School leaver blog: words of reassurance

  • Anna Vall Navés
  • 11 Oct 2019

Welcome to this week’s AllAboutSchoolLeavers’ blog! This week, we’ll be taking a look at how prepared (or unprepared) most school leavers are for the adult world. We’ll also briefly be digging into the world of business—specifically entrepreneurship—and taking a look at a famous businesswoman who was once an apprentice.


Career insight of the week: what we wish we’d known

This week’s career insight is less a piece of advice than reassurance for anyone just starting off their career or university education. And it’s this: no one really has it together at this stage. Starting work, a school leaver programme or going off to university marks a completely new stage in your life, and it’s rare for anyone to ever be completely prepared.

Recently, the Sell House Fast company asked over 2,000 adults in the UK what they wish they’d been taught before leaving school. The study found an overwhelming majority of respondents (81%) wish they’d been taught how to save or budget effectively. 72% also wished they’d learned about credit, loans, taxes and other financial items, while 68% regretted not learning how to cook and 64% wish they’d learned how to write CVs and cover letters. 

In other words, the vast majority of UK adults participating in this study did not feel prepared for the adult world after leaving school—so there’s no reason to panic if you don’t either. Although it would be great for many of these skills to be taught in school, the reality is that most of them are acquired with time. You’re not expected to have everything under control straight out of school, so don’t worry too much!


“There is more to life than increasing its speed.” —Mahatma Gandhi

Weird and wonderful apprenticeships: entrepreneur

This week’s apprenticeship isn’t weird at all; in fact, business apprenticeships are among the most popular in the UK. You might not have imagined that there was an apprenticeship for future entrepreneurs because entrepreneurship isn’t usually defined as a ‘career’, per se. However, it certainly does exist, and this apprenticeship can be an excellent route if you want to start your own business. 

The entrepreneur apprenticeship is a higher apprenticeship that generally takes two years to complete, and its aim is to teach you how to spot an opportunity and start your own venture. As the entrepreneur apprenticeship standard points out, while the aim of most ventures is to generate income, many startups and entrepreneurial projects can create positive change or aim to solve societal problems. So if you want to put your creativity to good use, and potentially help people while you’re at it, this might be the apprenticeship for you!

Spotlight on: Ruth Badger, ex-apprentice and businesswoman

She’s famous for being the runner-up on the reality TV show The Apprentice, but what few people realise is that Ruth Badger was a real-life apprentice too. At age 16, Badger took up a business administration apprenticeship, which she claims played a key role in her later achievements. 

Badger now runs three successful businesses of her own, and she still believes in the great benefits of apprenticeships. She claims apprenticeships both give young people the opportunity to find out exactly what they want to do and are wonderfully suited to industries that are mostly practical: “Different things suit different industries,” she says. “I think when it’s practical, apprenticeships are suitable.” And as a result of her experiences as an apprentice, she now runs an apprenticeship programme of her own. 

Recommended reading

  1. As the Sell House Fast company’s study found, 68% of adults wish they’d been taught how to cook at school. Why not get ahead on this basic survival skill and take a look at Yotam Ottolenghi’s super-cheap recipes for students
  2. You might also find that adulting can be made even more difficult when you’re living in a shared flat. You’re quite likely to encounter some awkward housemate scenarios; thankfully, we’ve found a list of ways to deal with the main ones.
  3. If all else fails, here are five ways to argue better—you’ll need them. (We’re kidding, but these are actually some pretty good rules to follow).
  4. And as far as adulting goes, you don’t need to wake up at 5am to qualify as a proper adult. Here are a few reasons not to wake up early in the morning.

Finally, we know leaving for university can be a difficult process for many students, and it can be made even more difficult if your first experiences don’t meet your expectations. This article takes a look at how university life is portrayed on TV, as opposed to what it’s actually like for most students.


Recruiting school leavers? We can help