“In the summer we celebrated over 100 students gaining university places in the UK and further afield. Throughout this year, however, you may have seen or heard praise for the introduction of new style apprenticeships as an effective alternative to university and also concern over the mounting debt levels of students. It therefore seems natural to consider whether the university pathway is still a worthwhile option.
With my own daughter starting at university this week I want to use this article to present a number of reasons why I believe the university pathway is still a good choice for many students.
University admissions have increased by 25 percent over the last ten years and this has led to upskilling in the workplace with more career paths requiring a degree at point of entry. Completing a degree will therefore give our sons and daughters more career paths to choose from on graduation.
Employers increasingly expect applicants to have work experience on their CVs which is not always easy to come by so universities have responded by increasing the number of workplace opportunities within degree programmes. Top employers have themselves embraced this change, offering more ‘years in industry’ because they see it as an important part of their recruitment strategy. Employers also recognise that undergraduates learn valuable general employability skills during their degree programmes which they will bring with them to work.
If income and wealth generation are factors for you then the Office for National Statistics states that there continues to be a significant financial uplift across your working life if you have a degree. This is true even for those who take traditional non-vocational degrees.
All of these reasons clearly suggest many will benefit from a university experience but just as important is how a university pathway can support a student’s personal development. Universities offer a supportive route to independent living. Our sons and daughters will learn to live together with others who may be from very different backgrounds, they will need to take more responsibility and organise themselves, balance a budget etc. University gives young adults the time to mature and learn from their mistakes.
Many use the time to reflect on what values and direction they wish their life to take. Interestingly, universities are now increasingly assessed on student satisfaction and employability and have invested heavily in their careers and wellbeing provision.
University is certainly not the only pathway to the future but for many it serves as a useful next step on from Taunton.”

Richard Judd
Head of Careers