Emily (20) discuses whether University is essential to getting a job…

According to recent figures from the BBC, throughout 2019 there were over 250,000 people applying to go to university after completing sixth form or college. Ingrained in our educational beliefs, students are guided towards completing a UCAS application, going to open days at universities as well as being provided with information regarding what benefits university can provide. The belief that a university degree opens a world of opportunity is true but nevertheless there is the important question; is it what you know or who you know?”

Certain institutions do require applicants to have a degree if people want to get involved in vocations such as medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary science, as well as technical roles such as IT and computer science. Even throughout my job search as I’m currently unemployed, 80% of positions I viewed required applicants to have a degree or currently be studying for one. Regardless, some positions have given information on their websites stating that no experience is needed and more importantly no degree is needed as training will be provided. Even though these chances are far and few, it still gives hope to those wanting to work their way up to their desired position without the relevant qualifications.

The value of a degree is very specific in what the person makes of it – if you need a degree for a certain position then go ahead and obtain it. However, a wide variety of young people at university are unsure of what they want to do after they finish.”

This is an uncertainty which will lead to a possible lifetime of debt as current tuition fees stand at £9,250 (per year) for those studying in England as well as the prospect that 3 years of hard work and examinations may lead graduates to become unemployed and unsure of their prospects. Additionally, throughout this time students could have been gaining experience in their chosen industry from simply getting their foot into the door and then working their way up. It’s easier said than done, but many of my family members and friends without GCSE’s or even A-Levels have well paid jobs in their chosen industry.

Nonetheless, a degree is still considered something that sets an applicant apart from the rest for numerous reasons – the main being that they have spent 3 years or even longer studying a specific topic as well as gaining a range of skills from this. At university students are commonly offered placements throughout their time which gives them practical knowledge as well as knowledge that can express their desire for a certain position – which may most likely land them the job they applied for – making it who they know rather than what they know.

Either way, university is just one opportunity upon hundreds available for young people aged between 18-24.

The second most popular alternative to university would be to get an apprenticeship where there’s an opportunity to study and obtain relevant qualifications alongside gaining experience. Even though the minimum wage for apprenticeships are currently very low, it still gives people a chance to earn money rather than spend it if they choose to go to university. There’s nothing wrong with not knowing what you plan to do after leaving college or sixth form – just make sure that you spend your time wisely and research the hundreds of opportunities available.