Teens turning backs on university debt for apprenticeships

SPIRALLING university fees mean more school leavers are opting for an apprenticeship instead of a degree.

Careers service bosses in Coventry and Warwickshire say young people reluctant to take on huge debts in an uncertain job market are looking instead at apprenticeships.

Chief executive of CWSP – The Careers Guidance Company – Steve Stewart, said: “There is a very clear interest from 16-year-olds who don’t want to go to university because of the debt.

“They are interested in apprenticeships because they can earn and learn at the same time.

“We have also got 18-year-olds who are in the sixth form or at college applying. And we have an increase in the numbers applying after 18.

“The reasons are purely economic. We have the highest levels of youth unemployment in the nation’s history including high levels of graduate unemployment.

“People can go online and look at apprenticeship places around the country in the same way they can look for university courses.”

Chartered accountant Siobhan Harkin, 25, was put off university by the prospect of debt and uncertain employment prospects. She was also put off by the fact that it’s only possible to do part of a chartered accountancy qualification at university. The rest is done in the work place.

In her last year at Coventry’s Cardinal Newman School she dropped her plans to do a degree in finance.

Instead she started an apprenticeship with Leigh, Christou LLP based in Binley Road, Coventry.

She said: “I’m not surprised apprenticeships are getting more popular. I keep hearing on the news about people who have left university and haven’t been able to get a job.”

Apprentices can legally be taken on at £2.60 an hour.

Most are taken on either at the minimum wage which is £3.68 an hour for 16 to 17-year-old school leavers and £4.90 for 18 to 20-year-olds.

Some employers such as Jaguar Land Rover pay more. There is fierce competition for their apprenticeships.

Paul Champion
Strategic Project Manager

Mobile: 07540 704920

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