Higher education at 18+

What is Higher Education & what are the benefits?

There are lots of different types of higher education level courses available. 

Higher education means any sort of nationally recognised qualification which is at Level 4 or above (A Levels, BTEC Diploma and Extended Diploma, Apprenticeships are Level 3). 

A degree starts at Level 4 and progresses to Level 6, in the third year. 

Higher education is also offered in colleges

Although in the past higher education courses were delivered at universities, they are now offered by universities, colleges and also by some training providers.

So, if you have Level 3 qualifications like A Levels, BTECs or equivalent. then you could explore higher level study at 18/19. 

If you haven't, but would be interested in higher level study, there are lots of ways in, through Access Courses and through study alongside work.

If you are interested in higher education then the information in this section will help you:

What is Higher Education?

Benefits of higher education:

There are lots of benefits of higher education, here are some examples:

Employment benefits

The skills you can gain from a higher education course can give you an edge in the job market and help you progress in your career. Employers are often looking for people with graduate level skills - irrespective of the degree subject studied.

  • People with higher level skills are less likely to be unemployed, partly because their higher-level skills allow them to do a range of jobs. And with new jobs being developed all the time, a higher level qualification will put you in a stronger position. By 2024, around 54% of people in employment are expected to be qualified to at least Level 4. For more details see this report
  • Many professional jobs require a university degree - architecture, dentistry, physiotherapy and lots more.
  • Many professions only employ graduates and many of the opportunities they offer can be open to graduates with any degree subject.
  • Even if you have no career in mind you can, through a degree, develop skills employers want such as team working, communication skills, research skills.
  • Many universities will give students the opportunity to do work experience, either in this country or abroad, which will add to your CV.
  • You will meet new people and build a network of contacts that can really help with your future career.

Financial benefits

  • Of course there is debate about the figures, and they can vary widely between surveys, but on average graduates in the workforce earn £10,000 more a year  compared to non-graduates. 
  • Employers pay most for skills and qualifications that are specialised and are particularly important to their business or are in short supply.
  • In 2017, graduates and postgraduates had higher employment rates, with a greater proportion in high-skilled employment. 
  • An Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) report shows "Higher education leads to much better earnings than those earned by non-graduates, although students need to realise that their subject choice is important in determining how much of an earnings advantage they will have." Read more here
  • The same report found that women benefit more from a degree than their male counterparts. Median earnings of English women around 10 years after graduation were just over three times those of non-graduates, compared to the median earnings of male graduates, which were around twice those of men without a degree

Personal benefits

Graduates enjoy better health outcomes by being less likely to smoke, more likely to exercise, and less prone to depression. 

Graduates’ children also benefit from the educational success of their parents: graduates tend to have a greater involvement with their child’s education. 

Graduates are more influential in the community by being active citizens who are more likely to vote and participate in voluntary activities.

Graduates show positive attitudes towards diversity and equal opportunities, such as on race and gender equality issues.

Graduates, with their higher levels of skill, are a source of wider innovation and economic growth

What are the benefits of Higher Education?

Lifepilot website for 19+

If you are over 19 and looking for a higher education course, check out the Lifepilot website which has information for adults about progressing to higher level education.

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