Update: We’ve updated our article about jobs for school leavers to make sure you’ve got all the information you need.
Deciding whether to carry on studying or get a job is a difficult one for 16 to 18-year-olds leaving school.
University graduates are no longer guaranteed a job straight after leaving, and the prospect of getting into thousands of pounds of debt before struggling to find a graduate scheme is becoming less appealing to many young people.
There has been a shift in opinion with regards to universities from both students and employers. Many people who would have gone onto university before the recession (and the increase in tuition fees) are deciding to try their luck in the workplace.
They feel that by the time they would have finished their degree, they will have had three years’ work experience and no student debt.
Not only does this mean they feel they would be in a stronger position financially, but also be more employable and have even had a richer experience.
It’s important to understand that university does offer a great range of benefits for a large number of school leavers.
For many it is the first opportunity to experience living away from home, and degrees can offer a direct channel into various careers of choice, like medicine or accounting.
However, university isn’t the only option – there are lucrative opportunities available for those who choose not to continue studying.
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School and college leavers are being increasingly offered places in law firms as legal admin assistants and apprentices. This means that even without industry-specific qualifications, it is possible to break into the legal sector, something which was once unheard of.
There are also apprentice schemes for advertising and media agencies, communication companies and food retail management programmes.
There are also more traditional vocational apprenticeships available, in industries such as agriculture, construction, manufacturing and much more. Visit Apprenticeships.org.uk for more information.
Young entrepreneur start ups
According to a report by The Prince’s Trust and RBS, 30% of young people believe they will be self-employed in the future. Whatever your area of interest, there is help, guidance, advice and funding (often in the form of loans) available to help you start your own business. For more information, visit:
- NEA – The New Enterprise Allowance is available to people aged 18 and over who are claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance and want to start their own business
- Start Up Loans – A government funded scheme to provide loans and mentors for entrepreneurs aged 18 to 30-years-old
- Rockstar Youth – The UK’s number one mentoring and funding organisation for young entrepreneurs
- The Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme – Helps young people interested in self-employment test their ideas and start their own businesses
Whether you’re still at school or college, have a part-time or full-time job, or are currently looking for work, volunteering is an excellent way to broaden your skill set, gain experience of the working world, and ‘do your bit’ for society.
Whatever your area of interest, from animal care to civil rights, there are likely to be many volunteering opportunities in your area. Visit Do-it.org.uk to search for opportunities near you.
There are plenty of companies that employ school leavers on training schemes, offering them the chance to progress through the company.
Many young adults are applying for school leaver programmes with blue chip companies straight after school, as a number of firms are showing an increasing interest in cheaper labour and the blank canvas they are offered with school leavers.
Big firms such as Network Rail and PricewaterhouseCoopers have seen student applications rise significantly, and this is not just from graduates. A number of school leavers are applying, hoping to get their foot in the door early.
As a school leaver, you are not expected to have a great deal of life experience, but you will need to have a professional attitude and be prepared to work hard. Going out to work at 16, 17 or 18 is not easy. You may find that you are suddenly earning a good wage, but with that comes more responsibility.
At Office Angels, we offer a whole host of helpful information and advice to help you find the right job for you, from writing a winning school leaver’s CV to developing your career. Click here for our advice on being a better jobseeker.
One of the most effective ways to make yourself a better candidate is to gain experience.
Applying for jobs you’re interested in as a school leaver will help you gain vital interview skills and make you a stronger candidate in the future, even if you don’t happen to secure the job at this stage.
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