Short cut to full-time work
MOVING straight into full-time employment and cutting out university may appeal to more school-leavers as higher education costs increase and youth unemployment remains high.
A third of universities are committed to charge the full £9,000 annual fee from September next year and the scale of debt following a degree can be a daunting prospect.
There are many successful individuals who did not have a university education, among these are Lord Alan Sugar, Sir Richard Branson and BBC's Dragons' Den and health club entrepreneur, Duncan Bannatyne.
One success story closer to home is Jamie Butler, from Reading, who completed his GCSEs before studying AS Levels in sociology, psychology and media studies for one year at Reading's Prospect Sixth Form College.
Despite achieving excellent grades in his chosen subjects, and enjoying the social aspect of college, Jamie felt it wasn't for him and at 17 decided to forego formal education in favour of hands-on experience.
Jamie, 21, said: "I didn't want to go to university and leave with lots of debt. Also going to university does not guarantee you will get a job. I have a lot of friends coming back this year and they don't know what they'll be doing."
Having started work, at 17, in internal sales at Redstor, a Reading-based technology provider, Jamie, has also worked in customer service there but quickly realised he was more suited to, and proficient at, the sales side of the business.
From a role as a new business executive, after six months Jamie was offered more responsibility and the opportunity to run his own accounts. He also began supporting marketing elements such as social media and blogs for the business.
Jamie said: "Part of the attraction of joining a small local business was the opportunity to dip into as many different areas of the company as possible. That way I have an all-round grounding in business and know where my strengths lie."
Jamie believes it is possible for students and graduates to move away from traditional education models and embark on a more challenging and rewarding learning curve. Many companies offer valuable training and support for those willing to learn and this could prove to be more attractive to those looking for employment and progression without big debt.
This article appeared in Peeblesshire News 27 Jul 11
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