Tuition fee increases show the importance of guidance for post-16 options

The coalition government’s plan to increase tuition fees, which could see some universities charging up to £9,000 a year, has been making the headlines recently.

The rise in tuition fees is likely to have a big impact on students’ decisions about whether to attend university.  Although the coalition government proposes that students will not start paying back their fees until they are earning over £21,000, the thought of accumulating over £40,000 worth of debt (eg, three years’ tuition fees, with rent and living costs) must surely make students question whether university is the best option for them.

As a result of the planned rise in tuition fees, careers guidance for young people aged 16 and over is more important than ever.  Young people need to explore all their education, employment and training options to make sure that they pick the route that is most suitable for their career plans.

I believe a common misconception among young people is that university is the only route into a professional career.  In reality, many jobs have a number of entry routes, including Apprenticeships and other training schemes.  For example, to become an accountant, you don’t have to have a degree in accountancy.  You could take A levels and then work in an accounting organisation, combining on-the-job training with study from a registered accounting professional body.

I am interested to hear your thoughts on the increase in tuition fees; do you think it is going to make university unrealistic for many young people?  Will it encourage young people to consider alternative education and training?

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