Even though there is plenty to be said for university degrees, apprenticeships, school leaver programmes and sponsored degrees, going straight into the world of work can be a great option for school leavers.
Obviously by going straight into work you’ll not only be earning money but avoiding student debt altogether: the average UK student ends a three-year degree course owing £23,500. Higher education is also not the guarantee of a good career that it used to be: almost 60% of UK graduates are now working in non-graduate jobs. This is a percentage only exceeded by Greece and Estonia.
By going straight into work you could also earn more than those heading onto apprenticeships. For those under 18 people in standard work earn more per hour than apprentices 18 and under, or 19 and over in their first year of the programme. You can also start building up practical experience of the workplace and important ‘soft skills’ – leadership, teamwork, communication skills – and problem-solving skills right away. These are vital for the world of work, which many employers say that university graduates are lacking – going into work after school could give you a better grounding in these skills than continuing in education.
By going straight into work you are also by no means preventing yourself from going back into education or training at some point in the future, in fact a year or so in a proper job could really help add to your application for a sought-after apprenticeship or school leaver programme, giving you an advantage over applicants who have only done GCSEs or A-levels.
Check out this section for advice on everything you need for the world of work: from career tests and CVs to interview tips and information on internships.