Newham Recorder Big Debate: Should everyone in Newham have a degree?

Statistics released by the European Union show Newham is part of the second-most educated region in Europe.

A massive 58.3 per cent of residents in Inner London East – which includes Hackney and Islington as well as Newham and others – have a degree or equivalent.

The Newham Recorder therefore asked: Should everyone in Newham have a degree?

Emily Knight, West Ham Conservatives

UK universities are world leaders and provide excellent teaching, as well as the opportunity for young people to experience living away from home before entering the world of work.

Every young person who wants to attain a degree and has the grades to match, is supported in achieving that goal, but a university degree is not for everyone, and we should not push teenagers into thinking university is the only option for them.

The Conservative government's funding and encouragement of apprenticeships over the past few years has led to record numbers of young people applying. Apprenticeships can give young people the opportunity to learn a valuable skill while earning. They can raise the productivity of the businesses they join and are now very well respected as alternatives to degrees.

The rising number of apprenticeships has led to greater diversity. As well as being able to train in traditional skills such as carpentry, more professions are shunning degrees in favour of in-work training. Nowadays, young people seeking careers in journalism, coding and aviation are able to learn and earn straight out of school without accruing the debt a university degree brings with it. School-leavers in Newham have so much choice, they shouldn't feel forced into university if it isn't right for them.