Open a newspaper, switch on the news etc and there will be more and more about the number of young people with great A levels who are unlikely to get to university.

We know this is tough and I really sympathise. You could say they’ve been ‘sold a pup’, they thought if the studied hard and got good grades they would get to university. Plans are not going to happen and there’s so much uncertainty for both young people and parents.
Watching Newsnight on Monday evening a representative of the Russell Group of Universities said that there was a danger of young people choosing the wrong course at the wrong university, but not everyone can get the right course at the right university. Many would love to study, for example International Politics at Warwick, but if you don’t get in do you opt for whatever you can get at university of wherever?
To go to a good university is likely to increase your chance of a high paying career, plus there are the contacts you make.
The Labour party have been encouraging young people to go to university, and have wanted to get the numbers up to 50% but what is the point when there aren’t the jobs?
I’m over 50 and when I left school after O levels at a Grammar School I had 4 job offers – 2 banks, a building society and working for ICI. These were ‘good’ clerical jobs, but nowadays most of the people in these jobs have degrees, and so much debt.  So graduates are doing the jobs that school leavers used to do, and it goes back down the chain so a girl with limited qualifications who when I was young would work at a supermarket is highly likely to struggle to find anything.
So what are the options available?
·       Get a job
Umm, but there are so few jobs and so many people, so you have got to be highly focused to stand a chance of being successful and now is the time to get talking with people, so often people will get a job through someone they already know. You could be successful but it takes hard work, and never ending enthusiasm.
·       Study part time with the Open University, Birkbeck College etc.
I did my first degree and my MBA with the OU. I also studied for my MSc in occupational psychology with Birkbeck College, part of London University. Studying part time alongside a full time job was perfect for me, it meant I could develop my career and, especially with my masters degrees, plus what I was learning into practice, and it made my studies easier too.
Of course it was hard work, you need to manage your time, but it gives you many personal qualities that employers look for, and certainly my determination, proactivity and resilience gained through part time study were very helpful when applying for promotions.
What I missed out on was the social life, and the developing of long term friendships, but as I was already married once I started studying I’d have continued to live at home and would have missed out anyway.
·       Seek an apprenticeship
No idea why this is being raised as an option, this is just as competitive a field, and many companies may question why someone who was set on university is now seeking a more practical career,; why hadn’t they opted for this before?
I work with young people from 15 upwards, helping them make the right choices – will this be to study at university, may perhaps going into accountancy be the better choice, studying part time alongside work.

For some it may be university but not yet. Too many of the people I work with as a career coach wish that they had taken time to explore options, find out more so they make the right choice. It’s very frustrating for them to realise that they need to study for another degree.

Many people won’t have the budget to work with a career coach like myself, so that’s why I wrote my first book – How To Get A Job In A Recession and my 3rd book Now You’ve Been Shortlisted to provide deeper advice on interviews, assessment centres and psychometric testing. 

I’m always willing to offer advice on my FaceBook page

Published On: August 20th, 2010 / Categories: Students and Graduates /

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