Uni or Apprenticeship ?Watch
Quick guides to apprenticeships
There seems to be three parts to your question so I'll answer each individually.
1. Job competition
Your feeling reminds me of myself straight after I graduated and perhaps that feeling is more intense due to COVID. If your heart is set on teaching French, the TES website is a good place to start. It lists teaching jobs across the UK and overseas. Maybe between years one and two in uni you could be an exchange student at a university in France or spend the summer at a French boarding school teaching English; and once you've graduated move to France to teach?
If you decide to teach at a state school in the UK, you have to undertake a PGCE. This is a year's course to learn the theory of teaching (planning lessons, how to manage classroom behaviour etc). This can be undertaken at university or at a school through Schools Direct or a SCITT. The first 1/3 is when you learn the theory and the remaining time is a placement at a local school (usually state) to the university or to yourself. It will cost another £9,250 but there are government bursaries. The two main bursaries are 1. If you have a disability or are a parent, which are for all applicants and 2. A bursary of up to £26,000 depending on the subject and grade of your undergraduate degree. The subjects which are eligible change year on year so don't get too disheartened if languages is not eligible this year, it may be by the time you finish your degree.
The bursary table:
Info on routes into teaching (including an explanation of SCITT and School's Direct):
2. Fear of Debt
As the first person to got to uni out of my family, like you I was worried about debt. The important thing to remember is that you do not pay your tuition fee upfront and the amount is taken out at source like tax and national insurance, so you do not pay them yourself. Moneysavingexpert.com has an article which explains how it works in plain English. Here is an excerpt of the article which I will link below:
"Once you leave university, you only repay when you're earning above £2,214 a month (equivalent to £26,575 a year) and then it's fixed at 9% of everything you earn above that. The salary threshold has increased from £25,725/yr before the new tax year kicked in on 6 April 2020. (NB for Scottish students, the threshold where repayments start is £19,390 in 2020/21)."
3. Should you do an apprenticeship?
Degree apprenticeships work by your employer paying all or part of your course tuition fee. At the end of it you will graduate with a degree plus some work experience. This article from the University of Portsmouth (where I graduated) may be a good place to start, and to look up some courses:
If you also want to gain work experience but not do a degree apprenticeship, try sandwich degrees. This is when you spend a year out in industry at university, usually between years 2 and three. At Portsmouth you are only charged around 10% of the yearly fee, so £250 for this.
Optional sandwich year BA Language Studies (you can specialise in French)
HR with sandwich year:
Sorry this is a long post but I hope this all helps. Going to university and choosing what to study is a big decision. The most important thing to remember is to study what interests you. The job market is in a funny position at the moment but it will pick up eventually, just like it did after the 2008 financial crash. One more piece of advice is to get involved in things that will give you lots of skills which you can put on your CV. I understand that things may be different this year but part time work, volunteering and most importantly undertaking opportunities, once all the travel restrictions are lifted, will be a great thing to impress employers (or perhaps I'm biased, as I've studied geography!). But seriously, I hope this have given you a bit of clarity. If you want to chat more, just drop me a line.
I have a place at a Russel group university for this year, which I was hoping to use to become a french teacher. But I know there’s loads of competition for graduates and there’s a chance I might not even be able to get a job as one, especially because languages aren’t very popular in the uk. I’ll also be in so much debt like 30k+, whereas if I do an apprenticeship in say Human Resources, I’ll get paid and have . I’m so lost as to what I should do.