Whether you’re put off by student loans, you need a break from education, or you’re keen on starting work straight after school – going to university isn’t the right choice for everyone. You might be surprised at the career prospects available to those without a degree. If you’re considering not going to university, here are a few options of what you could do next:
- Traineeships/internships - designed to help young people aged 16 to 24 who don’t yet have the appropriate skills or experience. Traineeships provide the essential work preparation training: English; maths and work experience needed to secure an apprenticeship or employment.
- School leaver programmes - these programmes are designed to give school leavers the chance to gain a qualification whilst working part-time or full-time, whilst also earning a wage. The most common school leaver programmes are available in accountancy, finance, retail, engineering, and IT. They could last from three to seven years, depending on the company.
- Apprenticeships - a job with training. Being an apprentice means that you have a job that includes gaining recognised qualifications and essential skills, whilst you are working and earning a wage. There are three types of apprenticeships; foundation, intermediate and higher.
- Entry-level jobs - if you want to start work straight away, an entry-level job could be for you and there are many of these jobs available in different industries.
- Professional qualifications - courses that are specific to an industry which enables you to gain the necessary qualifications needed to get started in your career – without committing to university. They also give you the opportunity to study on a distance learning or part-time basis and have the freedom to get a job or spend time on working on other things.
Volunteering - charities and non-profit organisations hire thousands of volunteers every year. Even though you don’t get paid, you will have the chance to carry out tasks and duties that could help or be part of your career later and you will gain valuable experience that will stand out from others when applying for a job.
- Gap year - You don’t have to go straight in to university or work when you finish school. Some of you may not be sure of what you want to do and a gap year could be the best way to figure this out. Whilst on a gap year you could travel, work as a temp, meet new people, which will in turn help you gain some valuable life experiences.
Self-employment - This might be your opportunity to turn something you are good at or have a passion for into a career. However, do remember to consider whether this would work and the potential costs involved.
Even if you decide not to go university for now, it doesn't mean you’re closing the door to this option. You may find that you need to take some time out after school to do other things. You can then make an informed decision on what to do next.
Here are some useful websites to help you make the right decisions for you and not what everyone else is doing. Make a choice that makes sense to you, your situation and your own career plans: