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University Alternatives Explained For Parents

Ever since the all-time low for deferred university intake in 2011, the number of prospective university students deferring their offered place has shown a year on year rise, with almost 40% more students deferring in 2014 in comparison to 2013*.

Many people’s suspicions that 2011’s low number of deferred places directly links to the government’s 2010 ruling that from 2012 the cap on university tuition fees would be removed seems to be proved, with the overall rate of deferment continuing to increase since tuition fees rose.

As such, many parents worry that the post-college phase of their children’s education and opportunity to step onto a specific career path may be unaffordable or unattainable. However, as our example of a career in event management demonstrates, there are indeed affordable, attainable alternatives to university.

*Source: UCAS data

University’s lost appeal

The problem with the removal of the university tuition fee cap is that from 2012 the general cost of tuition fees increased from a maximum of £3,290 to £9,000 per year for 64 British universities, whilst the 59 remaining universities raised their fees to £6,000. This is with the exception of Scotland, which maintains its own free university education process.

As a result, those seeking to study event management in traditional universities can find themselves with a hefty tuition fee of £27,000 or more across many of the three year event management courses on offer. Even if offered a place, many students and their families have been forced to seek alternative routes into event management as a career, whilst still seeking ways to gain valuable knowledge and qualifications which will benefit them on an event management career path.

Diploma course

Event management diploma courses run by Event Academy allow event management students to access affordable qualifications which are fully accredited by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM). Diploma courses offer level 4 education and cover all significant aspects of event management, including academic theory as well as practical learning. Accreditation of this type also makes the qualification highly recognisable across a range of employers and sectors which use event management staff, opening up prospects of a wide and potentially limitless career path within the industry.

This combination of practical and personal skill development, along with professional practice and experience allows students to gain a much wider breadth of study than traditional university routes which, unless they include a ‘sandwich’ or ‘year in industry’ element, have a considerably reduced practical element of study but further extend the time spent studying (something which adds considerably to the cost of university study).

In contrast, Event Academy programmes of study are considerably less expensive both in terms of the tuition costs, but also due to the reduced length of the course, with some courses available as short-course options. The intensive diploma course, even when followed by the postgraduate (level 7) course, can be completed within 14 months, allowing graduates to study, train and qualify concurrently and to be earning from a career in event management within two years of leaving college.

Another aspect of Event Academy programmes of study which greatly benefits event management students is the real-event planning and learning aspects of the programmes. These elements of study include students in a real-world teamwork environment, which not only puts studies into context but also boosts confidence, experiential learning and team working competencies – all vital to success in the event management industry.

Work experience

As another alternative to university, it’s also possible to access roles in specific industries, including event management, through work experience routes.

Many large employers within specific industries offer work-experience routes such as apprenticeships and internships as a way of allowing trainees to develop essential skills whilst on the job. These positions offer the great advantage of immersion into the role and within teams, perfect for learning nuances of team work as well as vital aspects of role-specific and industry-wide practice.

However, work experience placements are not without disadvantages. Such limitations might include (but are not limited to):

Overall, with the current 21st century focus on learning whilst earning and the need to maximise qualifications routes to include vital skills, core competencies and in-house experience, if your young adult child is choosing to step away from traditional university routes into a career path and is instead seeking alternatives, this isn’t a cause for alarm.

On the contrary, they are making good the chances that they have of providing themselves with the fully rounded skill-set which includes both qualification and experience demanded by modern employers, but without the huge price tag demanded by the government and universities.

As our example for a career in event management shows, the opportunities for college-leavers to be successful in a fully accredited, timely and cost-effective way which doesn’t include university, but does include degree level learning, are out there.

Events could be the fresh start you're looking for