YOUTH MATTERS Going to university by Anna Watson

For me, going to university was inevitable.

My brothers, my parents and grandparents had attended, and nearly all my schoolfriends were doing the same.

University has long been seen as the best way to put your foot forward and make a living and, judging by the ever-increasing number of applicants, this opinion seems to reign supreme.

But is this really the case?

Most don’t see that they have any choice; government campaigns to entice young people into university painted this establishment as the absolute best in starting your working life.

Careers advice in colleges and sixth forms, as testified by my friends, did the same.

Oblivious to any other path, more and more teenagers are packing up their bags, moving from home and attending (or most likely not...) three years’ worth of lectures for £9,000 a pop. But what about the workplace?

Those students more suited to apprenticeships or internships have fallen into university, plunging themselves into debt and arguably wasting their time.

Indeed the government campaign appears to have backfired.

With a huge influx of students, smaller universities have begun to offer degrees in all manner of things.

A module of the Sport, Media and Culture degree at Staffordshire University is dedicated to David Beckham, and the University of Derby offers a BA (Hons) in Hairdressing and Salon Management.

Now I’m not criticising the people that undertake these degrees, after all, they have been encouraged, but does a trainee hairdresser really need to go to university?

Surely their time and money is much better spent in the salon, learning the craft hands-on?

The same can be said of studying Sports Media; the skills you need for this area are invariably going to be acquired more quickly and more efficiently in the workplace.

Admittedly this proves difficult; with so many potential employees with degrees, businesses rarely look at those without.

However, if the alternative routes were pushed, perhaps this wouldn’t be the case.

A friend of mine is interested in a career in media and was inevitably pushed into university; not only are they unhappy in their studies but would most definitely have benefited from finding a job in a small production company and working their way up.

I personally feel it is time for the government to push diplomas, apprenticeships and internships, not degrees.

Young people would find themselves in much less debt, on a reliable path to their chosen career and perhaps those studying medicine and engineering at university would have much more funding.