3 Alternatives to University

There are many reasons why some teenagers decide not to go to university. If your child doesn't get good grades, it can contribute to them feeling like they've been 'boxed out' of the places they wanted to study. Alternatively your child's skills may not suit university or their dream career may require different qualifications than the ones universities can offer. More than half of young people haven't even been informed about alternatives to a university degree. This means that that they can't make informed decisions about their future or feel isolated from others if they don't fit into the typical school leaver path.

So what are the options? An important part of helping your teenager realise their potential is talking to them about the alternatives to university. By informing them of all the myriad options out there, the chances of them feeling enthusiastic and encouraged about their future increases. So don't leave your child in the dark - inform them of the options and together you can plan their bright future.

1. Retail

Whilst retail can sound like an equally generic route as University, it's actually a fruitful career choice. If your child doesn't want a typical 9 to 5 routine or has some experience in retail before, perhaps as a part time job, than it's great way to further your skills. Most of the top retail stores have entry level schemes that teach you all the basics of working in retail, these include customer service, stock checking and working with money which can translate to many other types of work.

The great thing about working in retail is that, whether it's a large organisation or small one, the opportunity for training and promotion is excellent. Retail stores tend to promote from within as a lot of their customer base has to do with working within the local community. If your child is passionate about working for a company that they love and they work hard, then the possibilities are limitless. Within a few years, your teenager could be receiving management training courses and on their way to becoming a manager!

university alternatives

2. Gap Year

A gap year doesn't sound like a route to work, but nowadays it is. With the increase of tuition fees, more and more young people are taking a year out of education to travel the world and review their options before they commit to something. A gap year can give your child time to reflect on their choices and also gain some experience. There are now gap years that offer experience or certification in certain fields in return for help in developing countries.

These gap years can be fun but are also providing vital work for charities or NGO's. They can be spent helping scientific research teams conserve wildlife in Madagascar or assisting in a school in New Zealand. Whilst a University degree is impressive, volunteering for a vital cause in an exotic location can also provide teenagers with the skills they need to get a job. This new experience may also change your child's perspective and they might want to seek a career working for charity and helping other people.

3. Apprenticeships

There has been a huge rise in the number of young people considering apprenticeships are a valid way of gaining employment. Apprenticeships are now being offered in lots of different career paths including, accountancy, hair and beauty, law and engineering. Employers want passionate, energetic young people who want to learn new skills and, because apprenticeships offer more 'hands on' experience then degrees, they are becoming seen as more valuable. There are also many options to choose from when looking; places like City & Guilds offer apprenticeships that are designed to meet the needs of the modern employer, learning new skills, gaining knowledge and being able to go into full time work once the course is completed.

In the past year £1.5 billion has been invested into apprenticeships by the government, meaning that there are a growing number of sectors which offer apprenticeships. This vote of confidence has validated apprenticeships as a viable form of education, without the hefty university bill. If your child is keen to work and knows exactly what they want to do, then an apprenticeship could be the best route for their future.

University isn't the only choice

Talk to your teenager about the options they have. There are a growing number of different routes into work and many of them are accessible to everyone. University isn't for everybody and schools don't always provide enough information to young people about other ways to gain employment. Let your child decide their future without being worried about gaining a university degree because their chosen career may not even require a degree and there may be other routes to it if it does. These three options are just a snapshot of the variety of choices young people have, educate your child and help them make the best choice for their future.

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