Uni might not be the passport to secure employment you’re looking for

“Being a graduate is not a free pass to graduate employment.” says UCAS chief executive, Mary Curnock Cook

The head of UCAS has given graduates a stark warning in the run-up to A-level results day. Quoted in a Sunday Times interview, Mary Curnock Cook stated that more people go to university today than got five GCSEs in 1997, resulting in a highly competitive job market and challenging times for graduates.

This compares to the apprentice market where companies all over the country are actively searching for apprentices to meet their growing business needs, while paying them a wage, providing professional training and nationally-recognised qualifications.

While graduates have seen a fall in their average salary over the past five years according to the latest official statistics, the minimum wage paid to an apprentice increases this October to £3.30 per hour, although this may be higher depending on employer, age, region and sector, with many apprentices earning over £200 a week.

A new report published by The Edge Foundation suggests that fewer than half of all graduates are in professional employment within six months of graduating from university, giving them little chance of paying off their student debt, which averages around £45,000 (BBC news, 2014).

Speaking to TES in a recent interview, Edge’s acting chief executive, David Harbourne, suggested that alternative routes to employment might be considered by young people receiving their A-level results in 2015:

“Mr Harbourne said going to university at 18 no longer offered a fast track to employment, and other paths, such as apprenticeships, might be better.” Taken from TES, August 2015

If you’re looking for the next step having left school or college, there are currently over 200 apprenticeship vacancies in Cornwall, with employers such as Cornwall Council, primary and secondary schools, The Eden Project, Rick Stein, and many more, including small businesses and trades.

Search the NotGoingtoUni advice centre for information on your options and join us on Twitter every Thrusday from 19:30 for the #cornwallapprenticehour chat, answering all your apprenticeship queries, whether you’re an employer or are looking for an apprenticeship for yourself.

cornwall apprentice hour every Thursday from 19:30