Research by AAT, the UK’s leading qualification and professional body for vocational accountants, reveals those who study vocational courses are set on the road to financial independence, job security and satisfaction.

The earning potential of those studying vocational courses with on-the-job training such as AAT is £8,688 per annum for 16 -18 year olds. Savvy students who earn while they learn not only enjoy the benefits of on-the-job training in the workplace but also enjoy more financial independence than those who have gone down the traditional university route. Twice as many (14%) own their own home, 40% own their own car and nearly a third (30%) report that they are able to afford the things they like.

The prospect of earning while you learn isn’t the only benefit of opting for a vocational course. According to the 2015 Salary Survey conducted by AAT, three quarters (74%) say they are very or quite satisfied in their job and eight out of ten (82%) are very or quite secure in their job.


Vocational qualifications offer a way to kick-start a career by ensuring learners gain much needed skills alongside their qualifications. Having a degree is no longer a required route into a profession such as accountancy. In fact the latest UK Graduate Employment Survey found that 60% of graduates are either in jobs that do not require a degree or are underemployed.

These findings echo AAT’s research which found just 22% of employers think qualifications are an important factor when considering who to hire with 88% looking at a candidates’ skillset instead. This means those studying vocational courses can be one step ahead of graduates on the career ladder due to their experience.

Vocational qualifications can also offer young people an important insight into the world of work helping them to develop important soft skills such as communication, self-management and resilience which businesses increasingly desire. A recent survey by CBI/Pearson found that 39% of businesses are currently concerned by the attitudes of school and college leavers to work, with 61% not satisfied with skills such as self-management and resilience.

With tuition fees now a maximum of £9,000 per year nearly a quarter (24%) of graduates aged 25 – 27 have double the amount of debt as the national household average at £20,000. Following the announcement that tuition fees are set to increase the decision to go to university is one that should be carefully considered.

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