Why University Could Be a Waste of Time for School Leavers

08/08/2016 15:58

Here we are again, just a few days before the 2016 results day. Hundreds of thousands of students from across the country are eagerly awaiting their final results to find out whether or not they get that coveted University place.

Parents, friends and family across the country will be ridden with angst worried about whether their precious ones will get the grades they need to succeed to the next level of their education.

This year I have a startling question for you - what if you, or your son or daughter simply skipped Uni?

I mean, is it really worth it? Spending £9,000 a year, if not more, plus your accommodation and living expenses for a piece of paper which fundamentally ends you up with a carbon copy of the very same qualification and CV as the person sitting next to you - really? Is it worth it?

Justine Greening, our new Education Secretary, has plans to allow Universities with 'high quality' teaching to increase their fees above the already eye-watering £9,000 a year fee. Is there a suggestion here that Universities charging £9,000 or under are therefore sub-standard? The whole concept is absurd anyway, I've met hundreds of students who have been to some of the most prestigious redbrick and modern universities in the country and have left feeling deflated, uninspired and unsure which direction to take their career in. Now I'm not trying to say University is bad for everyone, we have some excellent lecturers and establishments in this country and for certain professions such as becoming a doctor, a dentist or a lawyer, there is no better place to start your career in many cases.

But I simply can't live with the fact that yet again hundreds of thousands of students are being funnelled into this narrow-minded system where a piece of paper somehow makes you more valuable than somebody else. Reports from new research suggest graduate salaries don't outweigh the student loan repayments versus those who don't choose the traditional route and I'm still convinced that taking a practical, innovative approach to your career is a new route that young people should consider seriously even when leaving school.

I left college to pursue my own business and have worked in the development sector up-skilling young people through innovative campaigns and programmes to encourage a more entrepreneurial generation. This led me to knock on the door of Buckingham Palace and meet the Queen just a month ago, so I like to think that I have at least gone some way to getting ahead of the curve.

So students, do you want to sit in front of lectures in a £9,000-a-year lecture theatre this year or choose a different route - an apprenticeship, real life work experience, or setting up a business? University is not the only option. A good place to start might be to check out some alternatives and people who've been there and done it at Give your future a chance this results day.