As A-level results day approaches, the debate about post-18 education options has been reignited.

Mounting levels of student debt has made university less attractive to many young people than it was 10 years ago. A poll by the Sutton Trust found half of 11-16 year-olds who say they’re likely to go to university are worried about fees and living costs. There’s also been interesting research around earning prospects. According to the Longitudinal Education Outcomes data, one in four graduates of 2004 is now earning only £20,000, while the Higher Education Statistics Agency’s figures showed one in four graduates was not in a graduate job six months after earning their degree.

With fees at some universities set to rise further from 2017, the scrapping of maintenance grants and the prospect of years repaying student loans, young people are likely to be weighing up the costs and benefits of university carefully. In contrast to a full-time higher education course, apprenticeships allow you to earn while you learn and stay free of debt. Now available in most sectors, they provide a genuine alternative to university – especially as many jobs that graduates end up in don’t require their degree.

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