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Private universities to ease pressure on places? July 26, 2010

Posted by Alex, Managing Director in Uncategorized.
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Here in the John Catt Educational offices, work has just begun on the 2011 edition of our ever-popular the gap-year guidebook. Released annually for the last 18 years, the guidebook provides informative and unbiased advice for all those considering a gap-year, time out from study or a career break.

We are planning a few minor modifications to help bring the guidebook in to line with the new-look website, www.gap-year.com, in addition to updating the editorial with all the latest advice from the gap-year sector.

This year is set to see another spike in interest in gap-years and career breaks, as thousands of youngsters find that getting university places in the UK is harder than ever before, with budget cuts meaning fewer places are being offered to a growing number of students.

A 12 percent increase in the number of UK university applicants this year mean that up to 200,000 youngsters may be denied the chance to enter higher education.

The government today made the first move in attempting to reduce the pressure on university places by revealing that Britain is soon to see its first new private university for more than 30 years.

BPP University College of Professional Studies, which will offer business and law degrees at 14 sites across the country and healthcare and teaching degrees in the future, is part of the group that owns one of the biggest universities in the United States, the University of Phoenix. The establishment will not receive public funding and will be allowed to set its own fees.

“It is healthy to have a vibrant private sector working alongside our more traditional universities,” said universities minister David Willetts. “I am delighted that, less than four months after coming into office, we are creating the first new private university college in more than 30 years.”

Of course, one new university isn’t going to have much of an effect on the bottleneck for higher education places this coming September, and the gap-year market may be buoyant for another few years yet as youngsters look to add some value to their CV.

Employers openly admit that they actively seek to recruit those who have taken a structured gap-year because they are more likely to have developed key skills such as teamwork, project management, risk assessment, languages and communication skills.

Skills like these on a CV are becoming increasingly important with the graduate job market also taking a big hit in the recession.  According to a report in the Daily Mail, one in three graduates is on the dole or working in stop-gap jobs.

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