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With the increase of University fees and living costs reaching an all new high, it is even harder for young people to stay in education and try to build a career. We have to live with our parents for longer and have to work our fingers to the bone, at a minimum wage, for beer money. Our parents generation have done an excellent job of making it harder for us to flourish in this economic climate.

But, our whines and moans have not gone unnoticed. The big boys in Westminster are finally encouraging new schemes to be put in place to help our struggling generation. As well as the increase and mass concentration on apprenticeships again, there is also the increase in Foundation Degrees.

But what is a Foundation Degree?

The Foundation Degree is a vocational qualification in Higher Education, introduced by the Government in September 2001, which is available in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Foundation degrees are intended to give a basic knowledge in a subject to enable the holder to go on to employment or further study in that field. They are normally offered by Universities and further education colleges.” – Wikipedia, 4th May, 2014.

Foundation Degrees are another option to consider if you want to study a degree. They are usually at a cheaper rate than Honours Degrees, you can stay at home whilst studying, you can balance a job with the degree work, it gives you more flexibility, and if you didn’t get the highest or didn’t get any A Level results, they won’t turn you away.

After the collapse of my planned University path in 2011, I was in a situation where it was time for a review of my life, and options. I had moved back home after just one semester at University and felt as if my future was falling apart right in front of my eyes.

Once I stopped watching Loose Women in my jammie’s and having brunch, I decided to come out of hiding and stop running away from reality. I asked for my old job back as a waitress, where I had worked for 4 years previously, and also applied for a front of house job at my local hotel down the road. I also researched into University courses and kept my options open.

I found the perfect course at my closest college, in Exeter, called Journalism and Practical Media. It caught my attention because it sounded interesting, it contained a mixture of theory and practical teaching, it was close to home and it cost £6,000 a year instead of £9,000. After much deliberation, I decided to enroll for the next academic year.

Prior to making this decision, I had the view that a Foundation Degree wasn’t really a proper degree. But in fact, I couldn’t be more wrong. It is a renowned form of qualification with employers, it follows the same curriculum and marking scheme as a Honours Degree, and offers much more flexibility and informal relations between student and lecturer.

The Degrees are two years long, and there is also the option to extend your Foundation Degree to a Full Honours Degree, by studying a third year either at the college you are already at, or at another University.

That last reason is what confirmed that this was the course for me. At that specific time in my life, I was not ready at 18 to move out and live away from home. But who knows what I’ll feel like doing in two years time? No one can predict the future, and knowing I had the opportunity to expand my horizons, was what I loved.

I am now 21 years old and have completed my Foundation Degree. I passed with a First Class Honours and have enrolled at UWE Bristol at third year level to study BA Hons Journalism and Public Relations.

If you are in a situation where you’re unsure about what you want to do, why not research into Foundation Degrees? It is just another way to achieve your academic goals, in a more relaxed and less main stream way.