By Nicky Burke Career AAT as an alternative to university 21 Sep 2012 Very few people will have escaped to notice the news that tuition fees have risen to a staggering £9k this month. For school leavers considering their next step, this presents a real challenge. The simple fact of the matter is that starting university, knowing you are going to incur large debts to cover both tuition fees and living expenses, is a worry for the majority of people and their families no matter what their financial circumstances – especially when there is no guarantee of a well-paid job at the end of it. For many years, AAT has done a lot of work promoting alternatives to university, particularly around A Level results day. But given what is currently happening in the education market, it seemed wise to promote what we offer further. We are fairly unique in the fact that we offer a non-graduate vocational route into a profession. Many of our younger students study AAT as part of an accountancy apprenticeship, which in practice means they receive training at little or no cost to themselves and earn a wage at the same time. Following AAT, many then go on to study with one of the chartered bodies and can qualify quicker than someone who has been down the university route. We decided to create a bespoke Web TV show discussing all of these issues and invited Emma Mason (who is on the school leaver scheme at Baker Tilly) and Harry Collins (on the school leaver scheme at PKF) to talk about their experiences of life after A Levels. We also involved Aimee Bateman, AAT’s Career Coach. The Web TV show was filmed live and viewers were invited to ask questions by posting on Facebook or through Twitter. The show was hosted on AAT’s Facebook page as well as 18 other external websites including the Huffington Post and Female First. You can watch a recording below: The Web TV show was supported by further public relations activity. We asked AAT students (both past and present) to talk first-hand about their experiences to journalists, and our Chief Executive, Jane Scott Paul OBE, also spoke about the education landscape and where the AAT route can take you. In addition, we used research which we had commissioned earlier in the year to provide supporting statistics on young people and their thoughts/concerns about their future. Interviews were carried out on radio as well as in print and online media. In total, we received over 100 items of coverage including BBC Radio 5 Live, the Guardian and the Huffington Post to name a few. Watch more AAT videos on our YourBigFuture YouTube Channel Keep up with AAT news by following us on Twitter: @YourAAT Find out more about AAT as an alternative to university Nicky Burke is AAT's PR Manager.