JTL Blog


Has the lack of face-to-face learning left you feeling disheartened about university?

Remote Learning

Following recent headlines surrounding the future of university teaching, which reveal students could now receive no face-to-face lectures when the new academic term resumes in September, we’ve been thinking about what this means for the future of higher education.

So where does this leave you?

At present, some universities have confirmed that they are making plans to start the next academic year online. With the possibility that these measures will stretch into Summer 2021 in some cases, experts have predicted that some UK-based students may decide not to go to university at all, rather than starting the year virtually at home.  

You can read how the University of Cambridge plans to cancel all face-to-face lectures in this BBC article.

Reviewing your options? 

The social aspect of life as a student can be deemed a huge part of the university experience, both in and outside of a classroom environment, and even more so when settling in as a first year undergraduate. Perhaps these recent developments have led you to re-evaluate your reasons for wanting to attend university in the first place. If taking away the excitement of moving away, meeting new friends, or engaging with your peers and lecturer in a classroom environment has left you rethinking your future, then don’t worry, it’s not too late for you to change your mind. 

Have you ever considered exploring the apprenticeship route instead?  An apprenticeship is a qualification which will allow you to gain first-hand experience in a working environment – all whilst being paid and at no cost to yourself. Apprenticeships are proactive and fulfilling work-based learning courses. They give you the opportunity to develop a rewarding future career through a combination of practical training and theoretical study. They also offer plenty of opportunities to meet new people and make friends both at college and in employment.

JTL is one of the UK’s leading apprenticeship providers, training approximately 8,000 apprentices annually in 10 regions across England and Wales – apprentices who will go on to become highly skilled electricians, heating engineers and plumbers. We are committed to offering help and advice to young people who are in search of their favoured career path, particularly during the current Covid-19 situation.

Are you getting enough out of your education?

Although some universities may now face pressure to either partially refund tuition fees or to re-examine fees for 2020, nothing has been guaranteed. This suggests students will still face paying full tuition fees, as universities are still able to charge the full amount should learning content be provided online. 

In contrast, an apprenticeship will give you the opportunity to earn while you learn and gain an industry recognised qualification without getting into university debt. All of the 3500 businesses we work with must pay their apprentices at least minimum wage, and there are also grants and other funding opportunities available to you. Read more about costs and funding available to apprentices here.

With an apprenticeship, the career progression opportunities are endless. After qualifying as an electrician or a plumber for example, you could become self-employed, which would enable you to select the jobs that suit you and manage your own financial goals. Apprentices can even get ahead of university graduates because they have gained vital on the job experience, with many apprentices being fast tracked into managerial or associated careers. Learn more about the opportunities an apprenticeship can lead to by watching these short videos. 

There is also plenty of industry support available to our employers; BSE employers for example are supported by industry bodies such as the ECA, NICEIC & ELECSA who have issued advice and guidance on working safely during COVID-19. This has allowed many employers to continue to operate and enabled apprentices to continue to learn the practical skills they need to complete their training.

Reluctant to return to university?

With university campuses being closed since the Government imposed lockdown in March, we understand that existing university students have also been massively affected by the changes in learning. If you have already had a university year cut short and now face not going back to see your fellow students, housemates, friends and lecturers – you may also be weighing up your choices.

The University Watchdog has said students applying for university places in England must be told with “absolute clarity” how courses will be taught before they make choices for the Autumn. Unfortunately, at JTL we cannot predict when face-to-face learning will resume, but we can reassure prospective learners that JTL apprenticeships will lead to jobs that are essential to our economy. All of our courses offer aspiring tradespeople a foot in the door, as well as an increased chance of securing a job in their chosen industry.

As well as developing an online learning provision for our learners, to enable them to continue to progress with their apprenticeships throughout the current Coronavirus pandemic, they also have a dedicated training offer. Once you have enrolled on your JTL apprenticeship your training officer will be on hand to offer support and guidance for the duration of your course, offering invaluable advice which is particularly relevant during the current situation.

Perhaps this time at home has made you realise that university isn’t for you, and this extra time spent distancing from family and friends has left you feeling reluctant about returning. You can read more about waving goodbye to university and trying an apprenticeship instead here.

Parents and Guardians, if your child is facing uncertainty about going to university and is struggling to decide what their next steps should be, we know you will want to help as much as you can. Refer to the FAQ page on our website for further information and guidance.

You can apply for a JTL Apprenticeship at any time of the year, so for more information about our courses and the application process, visit our ‘Apprenticeship Courses’ web page.

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