A degree, with its ever-elevated status, has become a means to a personal end. This elevated status, coupled with the economic concern of students, has also led to a proliferation of new degree subjects. It is now possible to study almost anything at university. And yet, many of these courses simply don't suit a degree structure, an issue many concerned with higher education seem all too happy to ignore.
It's that time of year again when thousands of young people put the final touches on their UCAS applications, hold their breath and hit 'send'. Then they anxiously wait for weeks until their 'life-altering' results come through. My son went through this process last year. I'll never forget his panicked face as he said, 'What if I don't get any offers?'
Deciding to quit can be an empowering decision, especially if you've been unhappy at work for a long time. It can also be the most frightening decision of your life. That's why you need to plan beyond the time when you unload 12 years of pent-up frustration on your manager, collect your things and walk.
As the drive to meet industry skills gaps present today gathers pace we must not forget, as industry leaders, that our young people are looking towards futures in their chosen fields that will far exceed our own, and must therefore be appropriately skilled not just for today but for tomorrow's business landscape too.
The IAC is giving learners something they have not had before - a national voice. The changing landscape of apprenticeships in this country, as Government endeavours to secure the vocational route as a central pathway into fulfilling careers, requires input from those who will be affected - the apprentices themselves.
The latest figures on youth unemployment from the Office for National Statistics - which show the unemployment rate for 16 to 24-year-olds is now more than double that of the wider population, with one in five young people not in employment, education or training (NEET) - paint an extremely worrying picture for today's young people, and those who work with them.
The idea of only awarding substantial public sector contracts to those companies that agree to train a significant number of the next generation of Apprenticeships is one that we fully endorse. Although this did not get through the last parliament, it is encouraging that this is now part of Labour party policy.