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College Urges University Hopefuls not to Panic

HAMPSHIRE students vying for university places will have more hurdles to jump to secure their places after receiving their A level results today.

According to reports, record numbers have applied to universities across the UK and even those who get the required grades will find getting a place tougher as an estimated seven candidates battle for each spare space.

However, according to a Hampshire college, it is not all doom and gloom and students can still go on to higher education and high-earning careers, without going down the traditional university route.

Ivan Gregory, Executive Director for teaching, learning and curriculum at Southampton City College, said: “It is considered ‘the norm’ for young people to complete their GCSEs, get their A-levels and automatically apply to study a degree. However there are so many other ways to get great qualifications, which lead to solid, high-earning careers, without going to university.

“As demand for university places increases, students should know that they can achieve qualifications equivalent to the first and second year of a degree without actually going to university. For example, an A-level student in Southampton could come to City College and study an HNC, followed by an HND in graphic design in two years. This would be the equivalent to completing the second year of a degree and they could either go straight into work with this or top it up by going to university to complete their third year. Those who achieve high enough grades can sometimes even go straight into a masters.”

Ed Gould, Creative Partner at integrated marketing communications agency, Carswell Gould, said: “I deal with employing graphic designers and what’s important to me is that candidates have the skills and experience, whether those skills are acquired at university or through higher education at college is less important. Now more than ever we’re seeing applicants from completely different educational routes. As long as a candidate has the skills for the job we would always look into employing them - whether they went to university or not.”

City College, which also offers HNC and HNDs in photography, 3D art and design, electrical engineering and mechanical engineering, is keen to reassure students that failing to get a place at university is not the end of their higher education plans.

Another alternative to university for students working in retail and administration or other service related industries would be the college’s set of CMI management courses, which are run by City Business and go from Level 3 up to Level 7.

Ivan Gregory added: “Exam results are an incredibly stressful time for teenagers, even more so now as university places are being fought over. However, they should know that there are plenty of other options available to get them to the career they dream of.”

City College is offering free advice to any A-level students considering alternatives to university. Anyone who has any questions or needs advice should call 023 80 484848 or visit City College’s HE (Higher Education) open event on Tuesday, August 24 from 5 to 7pm.

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