Students take part in 'week of action' for the abolition of tuition fees

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Costing more than £50,000, university has become an expense too far for many young people. But other attractive opportunities to develop their careers are available.

The eye-watering sums needed to attend university led to current, aspiring and past students protesting at institutions across the country last week.

The protests were organised by the Student Assembly Against Austerity and the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts for the abolition of tuition fees.

At Durham, Falmouth and London Metropolitan University, among others, students opened stalls and organised sit-ins protesting for the abolition of tuition fees. The rallies are intended to build support among the student community before a national demonstration takes place on November 19 in central London. Up to 10,000 people are expected to attend, the largest since the 2010 protests.

Fiona Edwards, one of the organisers of the Student Assembly Against Austerity, said: “We’re asking for a free education and are getting the word out. We’re having lots of stalls, banner drops and public meetings. This is the beginning of a whole series of action between now and the general election to raise the demands of the student movement and put politicians under pressure to support us.”

The value of a university degree has also been brought into question in some quarters, especially for working class students. For example, the Institute for Fiscal Studies recently showed that private school-educated workers earn 7% more than state-educated peers even if they went to the same university and do the same job.

The multiple problems associated with university education are leading many individuals to consider other routes. There are a variety of well-recognised professional qualifications, available across many industries, which can be taken by young people looking for a starting point for their career.

One example would be the popular AAT Accounting Qualification, which provides expert training in all aspects of accounting and finance without the large university debts. Teaching students a range of theoretical and practical skills, the AAT qualification is recognised by employers across the country.

AAT’s research shows people equipped with high-level vocational qualifications are more likely to find a job, with only 4.5% of those with Level 4 and above qualifications being unemployed. This compares favourably to 12.1% of recent graduates and 7.8% of the general population.

Like many others, if you are also seeking alternative routes to building a successful career then please visit our AAT website and use our easy careers navigator tool to see how AAT  can boost your career prospects!

Jermaine Haughton is a journalist and digital media professional.

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