You don’t need to go to university to follow your dream job. We round up our experts’ career advice from our recent live chat
Are you sure about your decision?
Ravi Soni is a careers adviser for the National Careers Service: “One of the key factors in making a decision about going to university is whether you know what type of work would suit you. It’s a good idea to explore this as it helps you understand whether it’s necessary to have a degree to get to where you want to be.
“People tend to be concerned about funding when it comes to higher education, but many don’t fully research their options. There are resources, such as the student finance calculator and the National Careers Service website, to help you understand funding. Universities and colleges also offer options such as foundation degrees, higher national certificates and higher national diplomas, which are not as expensive as a full degree.”
You don’t need a degree to be successful
Hattie Wrixon co-founded Uni’s Not For Me when she was 17 years old: “I chose not to go to university after the tuition fees went up and I could not find a suitable course worth paying for. Instead, I decided to set up the site, which aims to help and guide students who aren’t sure what they want to do. There are a number of different qualifications that you can do, and many companies will pay for these if you are able to get a place at their firm.”
Research your options
Montanna Stafford is product manager at the Association of Accounting Technicians: “Show initiative and research the company or organisation thoroughly so that you can demonstrate this in your application. Think about why the area of work appeals to you. In terms of securing an apprenticeship, a good starting point is to register with the National Apprenticeship Service, where you can search for vacancies in your local area.”
Mark Morris is careers guidance practitioner for the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx): “There are plenty of careers that you can enter without going to university. The apprenticeship route is growing in popularity. For some people, there are considerable benefits to working and earning while you are learning and building a professional career. Social media offers a range of ways of finding opportunities. It can also be a great way to research employers and find out what they are tweeting about.
“One common misconception is that you cannot become a qualified lawyer without going to university. The CILEx has a well-established route that you can take after leaving school or college – there are now also apprenticeships in legal services.”
Clare Whitmell is a Guardian contributor and a qualified business communication trainer: “If you apply for an apprenticeship, expect a fairly rigorous selection procedure. You’ll need to send your CV, so make sure this is as good as you can get it, with evidence of your skills. You might also need to do an aptitude test to check if you have the ability to do the apprenticeship.
“You need to show you’re enthusiastic and committed. Apprenticeships last for at least a year, so the employer will want to be sure that you’ll stay the course. Be clear on why the sector and role appeals, and include this in your cover letter.
“Showing your commitment through volunteering will also work in your favour. For instance, one of the best ways into charity work (regardless of whether you have a degree) is through volunteering for that charity. You’ll get to know people and find out first-hand about opportunities.”
How to choose your careerNot sure what career path to follow? Or considering different paths? Let CareerAdvisorDaily publisher David Crays guide you. Available at Amazon.com Check it out here