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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 10:36 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2010 8:12 pm
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Location: Kent
This might be a really stupid question. I know how I am feeling about this but wondered what others thought.

DS has conditional offers to study Accountancy and Business at Uni, but also has applied for Apprenticeship schemes with 2 local businesses. The schemes are for 5 years and pay a salary of around £13k pa (starting), out of which he will be ACCA qualified with the opportunity to gain a degree alongside. He has a second (final) interview with one company and is sitting an assessment test this week for the other. So my question is this:

What would you advise your DC? Go to uni, enjoy the experience and don't worry about the debt or opt for the Apprenticeship if it is offered. At the end he will have no debt (in theory!) and will have the additional ACCA qualification which uni won't give him.

To me it's a no brainer but so many people keep telling me he will regret not doing the uni thing.....

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 11:01 am 
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I'd got for the apprenticeship especially as he can go for degree later ( will he be sponsored by company too?)

I went straight from school to work in a research lab. Went to uni at 29 and really appreciated the experience of learning ( then did PGCE at 36) Plus he will have a good financial backing rather than being saddled with a loan.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 11:11 am 
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I think it's incredibly difficult. Bearing no debt is fantastically tempting, esp when considering everyone will have to have some kind of private pension to contribute to/ possibly private health insurance/ affording a first home etc. etc. etc.

But the experience of university is not just about the qualification but all the other stuff you're exposed to: people from different courses/ backgrounds all meeting together in the student union; the extra curricular sports/ music/ drama etc.; that feeling of fun and no responsibilities (which will come all too quickly).

I say this as someone who didn't go to university but did my first degree whilst working and it was very, very hard to balance having a good social life (I was single for much of that time!!) and trying to fit in the studying and working.

Having said that, the economy was different then and I could buy my first home with the sort of mortgage they wouldn't offer these days to a young woman in a not very well paid job.

Not sure where that gets us but, like I say, not an easy decision!

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 11:12 am 
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Apprenticeship! What a fabulous opportunity to gain professional qualifications and be paid at the same time.

I didn't go to uni but have professional quals, I am in no better or worse position than most of my friends who went to uni. Having said that there wasn't the same debt pressures twenty plus years ago.

Your son must be very bright to have been offered these opportunities! Well done to him.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 11:36 am 
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The study is sponsored, so the salary could be considered as boosted by around £4k pa as that's the equivalent course fees. He would be working with day release to college where the courses are held (I think initially it's 3 days working and 2 days at college). They offer bonus payments if he passes exams first time to, so won't hold my breath for those :lol:

So no debt and some exposure to student life, if not to the extent of going to uni. The company he has a second interview at said they rarely had the opportunity to offer to GS pupils as they usually just go off to uni so am hopeful he will get confirmation of a place there. Their condition is that DS must gain 2 C's at A level, one in Maths. So would be the easiest option for him as the uni expect an A and 2 B's! (He is predicted these)

Of course the final bonus is that at the end of a 4 year uni course DS would leave with a degree (this is the same on the Apprenticeship but it takes 5 years, I imagine because he will also be working) he would also be ACCA qualified if he took the Apprenticeship. On leaving Uni he would still have to go on to achieve that as the degree doesn't make him a Chartered Accountant.

Final question if anyone has got this far. Does anyone have an inspired opinion on LA versus private sector? Again I think I would advise private sector but he is so laid back I wonder if LA would suit his personality better.....

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 11:48 am 
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I think it's really tricky. My head would say do the apprenticeship, but my heart might say go to uni. Doesn't help, just sending a bit of empathy :D


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 11:59 am 
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EXACTLY!!!!! Scary Mum you are right about being torn. It's such a tough one :shock:

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 12:02 pm 
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I was LA for 5 years in my 20's. It was extremely laid back though I think less so now. I think he would study for different exams (CIPFA? as opposed to ACCA).

If you are talking LA vs for example PwC or its ilk, you are talking polar opposites. Just a thought though wouldn't Private sector be more transferable, plus of course if it is one of the larger firms, lots of opportunities to branch out (say) into audit or forensic accounting. The auditors who come to our place of work from the Big 4 and others seem so young to me :shock: but are all very good.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 12:19 pm 
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Hmmm I know a boy who is did exactly that but he works in Sittingborne.

If he is going to do ACCA, that can be incredibly hard esp the last modules but there are loads of good jobs he can do when he has finished. I am probably biased but I think its much harder getting a good job these days with some business studies, those I know who have done it have found it very hard and most retrained or moved into other fields whereas ACCA graduates have some good paying decent jobs.

Personally I am a bit torn, my immediate reaction would be oh come on go to Uni that's what everyone does now but thinking of the long term an ACCA qualification may serve him better. What I would say is that your son should really research and know the amount of work you need to put in to get full ACCA and see if thats something he can do whilst working at the same time.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 1:09 pm 
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The LA are supporting the ACCA qualification, which also surprised me as thought it would have been CIPFA but it isn't.

He is aware of how difficult it will be, and his 'first choice' company isn't one of the top 4 but is a large company with multiple offices so a number of opportunities could come up as he goes along.

Thank you everyone for your input. I am pretty sure he has already decided to do the Apprenticeship as he would have to work all hours under the sun ot support his uni studies so it really is much of a muchness in respect of work, what is drawing him is to come out with something other than a bulk standard degree and being paid along the way rather than building up debts. (perhaps this view is a reflection on why he is looking to become an accountant.....)

Out of interest his SAT level was assessed on arriving at GS. He got level 8 in term 1 of year 7 for Maths. His ability to tidy his bedroom would barely scrape level 1 today imo :roll:

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