It’s quite clear that young people are not receiving all the information they need about alternative options after school.
In fact, nearly 98 per cent of 17 and 18-year-olds feel their school needs to put more effort into helping them get into the world of work, and over 90 per cent believe the UK education system sees exam results as more important than career preparation. With schools heavily focused on the academic routes of education, other options sadly fall to the side.
A more thorough coverage of apprenticeships and traineeships – which offer true insights into the working world – are after-school options that many believe should be explored further by schools so that young people can gain practical working skills.
A survey by NotGoingToUni found that some of the factors that led to people rejecting university included the increasing cost of tuition fees (58%), the fact that as good a job could be acquired without a degree (52%), and the desire to learn while earning and working, i.e. through an apprenticeship (39%).
All these stats go to show – university isn’t the only option if you’re looking for your first steps in the world of work. Let’s take a look at what these other options can offer.
Apprenticeships are growing in popularity as an after-school choice, but there are still some myths that hold them back in the public eye. These include the idea that apprenticeships are badly paid, and that they are made for people who couldn’t get into university in the first place.
Depending on the industry, apprenticeships can offer a more direct route into a career than a degree. Not only will you already have a foot in the door in a business, but you can familiarise yourself with the tasks and responsibilities of the role, applying your practical knowledge while in the workplace, and picking up a range of important knowledge by completing your qualification.
The guaranteed minimum wage for apprenticeships is currently set to £3.40, but many apprentices are paid well above this so that the business is able to attract the right candidate. Think of an apprenticeship as somewhere between a full time job, and an academic course in which you will be earning a wage.
As much as 10% of students drop out of university in their first year, while still paying fees of between £9,000 and £20,000 after realising it wasn’t the right choice for them. If you remain sceptical as to whether university will be the right choice both career-wise and financially, make sure you explore other options before you start your first year.
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There’s no doubt that traineeships aren’t an option that are discussed nearly enough by schools with their students. University degrees were the most talked-about option in UK schools, with 68% claiming that they discussed it with their career advisor. Traineeships rated the lowest in the survey, with only 10 per cent saying that they had discussed this option with their advisor.
Not only are traineeships a viable option for work experience with some great companies in a variety of sectors, but they could be a saving grace for those who are lacking qualifications in maths and English. Also, a traineeship will enable you to develop important life skills such as interview technique and CV writing to attract potential employers.
With businesses such as British Gas, Fedex, and Boots running their own programmes, a traineeship is a useful step into becoming work-ready, and adding some important skills and experience for your CV.