if they hadn't turned up for lectures.

"Graduation can have its problems too. Graduates are often left up to their own devices to pursue their career path, with little guidance or support from the university." Gateshead College offers a number of university-level courses developed to meet the needs of specific industries and equip students with the confidence and skills to succeed in the workplace.

Paul Brown took a foundation degree in operations management at Gateshead College while holding down a full time job. …

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