The future after A-levels: what next for the UK’s ‘young and bright’?
Now A-level results have been released, many of the young, bright and talented in the UK face imminent decisions on their futures - decisions which could have long-lasting bearings on their careers, lives and wellbeing.
Young people are presented with an eclectic range of options: doing a university degree, starting an apprenticeship, entering the working world or sunning it up on a distant beach for as long as their summer savings (and parents) can afford. All very exciting, certainly daunting, but perhaps not as straightforward as it may have been in the past.
With recent changes to university tuition fees, high unemployment rates - particularly among young people - and recognised skills shortages in key sectors, learners who would have typically gone down the graduate route are re-evaluating their options. For the first time in many years, things are perhaps not as straightforward as they have been before.
The suite of new higher apprenticeships, which have been developed by prestigious organisations such as PWC and CIPD, will enable learners to become anything from a commercial airline pilot to a project manager. Young people throughout England are now rethinking their perceptions of apprenticeships.
As an advocate of vocational education, I’m bound to say that higher apprenticeships are the way forward, but the evidence is compelling. Apprenticeships might not be the right ticket for everyone, but neither is university education. What we’re striving towards is a flexible education system where nobody is left behind, regardless of their finances, preferred learning style or ambitions. The higher apprenticeships provide learners across England with an opportunity, not only to earn a salary and gain valuable work experience while completing their studies, but to study something that interests them and will benefit the nation as a whole.