5 ways to launch your career without going to university

While heading to university is often seen as route one into a professional career, for most career paths it’s not the only way to get ahead.

For students reflecting on what to do next after receiving their A-Level results, here’s our guide to some of the other options you may want to consider.

1. Combine work and study with an Apprenticeship
2. Take a gap year and build some experience outside of education
3. Get some work experience
4. Start your own business
5. Take an accelerated career-entry study programme

Apprenticeships can offer an excellent way to launch your career by combining full-time work with study towards professional qualifications valued by companies in your chosen career path.

Programmes typically operate over 12 to 24 months and can include the option to study towards university degrees as part of the package.

This option means you’ll be able to earn straightaway, avoid the tuition fees millstone of regular university programmes, and build your professional experience while your peers are still studying.

Gap Year
While taking a break after the pressure of studying for A-Levels seems an attractive option, it can also be a useful way to gain fresh perspective on what you’d like to achieve in your career, and life in general.

Gaining experience by working in different parts of the world and with different types of people, can open up a series of possibilities that may not otherwise present themselves.

Students considering this option will need to evaluate the financial commitment required as well as the range of activities that will add value to your skill set.

Work Experience
Jumping directly into corporate life, either by taking a full-time job, or through an internship programme, can be a good way to help you validate whether your preferred career path is likely to work out.

This route focusses on building practical skills and experiences over continuing to add formal qualifications, and can be more attractive for students with a more kinaesthetic or practical learning style.

Business Start Up
If you’ve got a great idea and the energy to pursue it, becoming an entrepreneur can be a great way of kicking off your career on your own terms.

It’s a route full of uncertainty but that potentially can deliver great rewards, as well as providing a broad introduction to every aspect of life within a business.

If you're successful this option may mean you never need to go to school or to work for someone else for many years to come.

Accelerated Study
If three or four years at university seems like a slow and expensive way to get your career off the ground, then there are accelerated ways to achieve the same objective.

Studying for professional qualifications through an intensive study programme with a specialist provider such as Pitman Training, can help you launch your career in weeks or months, rather than years.

These programmes are typically offered on a far more flexible basis than school and university programmes, allowing them to be combined with existing part-time jobs.

The organisations offering these programmes will typically also have strong links with hiring employers to support you to secure work following graduation.

This option is particularly popular for career paths such as Software Development, Digital Marketing and Data Analysis where strong demand means employers must take a more flexible approach to hiring.

Getting started
Our team of Course Advisors can provide no-obligation careers advice to help you explore the options and opportunities available to you at the start of your career.