Changes in the way that Higher Education is funded in the UK, namely the move to make the funding a personal commitment based on a loan rather than a societal commitment backed by grants, have significantly impacted on the life chances of potential British students, and disproportionately on those from more disadvantaged backgrounds.
At the same time the traditional narrative, “Study hard in school x obtain a degree = job for life” no longer holds true with the recent economic volatility meaning there were more graduates than graduate level jobs available.
In the UK, there has traditionally been a misalignment in esteem between a university education and a technical/apprenticeship type education. We have therefore suffered in finding sufficient technically qualified people to maintain a competitive advantage in science and technology fields.
Belatedly, and in part fuelled by concerns of a traditional university degree route, there has been greater interest expressed in apprenticeships at several levels. They are seen as an investment in your education which is offset by the employer which enables you to ‘learn and earn’ at the same time.
This infographic outlines some of the new thinking: