‘Uni is not the only option’ says Portsmouth apprentice

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AS UNIVERSITIES closed their doors within hours of A-levels being published, a Portsmouth student has given a ray of hope to disappointed applicants.

Maddison Grant, 20, at Highbury College, is just a few exams away from an Association of Accounting Technicians award following a two-year apprenticeship at wetsuit company O’Neills that cost her just £300.

She said she decided not to go to university as it was too expensive – but students who have missed this year’s entry face annual tuition fees of up to £9,000 in September 2012.

Maddison, from Southsea, hopes her experience will enlighten four out of five university hopefuls seeking a place through clearing this year but predicted to fail.

She said: ‘I studied law, critical thinking, psychology and accountancy for A-levels but felt I couldn’t face the stress of having large amounts of debt so decided against university.

‘The government paid for my fees in the first year, and my employers paid half my fees in the second year, and I’ll be fully qualified soon.

‘An apprenticeship was the best decision I made. University is not the only option.’