15/08/2012 07:46 BST | Updated 15/10/2012 06:12 BST

Want to Go Places but Not University? - Don't Follow the Crowd

Thursday is the day school leavers have been anticipating and dreading since the end of exams all those months ago. A-Level results day is here and it's time to make those vital decisions about where to go next.

This year, it will be different for students who previously would have planned to head to University. With tuition fees of up to £9,000 a year, a squeeze on household incomes and a tough graduate employment market, many young people are looking at alternatives. Figures from UCAS suggest that applications are down by over 7% this year.

An increasing proportion of young people are now realising that University is not necessarily their best option. There are plenty of other choices for those who want to further their career and education but don't want to go to University just yet. A great option for many young people is an Apprenticeship, where you combine working, learning and earning.

Pearson in Practice has offered Apprenticeships for over 10 years, providing young people with the opportunity to learn skills and earn whilst on the job. Apprenticeships cover traditional sectors such as Construction and Engineering but also newer industries such as Public Relations (PR), Creative and Digital Media, Marketing and Information Technology (IT). They all provide on-the-job training, qualifications and development with real-life work experience that can't be learnt through text books or seminars.

For many, not going to University can seem daunting. Young people think their career options will be more limited and it can feel lonely making big decisions that impact their future, especially with the added pressure from parents and friends.

What is different this year is that there are a wide range of Higher Apprenticeships that are available as a true alternative to University. These are equivalent to the first year of a degree and offer young people the chance to learn on the job in a supportive, professional atmosphere, focussed on their individual needs. By choosing this route, they can learn, earn and progress to a degree at a later stage.

One of the new Higher Apprenticeships we are offering is in PR, which we have developed in conjunction with the Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA), the professional body for the industry. Apprentices study nationally recognised qualifications, equivalent to a foundation degree, work with experienced PR professionals and learn whilst employed in a PR agency or department - earning that ever-so important wage.

PR is the perfect industry for a Higher Apprenticeship, there are no defined entry routes to the industry and no formal qualifications are required to work in the sector. In PR, experience in the industry is just as useful as academic qualifications. Hundreds of PR employers, from large and small agencies to national corporations are already on board with us recruiting PR apprentices right now.

We urge young people to embrace the opportunities out there that don't rely on a University degree by not following the crowd. For many young people there is a better option than debt and going to University, it's about going places through an Apprenticeship - the starting point to a long term career.

To find out more about the range of Apprenticeships, please visit

For more information on PR Higher Apprenticeships and to see all our latest vacancies here:

To find out more about the PR industry visit:

To find out more about other Apprenticeships and to register for all Apprenticeship vacancies go to