In recent years, the rate of young people applying for university has increased dramatically. As of 2011-2012, 49% of all 18-year-olds attended university - the highest level recorded to that date.

Alternatives to University

Image source: Kit via Wikimedia Commons

Although this number fell from around 1,100,000 to around 975,000 in 2012 due to the substantial increase in tuition fees, the UK’s university graduate intake has slowly risen again, touching on the 1,000,000 mark in 2014-2015. Even so, university remains the most popular route into the working world for young people.

But at what cost? 

With so many young people going to university, many industries and trades are bearing the brunt of rapid decline in growth, despite demand remaining just as high, if not higher.

What’s more is that university seldom fulfills the expectations of those attending. On average, around 24,840 UK graduates per year are employed in admin, secretarial jobs, office jobs, or as waiters, bartenders, road sweepers and self stackers, and 58.8% of UK graduates end up in jobs not related to their degree. Given that 26,000 students dropped out of university in 2013/14, it might not be all that it’s cracked up to be.

Read more: I’ve Dropped Out Of University: What Can I Do Next?

A perhaps more concerning statistic is that over 16,700 students are unable to find work six months after leaving university; despite teachers, parents and perhaps students themselves preferring university as the ‘safe’ option, these figures suggest otherwise.

If you are among the growing number of school leavers and students who feel that university might not be the right choice, read on for 5 alternatives to university that you may wish to consider.

1. Apprenticeships & Traineeships

If you’d prefer not to pay the thousands of pounds for tuition fees at university, but still need to acquire valuable skills and qualifications, then an apprenticeship or traineeship might be the best route for you.

Apprenticeships and traineeships are very good alternatives to university. They give you the opportunity to experience the world of employment, whilst earning a decent wage; you’ll also gain a qualification on completion.

In essence, it’s like paid work experience in your chosen field, and one which will greatly increase your employability. Combining valuable work experience and training will give you the necessary skills to start your chosen career path.

Today, apprenticeships and traineeships are not restricted to the traditional trade routes alone - they include a vast range of careers, from engineering to accountancy, publishing to veterinary science.

Read More:10 highest paid jobs that don’t require a degree

2. Gap Year

If you’re still undecided about which direction you want to take by the time you finish school, there is no need to despair. People don’t always know for sure what it is they want to do, perhaps not until years later.

Gap years are an increasingly popular choice for people in this situation. Taking time to consider all your available options, give yourself a break from education, and perhaps get some life experience working or travelling, can certainly be beneficial.

It might also be an opportunity to gain new qualifications in your spare time and enhance your personal statement or CV to improve your employability.

3. Get a Job

Not everybody is destined for an academic route. And it’s perfectly acceptable to hop off the education train after your GCSEs or A Levels and head straight into the working world.

If you aren’t interested in an academic future, but would much rather get your hands stuck in, the last thing that’ll appeal to you after finally leaving school is... well, more school

A good option for you could be to cash in on the qualifications you’ve earnt at your time in school and begin your working life at 16 or 18 years old. If you have the right attitude and are hard working, you could find yourself moving from rung to rung on the career ladder in no time.

4. Studying Overseas

Why not combine a gap year with a university experience and study overseas? If you are excited by both the idea of travelling and learning, this might be the way to go.

With several overseas studying schemes available to students, this option is increasingly popular. It is considered favourably by employers, who feel that such students are often flexible and culturally mobile, which can set you apart from other employees.

Alternatively, you could study overseas as part of your course, if not for the whole duration of it. Many courses today offer a year’s placement in another country which could provide both a hugely beneficial insight into your study, whilst providing you with those experiences which come with travelling.

5. A Career in the Trade Industry

Trade Career - Alternative to University

Not everybody wants to continue down the academic route after school, and the trade industry is an excellent alternative to higher education.

Tradespeople such as plumbers, electricians and gas engineers are thriving off the skills shortage that's currently plaguing the industry. As a result, the trade industry is set to boom.

In addition to this, with a rapidly rising UK population and huge housing and road developments proposed for the future, tradespeople are virtually guaranteed a healthy, stable and rewarding career.

With a huge workforce needed to make these developments happen, as well as the maintenance and installation of appliances for years to come, a career as a tradesperson could be the perfect for you.

Become a Fully-Qualified Tradesperson with Access Training

If a career in the trade appeals to you more than going university, take a look at the courses available at Access Training today.

With the help of our experienced course advisors, we can put you on the right path to a successful, fulfilling career. Talk to us today for more details.

We're well over the halfway point of 2014 and even now the construction industry's huge growth spurt still shows no signs of slowing down. There have been so many pieces of news coming out lately that doing a blog post for every one of them would have taken ages! So here we've put together some of the latest headlines to have hit trade and construction news websites to show why it is a better time than ever for Britons to consider a career in the construction industry;

That's quite a few stories, all of which are pointing to the same two conclusions - construction growrth is at an all-time high, and skilled workers are going to be desperately in need to make sure this growth continues. Whether you're a school leaver or someone looking for a fresh start in a brand new job, Access Training Academies can help make that career in the construction industry happen. We specialise in all forms of construction training, including carpentry, plastering, tiling, bricklaying and painting/decorating - all of which have been specially designed to train you to the level of professional in a short and effective time frame. Along the way you'll earn the proper qualifications needed to start your new career, learning from tutors who've spent years' working in the industry. Despite the short timeframe, there's no quality skimped on our courses and you'll also have the additional benefit of learning trade secrets from those who know the ins and outs of the business.

For more information on our range of construction courses, give Access a call on 0800 345 7492 today and we'll find the perfect construction course for you.

We've posted plenty of blog entries about how changing careers into construction right now because of the big industry boom that's going on, but what about the other great reasons beside wages and job opportunity? New research from AXA Business Insurance looked at hundreds of UK tradespeople to find out more about them.

The old stereotype of trade work just being for those who don't want to go to/dropped out of university couldn't be more wrong, with over a third of respondents (37%) being university educated. Meanwhile 83% had formal qualifications in their respective trades (such as an NVQ Level 2 diploma), and 70% had gotten where they are today through an apprenticeship. In turn, more than half had then extended these opportunities to other newcomers to the trade by offering a formal apprenticeship within their own businesses.

Another stereotype that's slowly being broken down is that trade work is just a man's game. Though the growing amount of female tradespeople still only represented one in ten within the research, two thirds of these were under the age of 35 - suggesting that many women are now considering it to start our careers.

The decision to be your own boss and go self-employed is also proving to be increasingly popular - with over half of respondents going on to set up their own business. 28% revealed that their introduction into the trade was through a family business, while half also said they had worked in another industry before settling on their trade. That just goes to show how it's never too late to make a career change!

So how about a bit more of their working routine? According to the data, the UK's tradespeople are working an average of 41 hours a week, taking around 2 and 3/4 week's holiday a year. The majority (89%) will work weekends some of the time while one in five always work weekends. But despite this, when asked to rate their job happiness on a scale of 1 to 10, the average came out at eight suggest most tradespeople are content with their way of life. And of course, if working weekends is going to be a problem, as a self-employed tradesperson you'll be able to choose your own hours!

So there you have it, the other side as to why joining a trade can be an amazing career path. This research just highlights how tradespeople can come from all manner of different backgrounds with different skillsets, but all get to enjoy the same rewards. The same applies to our trades training courses - we welcome students from all different backgrounds, gender, experience and skill levels. All you need with us is the determination to make your new career a reality. To find out more about the range of electrician, plumbing, gas and construction courses we have on offer, please just give us a call on 0800 345 7492.

Via HVP Mag

Why not start a new career?The steps to retrain and start a new career aren't quite as hard as many people think, but there's always one obstacle that makes the decision much harder than it needs to be - fear. The fear of it not quite working out, the fear of what other people might think of your new career path, the fear of struggling to find (and pass) the training you require...these and many other fears are preventing people from making their dreams come true. However, these fears will only stop you if you let them, and this can be avoided with three simple steps to helping that dream career become a reality.

Play to your strengths

The various construction/trade industries all rely on different skillsets that realistically may or may not be suitable. Trades such as bricklaying or plastering place greater emphasis on physical strength and stamina, while electrical and gas engineering training require more theory knowledge and calculating skills. Knowing what you excel at is the key to making your new career a success, but be sure to also do a good amount of research into your potential new career before starting down the path. What qualifications do you need? Where can you train? What will the course entail? These are the kind of questions you should be asking, and ones that our team of course advisors would also be happy to answer for you.

 

Take it one step at a time

Even if you're dead-set on what you want to do with your life, the thought of rushing into a new career can still be incredibly daunting. At the same time, procrastinating can also doom something to failure before it's even gotten properly off the ground. Don't just make a website or twitter and then leave it to die; instead, wait until you're good and ready to do things like that . Take it slowly - we've already mentioned research, so move on to writing your goals down on paper. Discuss your plans with friends and family - you never know, they might have work that needs doing that you can eventually take on or even have some handy contacts in the industry. Come to one of our training centres, have a look around, and discuss your needs with our course advisors. Then, when you feel ready, you can book the date for your training course and have plenty of time to prepare yourself.

 

Prepare a safety net

While we by no means think failure is a likely thing (in fact, we're confident it'll be quite the opposite), it would be wrong of you to not prepare for the worst just as a precautionary measure. Make sure you have an idea of where you could turn for a job should your new career not turn out the way you expect, and then once that's written down, keep it safe and you need never think about it again unless it comes up. It's also good to be sure you have ample finances to keep yourself afloat while you're training. If you're currently employed you might want to hold onto that job for as long as possible while you retrain. This is why we've made our courses flexible - so that you can train when you have the time.

 

That should get some of the fear out of the way! Now, here are some very real facts that demonstrate why now is the time to start a new career as a professional plumber, electrician, gas engineer or construction worker. The UK is always short of professional tradespeople to perform all kinds of domestic installations and fixings, and with new housebuilding on the rise that shortage is only going to increase. There simply aren't enough bricklayers, plasterers, carpenters and tilers around to help set the houses up, and even when there are, where are the electricians, plumbers and decorators who are able to turn that house into a home?

Construction/trade careers are cited among the happiest around, offering the right level of challenge to match the skills required. The hours and pay rate are enviable too, especially if you choose to go self-employed!

Still, there's no wrong time to start a new career. These trades aren't just a young man's game, nor are they something best suited only to older people; if you've got the drive and dedication to earn your qualifications and make the dream come true, then you're exactly what employers are looking for.

To find out more about what's on offer here at Access Training, give us a call on 0800 345 7492. Keep your end goal in sight, and then not even fear will be able to stop you.

Although construction productivity is on the rise, its full potential is being held back by a worrying skills shortage across all sectors. With a significant portion of the workforce set to retire over the next few years, more needs to be done to encourage young people to take up construction training courses and join a workforce desperately in need of expansion. And a recent survey from the Edge Foundation has unearthed some rather worrying results...

It found that over a third of students are being actively discouraged from vocational education by schools, being told that they will be more successful if they choose the academic pathway. 22% were even told that they were "too clever" for vocational education. On the parent side of things, only half (51%) encouraged their child's choice to pursue a vocational career as opposed to the 74% that would much prefer to support them through an academic route.

Thankfully the survey did find out some positive results for the construction industry. Those that chose vocational careers were revealed to be just as happy with their choice as those that opted for the academic route, with earnings comparable between the two. 

In response to the survey, Edge Foundation CEO Jan Hodges was disappointed that so few parents and teachers saw vocational education as worthwhile, despite it yielding equal levels of happiness, job satisfaction and financial gain. Pointing out that a skilled workforce is essential to the British economy, she said:

"The stigma attached to vocational learning is old-fashioned and unjust."

At Access Training we agree that the negative stigma attached to joining the construction industry and other vocational careers needs to stop. The benefits of an academic pathway are not as glamorous as they are made out to be, nor are the chances of success. Think about it - if everyone is heading in that direction are there really going to be jobs to support everyone? The answer is obviously no, and this is why more and more graduates are coming out of university and heading straight into office jobs or unemployment. Meanwhile the construction industry is welcoming more new recruits than ever, but there simply aren't enough skilled labourers to fill the gap.

Construction training is not what many people make it out to be - it may rely more on physical skill than academia, but that doesn't mean there isn't an intergral element of theory to it. And this goes for all construction trades - whether it be bricklaying, carpentry, plastering, tiling or even painting and decorating. The same goes for other vocational trades such as electrics, plumbing or gas installation. A trade career can be challenging but ultimately rewarding, providing excellent job satisfaction as well as plenty of reward. Most importantly, what you learn on your trades training course is a skill for life.

Our training courses provide students with all the skills and knowledge they need for a long and prosperous career in the sector of their choosing, along with all of the relevant qualifications needed to be considered qualified by industry bodies. You will be taught in our state-of-the-art centre by industry professionals, each with a number of years' experience in their specific trade. Upon completion, you'll find a world of opportunity and career growth at your fingertips.

So does the academic route really sound that much better? Give Access a call on 0800 345 7492 to find out more about how a vocational career can change your life!

Get in touch to learn more about our training courses!

First Name *
Surname *
Telephone Number *
E-mail address *
Ask A Question *
 
Security Character Security Character Security Character Security Character Security Character Security Character
Enter Letters (No Spaces) *