There are many pros and cons to attending university. On the plus side you get to study something that you truly love and care about, there is a greater degree of independence and of course the potential to earn more over your lifetime. On the down side, it takes years out of your life, is very expensive and you’re not always guaranteed the job you want on completion. University open days are a great way to discover if uni life is really for you before you make any solid decisions on your future.
For many people, university isn’t all its cracked up to be, and thousands of students leaving secondary schools and colleges each year opt for an entirely different path. Let’s examine some of those options here.
1. Take a degree apprenticeship
If you want to learn on the job and only attend lectures and classes occasionally, then a degree apprenticeship is an excellent way to do this. This is the usual route for those wishing to enter into a trade such as automotive or aerospace, and also for students desiring to work in the construction or engineering industries.
You will work a few days per week onsite learning a skill, and then be able to apply those skills to real-life paid jobs. All training is paid for, and you will get paid a wage for your work. You can also take a higher apprenticeship which is slightly different.
2. Go on a traineeship
Many apprenticeships require students to hold the basic qualifications at GCSE level such as English or Maths, but for students not adept at these subjects, a traineeship is available to bring you up to scratch before entering the apprenticeship of your choice.
You will learn skills on the job relating to your chosen trade, however much of the course involves learning the basics of secondary education. This course can also be taken by adult learners who did not pass exams at school.
3. Have a gap year
Tired of books, pencils and homework? If you have the funds, then why not jet set to a foreign destination for a year after you finish college and explore the wider world? If this is your ideal, then you need to make plans well in advance in regard to funding, accommodation and work to support yourself.
4. Go straight into full-time employment
If you have the basic literacy and numeracy skills obtained from your GCSEs, you can find a job pretty much anywhere – albeit an entry level position. This is the classic ‘work your way to the top’ situation so while you may start out, for example, as a bar tender, this can quickly evolve into being bar manager, later restaurant manager and eventually into running your very own business from the skills you’ve picked up along the way.
This choice gives you the freedom to choose from a number of professions covering sectors mainly in retail, but it also opens the door to work in travel and tourism and so much more. What’s more, you’ll be paid a full-time wage which gives you the immediate freedom, unlike someone tied down for four years on a university degree.