Key Stages One, Two and Fee

With this September seeing the debut of £9,000 tuition fees across the UK, are future freshers being faced with a choice? Fee or flee?

Back in 2010, a mere 21 votes enabled Vince Cable to assure the nation’s youth that the £9,000 fees would apply only in ‘exceptional circumstances.’ Within two years however, sixty nine universities have upped their fees to £9,000 and many others have capped tution at £8,500 meaning the average eighteen year old undertaking a three-year course within the next six weeks can expect to graduate with between forty and fifty thousand pounds worth of debt.

UCAS statistics reveal that the number of applicants in 2012 has fallen by nearly 7,000 from 2011. While a 9% drop may not seem excessive in relation to the almost trebling of tuition fees, interesting trends are germinating that have given rise to the phrase ‘tuition fee refugee’.

Cross-border movement is the first contingency many have undertaken. Dublin’s Trinity College, for example, are charging tuition fees of £3,431 per year for most courses within which a student contribution of £2,250 is expected. They have seen a 20% jump in applications from British students in 2012 to total almost 2,000. Furthermore, University College Dublin (UCD), whose fees align with Trinity College, have had 37% more British students apply for the 2012/2013 academic season.

While applying to an institution in Ireland may seem a relatively convenient financial and geographical option, many prospective students are exploring other options further afield. Students before and throughout their university career are encouraged to consider options which will add to their CV, including taking a gap year, often abroad, or a placement, which, with the growing popularity of schemes such as Erasmus, are becoming increasingly based outside of the UK. However, an emerging trend seems to be almost a compilation of these opportunities for a fraction of the cost – studying abroad.

Established in 2006, A Star Future are a British company who provide a free advisory service and information to British students, mostly between the ages of 16 and 18, about international higher education opportunities. Mark Huntington, Founder of A Star Future, said that ‘tuition fees are affecting everybody’ and since the introduction of the £9,000 fees, students for the first time ever are

‘primarily motivated now by employment opportunities.’

At the moment, Huntington relayed, it is ‘still a small percentage of people going abroad’  and for those ‘wanting to anyway, the fees played right into their hands’ but increasingly, the option is seen by students as a way of ‘differentiating themselves from their UK peers’.

With Denmark, Norway, Finland and Sweden offering a combined total of 58 institutions who teach in English and don’t charge for tuition, it would not be surprising if more British students explored studying internationally purely for financial reasons. However, A Star Future say they ‘don’t believe you should go abroad just to save money and there are lots of other reasons why studying abroad is a good idea.’ With employers increasingly seeking multi-lingual candidates and the universal importance of independence and the confidence to undertake challenges outside of the comfort zone, studying abroad appeals on more than a financial level.

Available to view on  a selection of student testimonials offer a positive insight into their experience.

Megan Doxford, a first year Bsc Biology student at Universitetet I Nordland in Norway suggests that the opportunity has been far more than just about saving on tuition fees. When asked if she would recommend studying abroad to a 17-18 year old Brit who may not have considered it before, she replied

‘I would recommend it 110%! It has been a life changing experience so far, and it keeps getting better! Life as an international student is excellent. Whether you get the chance to do it for one semester, or for three years like me, go for it!.. Within the first month of arriving here, I’d been on fishing trips, hiking trips, wizzing around in a little rib boat on the Saltstraumen, swimming in some of the most beautiful lakes which are a 15 minute walk from the University, and even met the Norwegian Prime Minister.’

Christian Garrard from Canterbury, a second year student of LLB International and European Law at University of Groningen has thoroughly enjoyed his experience. When asked if he would recommend his course, university, city to British studens, he maintained

‘Absolutely, it’s a degree just as good if not better than many universities in the UK but at a fraction of the price.’

The student voice was undoubtedly loud and clear back in 2010 outside the gates of Westminster. However, if increasing numbers of teens opt to study outside of the UK, those voices may fade to echoes as bags are packed, planes are boarded and cheaper international studies begin.

Olivia Dean

22nd August 2012


£14m hotel to create 70 jobs

Hotel chain Premier Inn is investing £14m in the creation of a new hotel in Glasgow, with the promise to generate 70 jobs.

A contemporary 210-bedroom hotel on West Nile Street in Glasgow city centre aims to be open by October.

Recruitment for the new jobs is a process being run in partnership with Working Links, an employment specialist.

Premier Inn have guaranteed that half of the 70 roles would be filled by young people who are currently not in education, training or employment.

This is a highly positive commitment from Premier Inn towards investment in the Glasgow region. According to figures published by the Office of National Statistics (ONS), 5.6% of central Glasgow’s population claimed JSA in July 2012. Premier Inn’s forthcoming opening, therefore, will undoubtedly yield positive results on both the local jobs market and employment ambience.

Speaking on behalf of Premier Inn, Barry Halfpenny stated that

“By partnering with Working Links, we are giving people the opportunity to get their first start on the job ladder, and it will be fantastic to watch them progress in their career. We are very interested in hearing from committed, enthusiastic individuals who are looking to push forward with a career in hospitality. Our West Nile Street hotel will be the jewel in the crown of our Glasgow offering and the significant investment highlights the business’ commitment to employment in the city.”

With already four other Premier Inns in Glasgow City Centre, this opening will take the total number of Premier Inn bedrooms to more than 2,000 within the city centre alone.

Premier Inn are moving from strength to strength. Having been voted Hotel Chain of the Year at the 2011 British Travel Awards for the second year running, including Leisure Hotel and Business Hotel Chain of the year, further expansion may be imminent in more places than Scotland.


Olivia Dean

6th September 2012

Work experience revamped or exploitation reworked?

Young Jobseekers to work for benefits in government plans

Credit: Getty Images

Last week, London Mayor Boris Johnson and Employment Minister Chris Grayling announced the debut of an unprecedented scheme collaborating Job Seekers Allowance and mandatory work experience.

To be piloted in London, any young person aged 18 – 24 subscribing to Job Seekers Allowance who has not previously completed six months of paid employment will have to undertake the scheme.

The approved format involves each individual completing 30 hours of work a week for a consecutive 13-week period. A range of sectors will be available including charity work, social enterprises and voluntary organisations.

Talking about the scheme, Johnson stated that

‘London creates loads and loads of jobs but too often young Londonders who have talent don’t get into those jobs, so this is a way of giving them the confidence, the experience they need to compete in the jobs market.’

It is thought that 6,000 Londoners will initially be affected across 16 London boroughs including Croydon, Westminster, Barnet, Enfield and Southwark and, if deemed a success, could potentially be rolled out nation-wide. The employers will be contracted within the next few weeks with the aim to begin the scheme later this year.

Chris Grayling advocated that

‘By putting them into this programme they can put something into their local community through the community work part of it, they can get structured support to get into work to try and move them quickly off benefits and into work, but if they don’t want to take part, if they turn around and say “I want none of that”, I really don’t see why they should be able to claim benefits.’

As recently as May this year, David Miliband described the ‘chaotic landscape’ those not headed for university faced. The recession is not totally to blame for youth unemployment; it has been falling since 2003 – a time when the UK boasted economic growth. Furthermore, Miliband compared the UK’s apprenticeship climate with that of other countries with the state of youth unemployment appearing to be directly correlated.

While figures are currently average within the UK in comparison to Europe, Germany and the Netherlands have less than one in ten young people out of work. German employment foundations utilize apprenticeships far more, with the average scheme lasting three years compared to two within the UK. Furthermore, employers in other latitudes of the world are far more pro-active regarding apprentices. A third of Australian employers offer apprentice opportunities, while only 8% do the same in the UK. While the entire employment infrastructure cannot be reworked overnight, many would agree that something needs to change. The ambience of the London riots alone should signify as much.

On one hand, many recent reports have underlined the lack of basic skills and fundamental staples in school leavers. The scheme could prove to bridge this gap; enabling youngsters to acquire practical experience and tangible understanding of basics which may be applicable across a range of industries. Fuurthermore, Johnson proposes that a key aspect of the commitment includes a targeted package to help youngsters with CV writing and interview skills in order to help them acquire work.

However, the scheme is proving to be a source of much controversy to others, with many calling into question whether the initiative is a conscientious coalition effort towards wider social contribution or a cheap way Boris can fulfil his pledge to create 200,000 jobs within the next four years?

The offer of CV writing skills and interview help does sound appeasing, and many would agree that there are instances where Job Seekers Allowance is taken advantage of by symptoms of laziness and expectation. A couple of episodes of Jeremy Kyle can prove that much. Yet is it enough of a wide-scale problem to warrant such extensive free labour? Labour Assembly John Briggs argues no. He feels that

‘There’s a risk that this will feed a prejudice that people are sitting at home doing nothing when they should be working. The reality is that there are more than four applicants for every job in London and people want to work.’

Concerns that the scheme is encouraging free labour are felt, as are intrigues into the practicality of the intiative. This will definitely be a watch-this-space escapade, with both government commitment to youth employment and youngsters struggling to make way in the jobs market having something to prove, and everything to gain. If a success for both sides, the scheme could yield a formidable precedent in the battle against unemployment. Boris at the very least will be hoping that this is one small step for the coalition, and a giant leap for unemployed kind.


Olivia Dean

3rd September 2012

Apprenticeship ‘Supermarket Sweep’

Waitrose to launch an apprenticeship scheme across the UK

Over the next year, up to 200 apprentices will be given the opportunity to complete a 12-month placement with Waitrose, at the end of which they will receive a Level 2 Retail Apprenticeship qualification.

Furthermore, there will be up to three apprenticeships available at all new standard size branches, indicating Waitrose’s committment to training and recruitment.

The scheme has been given the go-ahead following a trial period of 41 apprentices at 13 different stores across the nation.

Founded in 1904 and a part of the John Lewis Partnership since 1937, Waitrose pride themselves on employee satisfaction. The recruitment mantra expresses how

‘Since 1929 the purpose of our business has been the happiness of those who work in it. Some things never change.’

Furthermore, Tracey Killen, Director of Personnel, notes how

‘Our teams are as diverse as the products we sell and in order to build a successful business we are looking to recruit individuals from a wide range of backgrounds. This means whether you are in or leaving education, returning to work or looking for a change in direction, we could have the opportunity you are looking for.’

This will also apply to their apprenticeship recruitment process which can be interpreted as a building block to help Waitrose achieve their commercial goals of opening 400 branches across the UK by 2017 and doubling revenue to £8bn by 2016.

The John Lewis Partnership already offer apprenticeship programmes exclusively with John Lewis in 21 different locations across England, Scotland and Wales. Furthermore, aimed specifically at graduates, Partnership Graduate Schemes are run by both Waitrose and John Lewis in addition to a separate Head Office Graduate Scheme which covers Buying, Merchanidising, IT and Finance.

It truly is a ‘supermarket sweep’ in terms of employee development for Waitrose and the John Lewis Partnership. If you are interested in finding out more about the various schemes on offer, have a look at the John Lewis Partnership careers homepage today: [accessed 29 August 2012].


Olivia Dean

29 August 2012

70 Vacancies in Doncaster

RecyCoal are set to create 70 jobs at a new site in Rossington, Doncaster.

The coal reclamation firm aim to recover 950,000 tonnes of coillery waste and rejected coal over the next four years for electricity generation.

In addition, RecyCoal determine to restore the Rossington colliery to become an open space for a five-year period, offering Doncaster both rejuvenation and employment opportunities and adhering to the company’s policy that,

‘Previously contaminated sites are restored to high environmental standards with final landforms in keeping with the surrounding landscape providing local communities with a variety of beneficial after uses.’

Formed in 2010, RecyCoal are based in Doncaster and have excelled in the fossil fuel industry. Having received £40m investment from Naxos, the company are currently developing; aiming to expand into targeted markets in Australia, North America and Eastern Europe.

This marks remarkable success for RecyCoal within an industry that is currently fluctuating. Recent figures show that the firm UK Coal has suffered a pre-tax loss of £20.56m for the first six months ending 30 June 2012. Compared to a £22.2bn profit for the same period last year, this shows both how uncertain the times are and how confident RecyCoal are to invest in recruitment and company expansion.


Olivia Dean

29th August 2012


TV for your CV

Credit: Getty Images

Technology has exploded within the last two generations and is changing the job hunt.

Whether you think our lives are enhanced or imbibed by Blackberries, Chip and Pin and Sky + HD, the prominence of technology in everyday life is undeniable. The revolution of the internet itself has been a defining element of the 90s and noughties, and shows no signs of limitations. Technology has revolutionised many of our jobs and has created brand new industries in its own right. Google and Apple are just two corporations whose global success and dominance worth billions depends upon maintaining technological prowess; constantly pushing the boundaries to futher integrate technology into our lives.

Technology has become so synonymous with everday life that socialising itself has been revolutionized. As we approach the bicentenary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice, we look back on a world where conversations in drawing rooms or the exchange of letters were the basis of human communication. Two hundred years on, however, and we are now faced with a truth universally acknowledged, that we spend increasing amounts of time communicating through screens and buttons rather than face to face. A Whatsapp or BBM is considered a conventional method of conversation. Online dating and chat rooms has reformed flirtatious instigation and the launch of the interfacing giant Skype in 2003 means that even when outside of your mobile phone network’s coverage, correspondance is only a couple of clicks and a megabyte or two away. Furthermore, the eruption of social media within the last decade, through the launch of platforms such as Facebook, Youtube and Twitter has heightened this revolution even further, permeating into the world of work and even into the way in which we look for jobs.

Launched in 2003, the professional social networking site LinkedIn reported 175 million registered users as of June 2012. Their slogan

‘Relationships matter’

emphasizes the importance of connections in the working world. Members can join groups to represent industries or companies they are interested in, and a specific ‘jobs’ tab enables users to see the latest vacancies within the sectors they subscribe to.

While searching for a job has been undoubtedly revolutionized, from searching in the back of the local paper to uploading your CV onto jobs boards boasting thousands of live vacancies, standing out as a candidate is also under reformation. One step on from the traditional paper CV, candidates are now drawing upon their technological prowess, creativity and ingenuity. Simone Fortunini recently made headlines for submitting his CV based on Google Analytics. (To see the CV, take a look at His manipulation of a tool he frequently used in his industry to demonstrate his expertise landed him a role as an Online Marketing Manager at a leading European company.

While impressive and applicable to his industry, many people are going one step further; rejuvenating their CV in the form of a video. Typing ‘video resume’ into Youtube will bring up a whole host of interactive applications.  Graeme Anthony is one such individual. His C.V.I.V (curriculum vitae interactive video) made him stand out in a market where the ratio of jobs to applicants calls for tough competition. Graeme felt strongly about his choice of an interactive format,

“It brings me to life in a completely new way… It shows off my personality in a way a paper CV can’t. It’s got the wow factor.”

The agency Frank PR agreed. Chairman and Founder, Graham Goodkind expressed how

“It’s always amazed me in this day and age, that when things are moving so quickly from a technological point of view, CVs and resumes are really the same as they were 10, 15 or even 20 years ago. So this really opened up our eyes to how it really could be done and we wanted to meet the guy straight away.”

Graeme got the job, and his C.V.I.V is now featured on Youtube in ‘the hope that it inspires other to demonstrate their natural creativity and secure work.’

A juxtaposition currently exists between the progress of technology and the lack of opportunity across the UK jobs market. Bridging this gap and showing an employer that you are fresh, dynamic and multilingual in media could be key to employment success.

Olivia Dean

28th August 2012

Bluebird Care create 150 roles

The national provider of care in the home, Bluebird Care are planning to expand their workforce over the next six months.

The creation of 510 new care assistant and support worker roles will be a massive embellishment for the company, who currently employ just under 800 people across their 18 offices.

North Eastern regions of Ireland will see the greatest impact, with the office covering Cavan, Monaghan and Louth expected to recruit an additional 80 staff. Furthermore, the offices in Donegal & Leitrim and Mayo & Sligo, although more established, will each take on a further 75 employees. Lisa Tarsey, Director of Bluebird Care, states that

‘We believe in good old-fashioned service. That is why Bluebird Care visits their customers regularly to make sure that they are happy with the service and with their Care Worker. By doing this, we can ensure we are continually delivering the right service.’

Eddie O’Toole, Bluebird Care Operations Director, has recently noted that, according to industry body Carer’s Association

‘in order to manage the current carer to cared-for population ratios, Ireland will need an additional 44,289 carers by 2021.’

This is no easy ask and strongly suggests that the care industry within Ireland may see even greater expansion in the near future. In the coming weeks however, the new vacancies will be advertised on Bluebird Care’s website and on the Irish National Training and Employment Authority.

For further opportunities in the industry, take a look at our Social Care sector at today.


Olivia Dean

23rd August 2012



1,000 jobs with Amazon

By the end of the month, online retail giant Amazon will have submitted its planning application for a brand new warehouse and distribution centre at Stonebridge Cross, Liverpool.

Credit: Getty Images

Aiming to be open next year, the 1m sq ft development will be a major job creator in the area, with Amazon looking to employ 500 people full time and up to 1000 during peak times.

Joe Anderson, Liverpool city mayor, stated how the project will

‘create over a thousand quality jobs on a scale which has not been seen in that area of the city for many decades. This is really good news for a part of Liverpool that desperately needs jobs… and will transform the lives of many people.’

The warehouse and distribution centre will be accompanied by 1,000 parking spaces and can expect to see 160 HGVs enter and leave the premises daily. This suggests ‘a potentially huge opportunity’, as Local Councillor Peter Mitchell states, suggesting Amazon’s presence may encourage further investment and development within the area in the future. Furthermore, Mitchell stated he would be ensuring that a legal agreement with the developers was reached to guarantee at least 50% of the employees would be from the local area.

Launched in 1994, Amazon are the world’s largest online retailer with currently 69,200 employees. For the third quarter of the 2012 U.S. financial year, (1 April – 30 June), Amazon expect net sales between $12.9 billion and $14.3 billion. Their investment in an area in which 6.9% of the population were JSA claimants in July 2012 – 3% higher than the national average, is likely to be very well received and could potentially create a starting point for rejuvenation the East Liverpool area.


Olivia Dean

22nd August 2012

Monarch establish their base and create 150 jobs

Employment turbulence created by recent reshuffle at East Midlands Airport (EMA).

Getty Images

The consequences of British Airways’s purchase of BMI from Lufthansa in April 2012 will begin to show over the next few weeks. The final bmibaby flight from EMA will take place on September 9th, following which, bmibaby’s base at Castle Donington will close and around 340 people will lose their jobs.

However, Monarch Airlines are currently planning a serious expansion within the East Midlands area which could see 150 jobs being created by next summer. In what Brad Miller, Managing Director of EMA has called a ‘huge boost’ for the airport, Monarch Airline’s Managing Director, Kevin George, said that more staff would be needed in 2013.

George expressed how

‘in the short term, we have a very limited number of posts but next summer we will need at least 150 posts, particularly for cabin crew, that we would be able to recruit from the local area as we establish our base at East Midlands.’

This is a promising forecast for the East Midlands region, whose unemployment levels for the last quarter (April – June 2012) stood at 8.3% according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS). Miller has stated how

“This is a really strong reflection of what Monarch thinks about the catchment area and the region”

suggesting that things could be on the up, up, up and away in the next twelves months for EMA.

Monarch currently fly throughout Europe with some flights to the United States, the Caribbean, India and Africa. With headquarters at Luton Airport, current staff figures stand at just under 2,000, suggesting that an employment expansion of 150 is a fairly substantial increase. Kevin George quantified this notion, stating that

“It is early days and we need to be very careful we don’t over-expand but we will fly to a whole raft of leisure destinations across Europe and there is the potential for us to develop new routes in the future.”

Monarch seem to be solid within the current economic climate, and it could be worth keeping an eye on the region over the next twelve months. The summer may be drawing to a close, but this time next year, 150 new recruits could be off on their jolly holidays, bearing in mind of course that the exits out of unemployment in the East Midlands are located here, here, here and here.


Olivia Dean

20th August 2012

£900,000 for Apprenticeships in North Wales

A £900,000 project in North West Wales will take on seventy apprentices in the engineering and construction sectors.

Credit: Getty Images

Bangor’s Coleg Menai runs an apprentice agency for the Anglesey, Gwynedd and Conwy areas and is preparing to take an additional forty engineering apprentices and thirty recruits in construction. Coleg Menai advocate that

‘the advantage of apprenticeships is that you can continue earning while you are gaining valuable knowledge and skills to give your career a big boost.’

They currently offer eight apprenticeship routes in areas such as creative media and hairdressing and beauty as well as the construction and engineering routes.

This investment comes following Coleg Menai’s merger with fellow learning institutes Coleg Llandrillo and Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor and at a time when, as recently published by the Office of National Statistics (ONS), Welsh unemployment is down by 7,000 between April and June compared to the last quarter, bringing the total unemployment in Wales to a total of 126,000.

Business Minister Edwina Hart states that,

‘There are a number of substantial renewable energy investments under way in north Wales as well as many potential projects in the pipeline, including a possible new nuclear station at Wylfa (Anglesey) that offer a range of new employment opportunities… It is vital we have people with the right skills to take advantage of these opportunities as they arise and Grwp Llandrillo Menai’s initiative offers young people a real chance to gain the necessary qualifications to go for these jobs.”

The investment has been gratefully received at Coleg Menai; Principal Dafydd Evans said confirmation of funding was ‘excellent news for the region’.

The notion of the scheme itself being in two-parts with the intention to connect trained apprenticeships directly with work schemes suggests that the region may see further growth, falls in unemployment and development over the next five years. Perhaps it is a concept that the coalition should consider implementing across a wider geographical base as it could increase the confidence the youth have in future employment opportunities, lower the current level of youth unemployment and ensure that in two years time, those leaving education with the qualifications gained through the apprenticeship would have employment waiting. Such a guarantee would boost morale amongst the youth as employment is not something that many in all levels of education are confident they will be able to acquire.

It will be interesting to see how the scheme is embraced and whether any similar initiatives are established in the near future.

For further information about Coleg Menai and the opportunities they offer, visit their website at

Olivia Dean

16th August 2012

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