A typical education journey in the UK would usually consist of GCSEs, A-Levels, and then if you wanted to continue your studies a degree at university. There have been many changes to the university system however, which means that it is not the best option for some school leavers. Everyone is different, and as such there cannot be a one size fits all approach to education, and every individual should think carefully about what is his or her best choice. This maximises your chance of success, as well as greatly increasing your enjoyment of your studies. So what can you do besides a degree?
If you are certain about what career you want to pursue upon leaving school then you are in a very fortunate position as you are able to make targeted decisions from an early age. This makes vocational education a real option as you can fine-tune your skills to fit your goals. Look into the industry you want to go in to and ask questions of those currently working in it. There may be a preferred route of entry into the job and any insider knowledge will be massively useful on your journey.
If your chosen field does not require a specific degree, or there is nothing relevant at university then you might consider an apprenticeship. Apprenticeship programs from associations like City & Guilds include on the job training, and development of skills specific to your chosen career. The qualification you receive means you have something concrete to show for your hard work at the end of your course of study, making it a little more fruitful than straightforward work experience.
If you are unsure what career path to follow then it can be difficult to chose an appropriate education route. So as you don’t spend money on courses that might prove to be useless to you, you might decide to gain work experience in several fields in order to establish a preference for a certain profession. Internships and work placements as well as paid employment and travelling are all great ways to discover a little more about yourself, and where you see your professional life going.
A degree at any UK university will now cost you around £9k a year putting it off the menu for many students. This might however be a blessing for some who may not have otherwise considered more suitable alternatives. Do plenty of research and don’t rush into anything until you are sure as this will waste both time and money and may land you in a job you have no real interest in.