As tuition fees rise, more and more potential students are being put off and looking to other routes to secure that lucrative future that a university education would bring them.

But it turns out that it is not just the students that are worried about the situation, large employers are also worried that they won’t have sufficient applicants of the right calibre should university fees put potential bright students off of studying.

Some of these large employers are therefore, according to a Guardian report, starting to recruit at post A-level stage and then putting successful applicants through in-house training and educational courses.

The big four accountancy firms (PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte, KPMG and Ernst & Young) have established such courses and offer 5-6 year programmes that compete directly with traditional degree courses and the standard post university required training.

Gaenor Bagley of PwC said "We want to lead the way in opening the door to jobs in business to as many people as possible. For us, this is about getting the right people into the right jobs at the right time for our business."

Stephen Isherwood of Ernst & Young said that this type of programme could be expanded beyond its current 10% of graduate intake.

The Guardian quotes Carl Gilleard, chief executive of the Association of Graduate Recruiters, saying earlier this year "What employers find attractive is the targeting of young talented people at an early stage, so they can easily mould them into what they want them to be. There shouldn't just be one model of recruiting bright young talent to top graduate-level jobs."

With more employer programmes such as this the universities, even the most prestigious, may find that they can’t compete for the best minds, especially as the employers will presumably be paying their students instead of charging them massive fees. Just like the armed forces do for many of their executive commissioned careers.

This will hopefully be seen as a form of apprenticeship and then universities can get back to being seats of knowledge for knowledge sake, not just graduate farms for employers.

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