University: the 30,000 pound question.

Graduation. Dissertation. Organisation. Your final year at University is bound to be full of ups and downs, but why do so many people put themselves through it?

As a final year Journalism student at Teesside University I know all about the aches and pains of handing in work in time for a deadline.

But as I started my third year I started to question why did I choose to do a degree in the first place?

Until a few years ago, those who were undecided about university were often told ‘any degree will do, you just need qualifications so you can get a job’.

However, this isn’t really the case anymore. Yes, a degree looks good, but it all comes down to experience – whether you get that through education or an apprenticeship the choice is yours.


WORKING HARD: Katie’s determination paid off within the company
Source: Coast & Country.

20-year-old Katie Anna Harding from Eston is a trainee communications officer at Coast & Country and said that university wasn’t for her.

She said: “When I started out as an apprentice, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, but I did know that I wanted to work.

“Being part of the Coast & Country apprenticeship program really opened my eyes to the opportunities that are available, and I got loads of support, guidance and advice, as well as some really high quality training and personal development opportunities.

“I feel now as though I have found my ideal career and wouldn’t be where I am today without the apprenticeship programme.”

She began her career as a Business Administration Assistant within the Housing Team and her determination, hard work and character shone brightly in the business.

Flourishing within the company, Katie secured herself a permanent position as a Communications Trainee and is also aiming for a Level Four Diploma in Marketing Communications.

Back in 2005 me and Katie started building our friendship after starting secondary school at Laurence Jackson in Guisborough.

Five years later we were to receive our GCSE results and then take two very different paths.

Katie said: “Uni had never really been an option for me because I wanted to do performing arts but I went to college to try it out but it just wasn’t for me.

“I ended up taking an apprenticeship at a housing company and I just found it worked a lot better for me, I enjoyed working while I was still learning and I ended up with a full time job out of it.”

I am still in full time education with a part time job as a waitress trying to support myself, whereas Katie has grown within Coast & Country over the past three years.

Worst case scenario when I graduate is that all the hard work and extra three years of education will not pay off and I’ll be without a job in the industry.

So the question, ‘is university really worth it?’ arises.

Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, supports both apprenticeships and university.

He said: “People need to do what is right for them, no one can force them into doing anything they don’t want to do.

“Some people will try university and find it’s not for them and vice versa.

“If you think you can get something out of university education then that’s great because ultimately it is as good a path way as any.”

from Tside