Is university worth it?

| August 13, 2012 | 0 Comments

By Emma Mason, Corporation Tax Assistant, Baker Tilly Chartered Accountants.

I went to a private school in Bromley, I got good grades and it went without saying that I was supposed to go to university. So like many other students, I didn’t think twice about enrolling in a Bachelor of Science at Bath University.

However, it didn’t take me long to realise university life wasn’t for me. It was quite a big step for me to leave university especially when all my other friends were going down this route. But today I can confidently say that university isn’t always the best option when starting a career and securing your dream job.

When I was 19, I heard about the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT). This offered an alternative route into the field of finance and accountancy. I saw this as the perfect ‘stepping stone’, it didn’t require a degree and I would benefit from earning a salary whilst learning on the job.

Baker Tilly, a leading provider of accountancy and finance services, took me on in its apprenticeship scheme which meant my course fees were covered and I was given time off to study.

I’ve finished my AAT and I can now say that I have a respected and well-recognised qualification, no university debt and two and a half years’ experience in the finance sector. How many university graduates can say this?

What’s more is that once I had finished my AAT qualification, I chose to carry on studying to gain chartered status. I feel having experience of working within the office environment and applying knowledge I already learnt meant that I felt more confident than those that had entered the workplace straight from university.

It’s not surprising to hear that one third of pupils never hear about their vocational education options. Schools seem to focus solely on the percentage of students who go on to university. It’s a confronting and stressful time for any school leaver and I fear our vision is further blurred by stereotypes and expectations. Nobody told me about the AAT route and the overwhelming benefits it provides to students. If I’d known about it, I wouldn’t have gone to university at all.

Emma Mason is a 22 year old Corporation Tax Assistant at Baker Tilly Chartered Accountants in Bromley.

The AAT is the UK’s professional body for accounting and finance staff and offers an alternative route to an accountancy qualification to university. To find out more, visit

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Category: Professional Bodies

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