For many generations of high-school graduates, going to university was a guarantee that a satisfying and well-paid career was within their reach. Nowadays, this simple strategy seems less effective. Employers talk about a mismatch between the educational offers of universities and market demand, and a good lot of university graduates end up in positions that have little connection to their studies.
With tuition fees rising, there’s a strong incentive among high-schoolers to enter the job market and gain skills directly in the workplace. Many of them don’t know what they want to study, in which case enrolling in an expensive three or four-year study programme is counterintuitive.
With university being neither the most cost-effective or shortest route to a fulfilling career, what other options exist at the moment? Let’s explore some below.
The media is flooded with examples of people who attained massive career success without a university degree. Tech entrepreneurs like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs or famous directors like Steven Spielberg and Quentin Tarantino are proof that you don’t need a diploma to become a significant force in a professional field. Yet not all college dropouts become successful or famous. The difference? Self-education.
When not going to university, these successful people were studying alone, honing their skills in high-demand fields through daily practice, perhaps with the help of public libraries or Internet resources. When you study by yourself, you can focus on a narrow niche and become an expert quicker than someone who has to accept the generalized approach to education of most universities. If you have strong discipline and a fervent interest in a field, you can thus get a job faster than a university graduate.
Attending Vocational Courses
Getting a lucrative position without strong skills is tough. But it does not have to take years to learn useful skills that can make you a viable candidate for employment. If you prefer institutionalized education but would rather learn practical skills that can be quickly applied in a job, vocational courses are a great alternative to university.
The most popular vocational route is the Higher National Certificate. The HNC prepares you for employment in various well-paid industries. In as little as a year, you can gain practical skills that make you ready for the job you want. Whether you’re interested in electrical engineering, health care, hospitality or IT, the hnc courses open many career paths and give you a good edge over candidates with no official certification to prove essential skills.
Climbing the Career Ladder
If you don’t have time or patience to engage in long-term study, yet you have an idea about the field you would like to work in, going for a job straight out of high-school can work out well. Many young people struggle to decide on a career, so going directly for a job is a good way to gauge whether a certain industry matches your career aspirations.
Starting from the bottom and working your way up a career ladder requires solid determination and courage that not everyone can muster. If this alternative doesn’t seem fast to you, remember that even university graduates start from the bottom in over-saturated fields, but they are three or four years behind those who start their careers waiting for a degree.
In this day and age, there are no longer simple recipes for lucrative or safe employment. However, a hard-working, disciplined and passionate person will always be able to carve a satisfying career path.