School leaver blog: news, careers advice… and David Beckham

  • Anna Vall Navés
  • Last updated 07 Aug 2019

Welcome to our weekly AllAboutSchoolLeavers blog! This week, we’ll be rounding up some of the most important news stories for school leavers, looking at the possibility of postponing university and exploring some of the most unexpected apprenticeships and apprentices.


Weekly news digest

Secret government report reveals fears of school closures and food shortages in case of no-deal Brexit

A Department for Education (DfE) report expresses fears of the state of schools under a no-deal Brexit. The report, which was marked with the instruction: “do not circulate”, indicates that schools could close and food for pupils’ meals could run short due to panic buying and soaring prices. Pupil and staff absences are also marked as concerns due to possible travel disruptions. A DfE spokesperson commented: “We are confident provision for schools will be protected in the event of the UK having to leave the EU without an agreement and there are robust contingency plans in place to ensure schools are prepared for all eventualities.”

Number of unconditional university offers hits record high

The number of unconditional offers made to prospective university students has risen to almost two in five (38%) this year, with a quarter of students now receiving at least one unconditional offer. These statistics have emerged with government pressure to rein in on these offers—with some ministers claiming that universities making unconditional offers are “undermining the credibility of higher education”. The Office for Students is set to launch a review of university admissions this year, which could change the system so that students apply after receiving their results.

Exam Results Helpline partners with Mental Health UK ahead of results day

Ahead of results days for some vocational qualifications, A levels and GCSEs, the National Careers Service’s >Exam Results Helpline has partnered with Mental Health UK to help students make the best choices after their results come in. The National Results Helpline will be available from August 14 to help students manage their emotions and decide what steps to take next, even if their results are unexpected. Before then, both of these organisations will be releasing all sorts of useful articles and videos for students and parents alike.


“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” —Henry Ford

Career insight of the week: postponing university education

Not heading to university straight after college? Depending on your circumstances, you might be making a wise choice—but that doesn’t mean you can’t attend university later on in life.

According to Jake Schwartz—CEO of General Assembly, a global education start-up with 20 campuses worldwide—we might be doing students a “disservice” by expecting them to make the major financial and professional decision of going to university—in most cases, before they’ve even turned 20. It’s never too late in life to attend university, and it’s more common than you might think to study later on in life; many even choose to study part-time alongside their jobs. 

You might choose to attend university as a school leaver, gain work experience and save university for later—or never attend it. The bottom line, however, is that you shouldn’t feel pressured to make your decision before you’re ready.

Weird and wonderful apprenticeships: organ building

Ever fancied building an organ? Probably not—but it is an apprenticeship you could take! Offered by all sorts of employers, such as Harrison & Harrison, this advanced apprenticeship generally takes 36 months to complete, with up to £24,000 in funding. Upon completion, apprentices know how to build and restore organs and are eligible to work in any of the companies accredited by the Institute of British Organ Building. It’s certainly a niche career, but it’s also one that could see you working in beautiful churches across the country and on some of the most complex and impressive instruments out there.

Spotlight on a famous apprentice: David Beckham

Just as apprenticeships can be weird and wonderful, so too can the places where apprentices end up. This week, we’re focusing on David Beckham—who was an apprentice himself!

Before becoming a famous football player, Beckham started his career as an apprentice at the Youth Football training scheme at Manchester United, an on-the-job training scheme for school leavers aged 16 and 17. As soon as he finished the apprenticeship, he was scouted by Manchester United. Then, of course, his career took quite the turn.

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