Achieving a degree without actually going to university is a concept that sounds a little unorthodox right? Up until a week ago, this concept wasnt exactly a viable option for students but it has become possible with the UK governments latest introduction of the Get In. Go Far Apprenticeships Campaign. The new scheme is linked to a similar project which was launched last year and is aimed at encouraging young people to opt for work placements which they are not only remunerated for; they can earn a degree as well. The recently launched Get In. Go Far campaign boasts 40 apprenticeship standards thanks to the help of 200 employers and training providers which include Jaguar, ITV and Google. The high-profile placements offer students who are interested in learning new skills and gaining a degree at the same time the opportunity to do so without taking the traditional path of going to university.
The Secretary of State for Business Vince Cable made the following statement:
For too long there has been a divide between university and vocational education which has been damaging for both employers and young people. Placing university degrees and apprenticeships on an equal footing will help to break down barriers and better meet the needs of business.
Since I became Secretary of State we have expanded apprenticeship numbers greatly, particularly higher apprenticeships. The reforms to apprenticeships enable employers to design and deliver apprenticeships that meet their needs, giving young people valuable qualifications and helping them to build successful careers from television production to advanced manufacturing.
By combining apprenticeships with degrees, the scheme is certainly giving young people more options when it comes to choosing to go to university where spikes in tuition fees are increasing possibly deterring some young people to peruse higher education. In such a competitive job market, being a degree holder can be very beneficial, however not everyone can afford the price tag of going to university so with the help of this scheme more young people will be able to get the degree they want without having to break the bank in the process.
Its far too early to predict whether or not the governments latest effort to encourage young people to attain a degree via the new scheme will be successful. Statistics show that 67% of people who have undergone an apprenticeship have continued to work with the same employer. There have been just over 1.8 million apprenticeships in England to date which is a strong indicator of how successful apprenticeships are, however under the Get In. Go Far campaign young people can work, gain new skills and a degree is a completely different model.
It has to be considered whether or not employers will be impressed with a candidate who traditionally achieved their degree from a university or a candidate who achieved their degree courtesy of the BAE Systems route. Hopefully employers will not make any distinction between where or how a candidate got their degree. The same goes for young people, maybe the BAE Systems wont be for everyone, but for those who would like to bypass going to university to get their degree this scheme is the ideal choice because they will be able to demonstrate to employers that they have the right skill set in their area of expertise, plus hands on knowledge and a degree to match.
Image source – Apprenticeships.gov.uk