Throughout much of your school life you have been learning academic subjects. Maths, English, Science, History, and so forth all fall into this category. This type of learning is a good foundation for work – it helps to know how to read to work in most places – but it often has little to do with your actual job. You may have thought of this yourself while learning maths like trigonometry – like, ‘where will I ever use this in the real world?’ Of course, at its best, school is designed to give everyone a broad learning experience from where you can specialise further, either at work or through more study. Naturally some subjects will be left behind as you get older, but some of what you learn will certainly be used in work. Of course, school teaches us more than just the subjects we learn in class – it also teaches us social lessons as we go about our lives interacting with other students and teachers. For all of this, when it’s said and done, school, college, or university will (hopefully) ultimately lead to work. Your career is the final destination from all of your studies, and so perhaps it is worth taking this as your starting point when planning what to do next?
If you are wondering whether to go to university, get a job, or find something else to do when you leave it can be quite a difficult time. Making such a big decision can seem over-powering, and while you may have plenty of advice and opinions from friends and family, you may still be confused as to what is best for you. Of course, you should make sure you speak with these people, as well as careers advisors, teachers, and others who may be able to give you some solid advice, but also why not think about where you hope to end up?
Rather than following the crowd, think for yourself about what you want to do when you finish your studies – whether that is as a school leaver or a university graduate. Regardless of the qualifications, we all end up seeking work at some point. If you have an idea of what it is you want to do ‘for a living’ then you can work backwards to see what you need to get there. Some careers will require you to get a degree, but many others will offer other dedicated routes into work.
A vocational course is designed to teach you what you need to know for a particular profession or area of work. Rather than spending time (and money) heading off to university to study another academic course, you may find you are better served by going straight in and specialising in the work you want to do later on.
Often including on-the-job training and experience alongside classroom-based activities, a more vocational approach to your future could also see you forge links with potential employers – leading straight into a job when you finish. Comparing this to the woollier notion of getting an academic degree with little idea what you want to use it for, and the benefits are clear. Not only will your vocational course demonstrate your desire and willingness to do a certain job, but it will also mean you are already trained to walk straight into the role.
Academic degrees are the right choice for some, but with fees to pay, and no promise of a job at the end of it, perhaps it is time to at least consider a vocational approach to your future?