Number crunching think tanks have convinced us all that if you want to succeed in life and gain a good salaried job, you have to obtain a degree. For some, the conventional university path is not one that fits. Various teenagers may not feel ready to leave home and live independently, or may not be able to afford to in the current economic climate and with the massive fee raise. Some youngsters may wish to pursue a trade, such as plumbing, and cannot see the benefit of spending time and money gaining a degree that may be worthless. With unemployment for under 25s close to 1 million, various organisations have come up with alternative paths to helping young people enhance their employability.
Green party activist Ali Ghanimi has created the 'free university' with the hope of offering 'something for the whole community, regardless of their financial means or previous education'. The website advertises learning opportunities such as a free lecture at Sussex University on the end of history theory, and a list of subjects that people are interested in learning about, such as introductory philosophy, with the hope of potential tutors responding.Mike Neary, dean of teaching and learning at the University of Lincoln created the Social Science Centre in Lincoln in the face of cuts to arts, humanities and social sciences. Fees are not charged in the conventional way, as students are asked to pay one hour of their income a month through pay pal for their education. At the end of three years students will receive the equivalent of a higher education degree.The Free University of Liverpool and the Really Open University in Leeds offer courses delivered voluntarily by academics and figures of notable cultural significance.Ed Miliband appears to be backing a greater respect for alternative university qualifications. He told Radio 1's Newsbeat that he believes becoming an apprentice should be seen as equal to going to university. Government ministers and companies that spend public money must offer a quota of 'quality apprenticeships'. Miliband proposes that if he becomes Prime Minister, there would be a single application system for apprenticeships and degrees so people view the two as of equal value.