Further Learning Options

The academic life is not for everyone, and, though many Universities have adapted their courses to offer more vocational educations, the fact is that not everyone wants to commit three years of their lives to studying towards a qualification.

Add to this the rising cost of being a student, and many are choosing alternative options to studying for a standard degree.

For many, getting into employment and building towards their future is the priority and university offers no guarantee of that: recent statistics claim that for every graduate placement there are over 83 applicants.

Huge investment in tuition fees, accommodation and the cost of living for the duration of a university course may not be sound investment. And, in fact, some of the UK's most famous English entrepreneurs like James Dyson and Deborah Meadon chose to ignore the academic road on their way to business success.

Starting your education early in the real world may be the key to future success. Skill development is still a necessity to be competitive in your chosen field and thankfully, there's a wealth of options available to those looking to expand their skills and climb up the job ladder.


Apprenticeships have seen a resurgence of interest in recent years, with plenty on offer for those who prefer to learn on the job, and gain a qualification while bringing home a wage.

Apprenticeships can take between 1 and 4 years to complete and are offered by all sectors of industry. Anyone over 16 who is not in full time education is eligible.

Distance learning

It's still possible to gain a degree without attending an academic institution. Distance learning is a flexible approach to education that has been revolutionised by the internet. It allows students to take part in degree level studies without leaving home, and lets them make their way in the working world at the same time.

Course fees are a fraction of the traditional alternatives and without the need to move cities, accommodation and the cost of living can be significantly cut.

Many traditional Universities now offer distance learning curriculums as well as well-known providers such as the Open University. If your goals are short-term, a variety of commercial and higher education providers like www.icslearn.co.uk can offer shorter courses leading to qualifications such as BTEC and City and Guilds.

Gap Years

Those who have recently acquired A-levels and are seeking a break from formal education may be considering a gap year.

This might take the form of a work-based placement or a character-broadening global trek. Many are choosing to integrate volunteering into their travels, offering the chance to broaden their CVs with work that involves team building and project management.

Parents who roll their eyes at their children's desire to see the world are missing the point. Employers of all kinds look kindly on applicants who have shown the independence and curiosity to travel, and picked up skills like working with people, problem solving and leadership on their travels.

What do You Think?

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