Degrees come in many shapes and sizes
Degrees come in many shapes and sizes but mainly they are undergraduate degrees you need to search for and they are three years in length. Other types of degrees can be Foundation Degrees (usually 2 years in length with the option to top up to a full degree in your third year) or Sandwich degrees (degrees where you have a year in industry or a year abroad). Some degrees offer an MA or MSC as part of their initial sign up, this means your degree will be 4 years in length too.
Degree apprenticeships are also really popular at the moment and consist of you working in an industry with time out to go to university and complete your degree. Firms will pay you whilst you study and may even pay for your degree or part of it. These are being launched in phases with a small amount of subjects being catered for at the moment, such as management, chemical sciences, digital solutions and legal services.
Universites fall into 4 main types – Oxbridge, Russell Group, Red Brick and newer universities. Oxbridge incorporates the top 2 universities in the Uk – Oxford and Cambridge. These are very competitive and to get in your will need top grades but also to have shown a real dedication outside of your subject to your subject. Your supercurriculum activities are crucial to this. Russell Group Universities are a group of 24 universities, encompassing Oxbridge. These universities are research intensive universities, meaning the lecturers and staff are highly engaged in research and development. These have high grade entries and are competitive universities to get into. Red Bricks are the older Universities that are not Russell Group but have always held University status. Newer Universities used to be the old Polytechnics and University Colleges or Colleges of Higher Education.
In the North West, examples of Russell Groups are Manchester and Liverpool. Newer universities are universities such as Edgehill, UCLAN, Liverpool Hope, LJMU.
If you don’t want to go to a university and study directly and would rather do an online or correspondence course whilst working or gaining more experience, you can apply to the Open University. This allows you to study a degree online
Apprenticeships can be followed from the age of 16 but doing your A-Level qualifications can take you onto the next rung of the ladder. When searching for apprenticeship places after your A-level qualifications you should be looking for Higher or degree apprenticeships. Higher apprenticeships are pitched at a Level 4 or 5 and encompass training, work and more qualifications. You will be working, getting paid, gaining industry experience as well as studying for your next step too.
Apprenticeships put you directly at the heart of your career. Over 50% of graduates are not using their degrees at the present moment, but apprenticeships lead onto real work, vocational qualifications and excellent experience that no employer will scoff at. Many apprentices are kept on at the end of their training meaning you could land in your career at 18, as opposed to 21 or 22 if you did a degree. If you did want to top up to a degree after your apprenticeship, you could enrol at University then or complete an Open University course whilst working, meaning you have the best of both worlds.
Apprenticeships encompass a huge range of subjects, from digital media and customer services, legal and financial apprenticeships, childcare and health care to construction.
Some major businesses run high quality apprenticeships, such as Barclay’s, Santander, United Utilities, Bowmer and Kirkland, Jaguar Landover, Mersey travel, NHS, and BAE systems. It is worth looking at the different companies websites as well as searching on the apprenticeships websites too. Other apprenticeship providers in and around the St Helens area are – Waterside training (Engineering/Science apprenticeships), Baltic Training (ICT apprenticeships), St Helens Chamber (A wide variety of apprenticeships) and many more. Also, check out St Helen’s college or City of Liverpool College.
Of course you may choose to go straight into employment after completing your Level 3 qualifications. For some people, 18 becomes the time comes that they wish to experience the world of work. If this is the case, students need to think about having the necessary work experience under their belts to gain employment and a good CV and covering letter prepared. They also should have engaged in a careers guidance interview to ensure this is the right direction and interview practice to be ready for their next step. For further useful employment websites, also see the labour market section with employers and apprenticeship providers in the north west region and the employability section of the careers website too.
Not everyone wants to work for a boss and some people might want to strike out on their own at 18, start their own business or business’. Although careful guidance and mentoring may be needed to get your fledgling company up and running, St Helen’s Chamber and the Prince’s Trust are but two companies that will do this for 16 – 24 year olds. If you have a head for business, an eye for finance and marketing and a budding idea then check out the websites below and get in touch before you leave college in order to get your business plans underway.
Maybe you could sign up for extra training and development from MOOCs or even the Open University as your business develops too!