After college, and a couple of temporary jobs, I started an apprenticeship in Librarianship through York College, working with New College Pontefract in their brand new Learning Resource Centre. This was an 18 month course/contract where I learned everything from the Dewy Decimal System (came in handy for uni!) to asserting authority over students only a few years younger than me.
Whilst the qualification will get me nowhere in life, I learned a lot from being there, and my confidence grew enormously. I will always be grateful for the LRC team at New College for helping me out over those couple of years, helping me grow, learn lifelong skills, and helping me deal with trouble students!
Nevertheless, I knew that Librarianship wasn’t for me, despite my love of books. I’d been working on the side for the marketing team at NEW College for around 6 months prior to my leaving, and having rekindled my interest in advertising and marketing, I took the plunge and applied for university.
I was quickly accepted into four of my five chosen universities and knew I’d have to tell my boss about it sooner or later, so as November rolled around I was given an ultimatum; quit and go to university or continue at New College and start a new, unrelated apprenticeship. Needless to say, I left.
By January the next year I was jobless and had 8 months until university began. I took a temporary (on my part) position in accounts to pay the bills until September, and again was presented with the opportunity to not go to uni. I was given the chance to stay there, take the AAT and progress through the accounts department in their company. Again, I chose to quit a job in favour of university.
September rolled around quickly; I started my degree, made friends and began my new life in Sheffield. I don’t regret going to university whatsoever, but I know that I would have done well in any of the opportunities presented to me along the way.
University isn’t for everyone, and it’s important to recognise when that’s the case for you. There any numerous opportunities out there for people who don’t want to, or can’t go to university for whatever reason.
My apprenticeship didn’t work out for me, it was a dead end; but the option to do the AAT and progress in accounts was a real opportunity. These kinds of opportunities exist all over the country; employers like their employees to continuously develop their skills and are often willing to pay for extra training. Ask employers if this is the kind of thing that interests you.
If university doesn’t sound like the career path for you, don’t worry. Check out apprenticeship options near you, and start looking into employment opportunities with the chance of training and development; and don’t forget, if you’re still in school or college, you’ll more than likely have access to careers advice. They can give you much more detailed information than I can.