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It’s almost that time of year…A-level results day. Duh-duh-duuuuuh!!! School leavers across the country will face the most important decision of their lives – what to do next.

The natural academic path is to bag yourself a degree – 412,000 higher education places were awarded last year – still the hottest contender as far as higher education goes, but how valuable is a design degree vs a design apprenticeship? Slightly less appealing now that the government has announced that tuition fees are set to rise to £9,250 per year. Yes, that’s right kids, not only will you gain yourself a snazzy certificate but also a debt short of £30k (and the rest).

I’m not knocking degrees – I am a ‘certified’ design graduate myself, but I would certainly back a design apprenticeship for anyone curious about this pathway. Taking a diplomatic view on it, I guess it depends on what you are after and whether you respond better from ‘education’ or from a more ‘hands-on’ approach, but I believe that 1 year in the industry can be just as valuable, if not more than a 3 year degree.

It has been several years but I remember the student scenario well – briefed on a project and told that we had 4 weeks to research, 4 weeks to create concepts and another 4 weeks to build a design. A whole term to basically rustle up a design worthy of a Student Starpack. It took less time for Leicester City to climb the league. Unless courses start mirroring design briefs in the industry and preparing students for graduation, then design apprenticeships could lead the future in higher education as more students shun University in favour of gaining a real, and valuable insight in to our creative industry.

Here at Slice, we offer graduate placements and also believe in the value of apprenticeships. We’re always on the lookout for inspirational design students and straight-out-of-school individuals with a unstoppable talent in packaging & branding who are willing to get stuck in and learn the ropes fast. CV’s welcome!

By Sarah Jones.

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