Are you on track for top A-level grades and a place at university when you open your results next Thursday?
Or are you looking for an alternative to continuing education by getting straight to work?
While official figures from the UCAS University and College Admissions Service show that 44% of 18-year-olds applied for higher education courses this year, there are plenty of other options.
The cost of living crisis means nine out of ten students are reassessing which route to take, so here are some of the choices. . .
- ENTRY LEVEL JOBS: Start at the bottom and work your way up. Sectors such as leisure and hospitality, retail, travel and logistics all have vacancies for A-level leavers. Look for them on findajob.dwp.gov.uk or apply directly to companies.
- LEARNINGS: This traditional route is experiencing a huge revival with over 500 different types of jobs on offer. Acquire professional qualifications in your chosen field and earn as you learn. Visit apprenticeships.gov.uk.
- GRADUATED LEARNING: Many professional employers such as accounting, legal, financial and IT firms offer specialized schemes for recent graduates aged 18 and over. You will graduate, but you will need high marks to apply. See multiverse.io.
- HIGHER TECHNICAL QUALIFICATIONS: HTQs are level 4 or 5 qualifications such as HNDs and HE degrees approved by the Institute for Apprenticeship and Technical Education. Search this link: rb.gy/bdfqlb.
- UNIVERSITY: Each sets its own entry requirements, but you need an A level or equivalent. You can change courses or apply for another university through the clearing process. See ucas.com.
Whether you’re heading to college or waiting to start a career, you can gain work experience and earn extra money with micro-tasking apps. Unigigster.com connects companies with local students.
Founder Chirag Basavaraj said, “It gives business owners access to a potential workforce of over 2.3 million people, bypassing more traditional and costly hiring processes.”
Likewise, Redwigwam.com offers thousands of summer jobs for A-level leavers.
CEO Lorna Davidson says, “We have a lot of flexible work for students this summer and they can mix and match what type they do. We pay quickly and it’s a great opportunity to build their resume with a variety of experiences.
Be good in times of crisis
WITH more than a million vacancies across the UK, A-level leavers are urged to target short-staffed sectors.
Jennifer Johansson, CEO of recruitment platform Placed App, believes new school leavers can help ease the current staffing crisis in the country.
She says, “Some sectors have a hard time attracting the right talent, so you have the option of making an offer to them.
Demonstrate your willingness to learn and you could become a valued understudy for someone who really needs more hands on deck.
Look at areas where you could pursue a career that are having trouble recruiting.
In such cases, it may be easier to negotiate a higher salary, especially once you have gained experience and reputation. »
“Climbing the Career Ladder”
Sophie Hutson started working for Travelodge as a pot washer in 2009 while studying for her A-levels.
After leaving her university course, she returned to Travelodge as a receptionist.
She has now worked her way up to the position of Hotel Manager at the Windsor Central Travelodge.
Sophie, 29, from Staines, said: “Compared to my friends who went to college, I actually rose through the ranks much faster than them.
“Joining Travelodge opens the door to training, coaching and career progression.”
Travelodge offers 500 jobs at www.travelodge.co.uk/careers.
Not too late to change
Did NOT get the grades you needed, but still want to go to college? Or did you do better than expected? Next, find a course through the clearing.
David Seaton, Deputy Director of Admissions at the University of Bedfordshire, says: “Compensation has a reputation for being a rushed process where you make a big decision in a hurry, but it doesn’t have to be.”
Here he explains how best to use clearing. . .
BE CLEAR ABOUT WHAT YOU EXPECT FROM UNI: Do you want to be closer to home or live in the city? Is the type of course offered the most important to you?
THINK BEFORE YOU CHANGE: You might be tempted to use the compensation to change universities after receiving your A-level results, especially if you are doing better than expected. Be careful and do your research. Would another university really be the best solution for you?
HAVE INFORMATION TO WEAR: You will need your UCAS ID, a list of the courses you are interested in and the full names of the qualifications.
TO ASK QUESTIONS: Once you start talking to universities, the process can go very quickly. Make sure you understand everything you are being told, and if you don’t, just ask.
KEEP CALM AND HAVE AN OPEN MIND: Clearance is a great opportunity to find your dream course and even if you don’t get your first choice of course, there will be others that will suit you. See bed.ac.uk/clearing.