FROM CAREER GUIDANCE TODAY: AN INDEPENDENT PUBLISHING MAGAZINE

Students: Aim Higher For A World Of Options

The annual publication of A-level results throws into focus the range of options available to students, as well as adults looking to develop or change their career. Minister Bill Rammell discusses the importance of Higher Education

Over 270,000 students across the UK received their A-level results in August 2006 and all will be embarking on either further study or a career. It is important that those school leavers, as well as adults, have all the information and advice possible at their disposal to ensure they can capitalise on their individual talents and set themselves up for success in their career of choice.

Higher education is fast becoming invaluable and the arguments for students to participate in study are obvious. There will be a significant increase in the proportion of jobs requiring a HE level qualification - of the 13.5 million jobs expected to be filled by 2012 (forecasted by the Institute for Employment Research), 50 per cent are most likely to need graduates. Graduates earn, on average, substantially more than people with A-levels who did not go to university. Over a working lifetime, the difference is predicted to be something like £100,000 at today's valuation. Higher education could be the best investment you'll ever make.

However, many students may not consider higher education due to low aspirations, lack of confidence or fear over finances. It is imperative that careers advisors not only continue to provide advice on courses and careers but also promote the financial support now available and the lifelong benefits of staying on in education. Significantly, graduate-level recruits are vital for the competitiveness of businesses and the UK economy.

There is a diverse range of opportunities available to people looking for a higher education option that suits them and a path into the career of their choice. Foundation Degrees for example, despite being established as recently as 2001, have proved another increasingly popular option for people looking to get a head start, or get further in their chosen career. 47,000 students are currently studying for Foundation degree courses, an increase of 24 per cent on the 2004-2005 academic year. These qualifications - in which there are around 1,800 courses from aeronautical engineering and financial services to professional photography and business management - are designed and delivered in partnership with employers to ensure that graduates develop valuable skills with direct relevance to the employment market. Students can study in a way that suits them - full-time, part-time or online and work- based learning can also be an option. Visit www.foundation degree.org.uk for further information.

It is vital that students understand what financial support is available to ensure that they are not deterred from higher education because of money worries. This year we have introduced a much fairer system so that students can study first and pay back when they are earning. In particular students can get a loan for their tuition fees which they don't have to repay until they've left their course, are in work and earning more than £15,000 (see box for full details). We've also brought back non-repayable grants for students from poorer backgrounds.

The high standards of the UK's career guidance offering will remain crucial to the prosperity of future generations. Let us continue to ensure that all of our young people are equipped with the information that will help them decide their future.

Bill Rammell is the Minister for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education. If you are a resident of Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland visit www.direct.gov.uk, where you can find out about the devolved administrations in each country

STUDENT FINANCE: FAST FACTS

Universities and colleges offering Higher Education courses in England are now able to charge new full-time students up to £3,000 per year in tuition fees. There is a new financial package available that takes the changes into account.

Student loan for tuition fees and living costs:

Eligible, full-time students can apply for a loan specifically for their tuition fees and also a maintenance loan to help with living costs. Loans do not have to be repaid until students have left their course and are earning over £15,000 per year. If someone is earning the average starting salary of a graduate level job of £18,000 they would repay £5.19 a week.

Maintenance grant:

New full-time students from lower income households (those with an income of £37,425 or less) could be eligible for a non-repayable maintenance grant of up to £2,700 per year. It is expected that around half of all full-time students are likely to be eligible for a full or partial grant.

Bursaries:

Further financial support from universities and colleges in the form of non-repayable bursaries may be available. All institutions charging the full £3,000 a year for tuition fees are required to provide additional non-repayable financial support to students that are receiving the full £2,700 maintenance grant.

Student fee grant for part-time students:

Eligible part-time students can also apply for non-repayable support in the form of the fee grant of up to £1,125 and a grant to help with course costs of up to £250.

For further information visit www.direct.gov.uk/studentfinance

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
News
i100
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Ashdown Group: Graduate Application Support Analyst

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree have recently been awa...

SThree: Recruitment Resourcer

£20000 - £21000 per annum + uncapped commission: SThree: As a graduate you are...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate / Junior Software Developer

£24000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Graduate/Junior Software Deve...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot