by Elizabeth Smythe on August 19, 2011

posted on boyce recruitment updates,

University is not the only route to career success

As record numbers of students achieve top A Level grades, business experts highlight the fact that higher education is not the only way to get a great job.

Facing competition for university places, plus the prospect of long-term debt, is leading to an increase in students looking for media, PR and admin jobs in London or around the UK.

Plus the big employers are aware, says The Guardian, with the like of Marks and Spencer, KPMG, Network Rail and PricewaterhouseCoopers launching A Level-entry jobs. However, competition is fierce.

Entrepreneur and author of ‘How to Make Millions Without a Degree,’ Simon Dolan says the the most important step towards gainful employment is to “get a job. Any job.”

“You need to learn how the world of work works,” he told The Telegraph. “So any job – even flipping burgers – will teach you about consequences and responsibility. After six months, you can consider the next step.”

He says that a degree is no longer necessary for the majority of professions and the advantage of entering the workforce sooner is that not only will candidates be ahead in terms of work experience, but they won’t have £50,000 of debt hanging over them.

In agreement is Jane Scott Paul, CEO of the Association of Accounting Technicians. She says that many non-graduates are able to become chartered accountants and that “we shouldn’t be pushing so many young people into university.”

Unpaid internships can also boost a student’s chances of gaining full time employment. David Pack of the City of London Corporation runs a trainee scheme creating links between students and local businesses.

He says: “It’s about helping able young people on the ladder and it’s about dispelling perceptions of elitism. The City is a genuine meritocracy.”

Ms Scott Paul adds: “We have to change our mindsets and encourage young people to look into high end vocational qualifications, gaining on-the-job training through apprenticeships and building the skills employers actually value.”