Apprenticeships And Further Education
The take up for university places in England and Wales has never been higher, even though they carry the top level of costs in the UK, the Scottish being variable from nil to £9,000, and the Northern Irish under £4,000, the take up seems relentless.
The government system of tuition fee loans and maintenance fee loans still seem an acceptable price to pay for many, who see university as a natural progression of education, or indeed, lifestyle.
And lifestyle for many it really is, perhaps having never lived away from home before, it is part of the passage into adulthood, and character definition.
The government has been equally aware of the sections of young people to whom university is not an option, whether through academic inability, disinterest, or the desire to enter the workplace and learn a trade, business, or follow a calling.
The take up for apprenticeships has, like student numbers, risen too, with government enthusiasm continually backing the system, and a recent commitment to create 3 million apprenticeships by 2020.
Along with this, an Enterprise bill will contain, amongst other promotions, that apprenticeships are to be given equal legal treatment as degrees, that the commitment to create 3 million apprenticeships by 2020 will be enshrined in law, and that public sector bodies will be set targets to help reach 3 million.
An apprenticeship is not just for those who leave school before A levels, but those who started work straight from school and wish to follow either something different, or to help boost their chosen careers, there are three levels of apprenticeship.
They start with those school leavers with average GCSE grades, through to those with A levels or an Advanced Diploma, but the main issue for many will be the fact that, unlike university students, the apprenticeship learning pays a wage.
Academic type learning is part of the training, including if necessary, English and maths to ensure that the overall qualifications have a comparable gravitas to their GCSE and A level equivalents.
Day release or block release are the periods away from the work place, spent at either a local college, or specialist professional learning providers, to ensure that educational foundation is in place.
The intermediate apprenticeship provides the skills and qualifications for the path chosen, and is seen as level two, and the equivalent of 5 good GCSE passes, and will allow progression to an Advanced apprenticeship, if desired.
The Advanced apprenticeship furthers your skills and will result in qualifications equal to 2 A level passes, and allows entry to level 4/5, the Higher apprenticeship. This is the equivalent of a foundation degree, and all achieved without tens of thousands of pounds of student debt!