5 questions to ask yourself when planning the end of Year 13

Approaching the end of Year 13 can be difficult for all young people, it is a huge changing point in your life as you enter the first few years of adulthood. This is the stage where some people will move away for university, others will be getting degree apprenticeships and if you’re not sure what is best for you, it is hard not to feel as though you are being left behind.

We have put this blog together to provide you with 5 questions you can ask yourself to help you to plan your next steps at the end of Year 13. We hope you find them helpful and are able to put them to good use. 

  1. Does the career I am pursuing require a degree?

It is difficult to weigh up whether or not university is right for you, asking this question is key. Some job roles, particularly those in medicine, vet med or dentistry require a degree and cannot be accessed via an apprenticeship route. Therefore, it is really important that you have done your research. If university is the only way you can obtain the degree you need, then it makes your decision making process pretty straightforward.

There are some roles that require a degree but that you are able to access through either university OR a degree apprenticeship, this opens up your options and will require further research and through for you to decide which is the best route for you.

  1. If yes, what is the best route for me to get that degree - University or a Degree Apprenticeship?

If you find that your dream career does require you to undertake a degree, you then need to consider how you will access your degree study. Going to university is great for those who want a supported way to move from their hometown, opportunities to meet new employers or study/work abroad via a sandwich course as well as getting to study a subject you love for 3+ years. 

However, university life, moving away and continued traditional study isn’t for everyone. That’s where degree apprenticeships come into play! They allow you to complete a degree whilst working… Which also means no student debt! You can read our top tips to find an apprenticeship here and view live opportunities here

  1. If not, what qualifications do I need and how can I access them?

Just because the job role you’re looking at doesn’t require a degree, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t require some form of qualification or additional certification to enter employment. 

For example, if you want to work on a building site in any trade, you will need to obtain a CSCS card. If you want to practice as an accountant in the UK, you will need an AAT qualification. If you want to be a security guard, you need an SIA badge. The list is endless and for the large majority of skilled job roles, there will be a need to undergo some form of education to access the industry. 

The good news is Google is free and to find out what you need for a particular job role, all it takes is a simple search. 

  1. Do I want to stay in my local geographic area or look for opportunities further afield?

This is a key question for everyone to ask themselves, whether you’re looking at university or degree apprenticeships. It helps you to narrow down your search by location, or expand your search if you are willing to move away. It is worth noting that, especially with apprenticeships, the further you are willing to travel, the more opportunities will be available to you.

You will notice that on the NGTU opportunity search function, you can change the mile radius to as close or as far from your postcode as you wish too. There is similar functionality on sites like UCAS that you can utilise when looking at university study.

  1. Am I ready for working life?

As well as having the skills to access the workplace, you also have to have the desire and motivation to want to work. There is a common misconception that an apprenticeship or employment are the easier option to going to university, but this isn’t always the case. Going to work requires just as much commitment, willingness and hard work as university does. 

Good luck!

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