Since 1932, Battersea Power Station has been a familiar sight in the very centre of London. Having been decommissioned in 1983, it has become one of the most recognisable landmarks in the city, and remained largely untouched by the bustling city it lives in - that is, aside from its successful career in showbiz, featuring an appearance on the cover of Pink Floyd’s 1977 album Animals, and its cameo in The Beatles’ 1965 film Help!

However, all this has begun to change. In 2014, plans to develop the half-forgotten area of central London were approved. Once a perfect location for a power station, now it is hoped it will be an ideal residential community that is fully-equipped with bustling shops, comfortable neighbourhoods, and leafy park walks, all in the vicinity of the beautiful riverside. More...

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.

If you caught our blog post yesterday you'd have seen that Britain's capital has quite a few construction projects in mind, and so skilled bricklayers are needed more than ever to keep up with the schedule. So much in fact, that wages are approaching an all-time high.

With wage inflation rates currently running as high as 10% thanks to skill shortages, bricklayers are are currently earning around £170 per day. However specialists are expecting this to rise to a staggering £200 a day!

Carpenters are another trade currently enjoying similar pay rates, with plasterers also cited as being in high demand.

These are big plans for London rennovation, and qualified constuction workers in the area won't only be finding themselves with plenty of work available - they'll also be able to enjoy these incredible pay rates. If you require the right qualifications to work onsite or want to retrain to work in the construction trade, Access Training Academies are here to help. With our intensive bricklaying, carpentry, plastering, tiling, plumbing, electric, gas and decorating training courses, you'll be able to quickly and effectively learn the skills you need from veteran tradesmen with years' of experience in the business.

Take advantage of the amazing construction opportunities available and give us a call on 0800 345 7492 today.

Via Construction Enquirer

Even if they aren't part of a trade, one of the first things people probably think about when they look at a building site is how safe it looks. Health and safety is always the top concern when it comes to building site work, and new statistics from the Health & Safe Executive show just how different things are in comparison with 40 years ago.

Their new document, titled 'Statistics on fatal injuries in the workplace in Great Britain 2014' suggests that the number of fatalities in Britain has dropped by 85% over the past 40 years, from more than 650 a year in 1974 to a record low of 133 today. The provisional data also states that there were a total of 42 fatal injuries to construction workers in the UK between 1st April 2013 and 31st March 2014, which is 9% lower than the average figure of 46.

Minister for State Health and Safety Mark Harper praised the findings, calling Britain "officially one of the safest places in Europe - and the world - to work". He also added: "While we all rightly curse false health and safety excuses, it's worth thinking how fortunate we are that we can go out to do a hard days' work, knowing our safety is being taken seriously."

HSE Chair Judith Hackitt also commented on the news, praising the Health and Safety at Work Act. "The Health and Safety at Work Act may be 40 years old but it – and our regulatory system – are world class."

Site safety may be better than ever, but construction workers looking to work onsite still now require a Green Labourers' Card to prove they are qualified to work and are familiar with the health and safety requirements. To earn this, applicants are first required to pass the Level 1 Health and Safety in a Construction Environment award. Here at Access Training we offer the City & Guilds version of this exam, which you can complete alongside your construction training or as an individual qualification. To find out more on the exam and the changes made the the Green Labourers' Card. give us a call on 0800 345 7492.

News via HVP Mag

Summer temperaturesIf the last few weeks have taught us anything, it's just how hot the British summer can get. This might be fantastic for when you're relaxing and sunbathing, but when you're working, things can get rather uncomfortable. On a construction site, it may be awfully tempting to strip down to keep cool, but this is a big risk to building site safety. Workplace equipment supplier Slingsby is urging workers to stay safe by continuing to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) such as hard hats and high visibility clothing.

These things should be provided by your employer under the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations, to cover health and safety risks where they can't be controlled in other ways. Slingsby encourage employers to ensure that their workers aren't wearing uncomfortable or ill-fitting clothes, and to take the various brands and styles into account when purchasing the right PPE.

Building site safety always comes first, even more so with the HSE currently on a blitz of construction sites in the UK. While the final figures are yet to be confirmed, during a 2-week period of inspections the Health & Safety Executive is estimated to have stopped work on 13 occasions due to poor conditions. Obviously these were due to more serious conditions such as exposure to hazardous substances and materials, but not having the right precautions could still lead to fines.

If you're a construction employer, it is your duty to keep your workers safe; if you're a worker its your responsibility to abide by the building site safety rules for the sake of your own life.

If you're considering a career in the construction industry but require the skills and qualifications to make it happen, give Access Training Academies a call on 0800 345 7492. We provide intensive training courses complete with City & Guilds accreditation in bricklaying, plastering, tiling, carpentry, plumbing, gas, electric and more. Even though our courses are far shorter than those you'll find at a college or similar facility, the quality of learning we provide is no different as our courses are staffed by tutors with many years' experience in the industry as professionals. Whatever your needs or goals may be, our team is ready to find the perfect course for you!

Get in touch to learn more about our training courses!

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