Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

There's More Than One Way to Get Ahead; Vocational Training and Apprenticeships Are on the Increase, According to the Association of Accounting Technicians, and Could Offer a Way to Achieve a Qualification More Quickly and without the Same Degree of Debt

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

There's More Than One Way to Get Ahead; Vocational Training and Apprenticeships Are on the Increase, According to the Association of Accounting Technicians, and Could Offer a Way to Achieve a Qualification More Quickly and without the Same Degree of Debt

Article excerpt

Byline: NIKI CHESWORTH

UNIVERSITIES, vocational qualifications and apprenticeships have been making headlines, with much discussion about their value and the role they play in our society.

It can be a minefield of confusing and contradictory messages for young people and their parents. But now, more than ever, young people should think long and hard about the career they want and invest time to think about the best ways to get their career off to a flying start.

Research conducted at AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) has revealed that those between the ages of 16 and 18 have quite contradictory views on university and, more importantly, where a degree can lead.

While university education was high on the wish list for 16 to 18-year-olds with 79 per cent saying they still planned to go to university despite the hike in tuition fees, 61 per cent of those surveyed did not know tuition fees alone could leave them with a debt of up to [pounds sterling]27,000 after a three-year degree.

"Previously young people embarked on a university experience without taking a long hard look at whether it was the right choice for them," says Jane Scott Paul, chief executive at AAT. "Now young people and their parents need to question the value of a degree, knowing that it could be a very costly mistake. Employment and earning prospects vary greatly by university and course."

The report also revealed that schoolleavers were not getting independent career advice, and believed that degrees are necessary to enter the professional arena. In fact, 45 per cent of school-leavers believe you need a degree to work in accounting, 36 per cent believe you need a degree to work in the field of engineering and 22 per cent believe you need a degree to work in the IT market.

"Yet in the field of accountancy and finance there are much valued nongraduate routes into the workplace," continues Scott Paul. "Many young people train on the job through vocational learning while earning a salary, gaining work experience and working their way up the ladder. As a result, many often gain chartered status much quicker than someone who went down the traditional university route. …

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