In 2017 The Institute of Fiscal Studies reported that the average student in England will be graduating with more than £50,000 in debts. That’s the average! For students from poorer backgrounds that figure is far higher. But university has always been a huge financial commitment. To commit three years of your life without earning any income – wow, that’s a big step, especially when you don’t have a support network behind you. There are other reasons not to go to university as well. It is not the only way forward that’s available to you. There are many other options you can consider, each with the potential to kick-start your career.
1. Don’t PanicMany modern industries are turning away from university qualifications. What matters is talent and transferrable skills, not a certificate. This is especially true of creative and tech industries, where the best candidate is somebody who thinks outside the box, rather than somebody who can recite scholars. Transferrable soft skills are more and more important; such as a willingness to learn and a focus on personal growth. And just because you didn’t go to university doesn’t mean employers will think you are unwilling to learn. As university courses have become prohibitively expensive, employers have turned more flexible in their search for the best talent.
2. Think PositiveApply for a degree and there’s a choice of universities. Now you’re not going to university you have more choice. Your choices are wider and more varied, which can be scary as it’s not clear-cut. But out of choice comes opportunity. The challenge is going to be finding something that’s right for you. But more on that later. Right now you should be thinking positively. There’s a world of opportunity and you are perfectly positioned to start exploiting it all.
3. Consider Your Options
ApprenticeshipsAn apprenticeship is a full-time job. You’ll get paid a salary and gain practical, job-specific skills. It’s a great first step on the career ladder and is proven to have significant long-term benefits. You do get paid. Once you have turned 19, and completed the first year of an apprenticeship, you are entitled to the national minimum wage. While that doesn’t sound like a lot, consider that you’ll be learning from experienced industry professionals and working towards a formal qualification. Plus you won’t be paying our £9250 per year for a university degree. Studies show that is increasingly difficult for university graduates to find a job. Statistics in the UK indicate that over 90% of apprenticeships stay in full-time employment after completing their internship. Choosing an apprenticeship is as life-changing as choosing a university course. You’ll work and study in a specific industry, so it’s important to ask whether the industry is right for you. This detailed article covers everything you need to know about apprenticeships in the UK, including how to apply. It suggests a six step plan to applying:
- Know your starting level
- Career research
- Apprenticeship research
- Get yourself job ready
- Perfect your cover letter and CV
- Getting ready for interview