Josh Lewis

Is Uni the only option for me?

Posted: 21/08/13 by Josh Lewis

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I left school in 2012 with reasonable qualifications and a place at Manchester metropolitan university to study business managment, this was always a backup as I was always going to search for a job. I deferred the uni place for this September but was hoping to have found something by now. I was working at a Hotel last summer until November doing some gardening work, then started work in December until present in the newly established family business - an online retailer. I have learnt a lot here as its a small company and been involved in every aspect of the business. However neither of these jobs I saw as the solution or what I wanted, more just to keep busy. Throughout the year I have been searching for an apprenticeship, I have been to see a couple of agency's and had a few interviews. But nothing successful has come out of it, I have found that a lot of employers use the apprenticeship scheme as a means for cheap labour for boring admin type jobs - though the money factor isn't vital to me its more the experience and opportunity, although there are some fantastic apprenticeships available all are very popular so difficult to get anywhere with them. Uni never really took my fancy but I feel its the only option I have now, though at the same time it seams a bit stupid to jump into something that is going to rack up a lot of debt when I'm not even too keen to go! I could do with some advice! Maybe I haven't been looking in the right places - I don't know.

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  • NGtU Career Advisor

    Hi Josh

    You are right that the quality of apprenticeships varies a lot. The best are excellent but there are plenty that are iffy too.

    The main thing to keep in mind is that the NAS sight is only one of the places to look for vacancies. You will find interesting options here on Notgoingtouni and on the many general job sites too.

    Don't restrict yourself to looking for apprenticeships. There are many employers who don't use that system when it comes to recruiting young people.

    Here are some of the sights which you can use in your search:

    Whether Uni is the right option is a very personal thing. For some careers it is essential (or close to this) to get a degree first but there are also plenty of careers where you can progress through hard work and enthusiasm. Some people enjoy studying and get a lot out of the whole Uni experience as it broadens the mind and helps the transition to adult life as well as gaining access to graduate-only job vacancies.

    There is now the issue of building up a very sizeable student loan debt but there are ways to mitigate this such as studying locally and applying for grants or bursaries if family income is tight. Do also bear in mind that a student loan only has to be paid back once you are earning more than 21,000. If your income drops below this threshold your repayments stop immediately. After thirty years your debt is cancelled even if you have repaid little or none of it.

    As I said, its a personal decision and only you can decide the right direction to go in bearing in mind all your personal circumstances.



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  • Nethmi W

    Hi Josh,

    I planned to take a gap year after my A Levels as I honestly didn't find the exact degree I was looking for and exactly like you said, I didn't want to rack up alot of debt on a choice I wasn't 110% sure about. I wanted a lot of work experience during my gap year to add onto my CV and I started applying for jobs before I finished school but got nothing back. But a couple of weeks after getting my results I decided to forget the gap year (having failed to find what I wanted to do on my year out I saw no point) and so I applied for a Business degree with Pearson College because it seemed like a good course for me and suited my needs which were putting theory and practical aspects together.

    My friend for example is more theory driven and learns better that way, where as I need the practical element as I am a more practical student, so it's definitely about finding a course that fulfills your own personal needs.

    University is definitely a personal preference. Some people learn more from a good apprenticeship rather than a theory driven degree. But I've learnt that there are so many different choices out there now, especially regarding a subject such as Business Management and it's definitely good to look outside the box and see what you can find. Maybe you could do a part time course so you are getting a chance to do both - work and learn.

    I found the Business (To know what was happening in the business sector) and Education sections of the Guardian online really helpful when I was making decisions about what I wanted to do.

    Newspapers in general and social media platforms such as Twitter were helpful. I would track different tags to find what I wanted for both jobs and degrees.

    And of course forums such as this and Student Room :)

    Let me know if I can help any further,

    Good luck! :)


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  • Mamta Verma

    The UK Government is supporting the Apprenticeships quit lots now days. and jobcentre plus, might help for your search job.

    Good luck dear.

    Kind regards,

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