The following points are time and cost-effective for those seeking gainful employment following sixth form/college, and is not limited to the titular age group.

It is an option with a view to gaining paid work experience as soon as possible and increasing earning potential from thereon in.

1. Sign up for a degree at the Open University.

There are no entry requirements, and much of your time will be spent online. However, whereas so-called bricks and mortar universities award a 2:1 (the minimum grade desired by the majority of post-graduate employers) for an overall average assignment score of between only 60 and 69, you will have to achieve no less than 70.

But this is one of your selling points to prospective employers post-graduation. If you can achieve an average score of at least 85 to get a distinction, potentially with no A Levels, at this particular university then… does this not give you even the slightest edge over the superabundance of 2:1 graduates from other universities?

Studying part time means you will complete the course in a minimum of 6 years. Although this is 3 years longer than studying full time, this way you will borrow thousands of pounds less to fund your tuition fees.

2. Get an entry level job

Easier said than done as it may be, it is important to bear in mind that by starting ‘at the bottom’ in any industry you will nevertheless demonstrate to a prospective employer post-graduation that you had been able to meet assignment deadlines despite having a full time occupation. You will potentially have 3 to 6 years more life and work experience, not to mention be financially better off, than full-time graduates come 2023.

Although entry-level jobs generally only pay between the National Minimum Wage (£7.50 per hour) and the London Living Wage (£9.75), you will not start repaying the student loan until 4 years after you begin studying (April 2021). What’s more, if your salary is still less than 21k per year by then, you will not pay a single penny back until you get a sufficient pay rise. And even then there’s a chance, albeit slim, that the government will raise the threshold anyhow.

In the extremely unlikely event of you still earning a salary less than 21k in 30 years time, the government will wipe the debt clean. And if you’re fortunate enough to have a job that pays you between 25 and 30k a year, you will pay only £30 per month from your wages.