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University or work placements: Which is the better option

The benefits of a university degree

Today, many employers set out only to hire candidates that have a university degree in a relevant subject under their belts. Although some would describe this as elitist, having a university degree can actually benefit employees in many ways. Having a degree shows that you are a committed individual, which is a quality that all great employees must possess. Employers will value the fact that you have chosen to dedicate three (or more) years to learning about a subject in order to better your knowledge and yourself as a person.

The skills you learn at university are also extremely valuable to employers, as many will be transferable, enabling you to pick up job roles much more quickly. You may also find that having a degree can help you jump a few steps up the career ladder, rather than having to start at entry level. Previous reports have also suggested that employees with degrees are capable of earning up to forty per cent more than those that choose not to attend university.

Many university students are required to carry out work placements as part of their degree criteria. This enables them to develop practical skills which they cannot necessarily develop during lectures and seminars. University courses like this offer the best of both worlds, as university students can gain both knowledge and practical skills at the same time.

The benefits of work placements

The rise in tuition fees has meant that not everyone can afford to attend university. The fact that you cannot afford to go to university or have chosen not to, will not restrict your career choices in any way. Many professionals begin their career in an entry-level job and work their way up.

Work placements enable people to get a taste of what it’s like to work in the real world, which is something universities struggle to prepare students for. Work experience is extremely appealing to employers as it shows the candidate has a clear interest in the industry and has bothered to go out and develop relevant practical skills. Employees that have gained experience through work placements are often seen as more well-rounded than those that have attended higher education, as they often have better communication and teamwork skills, both of which are must-haves in workplace.

University isnt for everyone, as there are certain people who struggle in formal education but flourish in the work place. Work placements also have the advantage of allowing people to earn money, whilst bypassing thousands of pounds worth of student debt.

The reality is that it both university education and work placements can help you to secure a good job. Whether you progress faster and become a success will depend on the skills you possess and how you utilise them. Some industries prefer to employ those that have a university degree, whereas others prefer candidates with work experience. A great way to get the best of both worlds (should you wish to), is to attend university and carry out work placements in the industry you want to work in during your summer and Christmas holidays.

I have intentionally kept a impartial viewpoint throughout this post as I am keen to hear your unbiased thoughts now, let me know below.

Aaron Hopkins is a professional writer and Gemma Atkins works for a language school in London.

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