Should I Get a Job or Stay in Education?

Written by Calvin Bowers

Are you wondering whether you should stay in education or get a job? We’ve put together a guide so that you can weigh up the differences and make your decision.

After being in full-time education for years, it can be challenging to be suddenly thrown out into the world with so many options ahead of you. Don’t worry – you aren’t the only one feeling uneasy about your future. It’s challenging, but you’ve got us to guide you.

Are You Torn Between Moving on to College or Going to Find a Job?

There are a few essential considerations you should make before jumping straight into college, university or even full-time work.

Consider Your End Goal

Although most people don’t have a clear image of where they want to end up, having a vague endpoint for you and your career will help you figure out which pathway is best for you. Some careers prioritise work experience to excel, in which jumping straight into employment may be the best.

Often, however, to get ahead in your career pathway, you will need some further education. As such, you getting that education done sooner rather than later is often advised. Despite this, spending years developing skills for a specific job is not recommended unless you are confident you will pursue that career.

Consider Which Skills You Want to Pursue

If you don’t have a crystal-clear idea of the job and career you want, you should consider what you enjoy and excel at the most. That doesn’t mean which subject you liked at school, as they often have little relation to real working life.

Instead, think about which skills you like to employ in your work. For example, consider if you enjoy organising, planning, working with your hands, critically analysing something or turning your vision into reality. Once you have a grasp of what makes you excited, consider which career or course would encourage you using that skill.

Consider the Current Climate

COVID-19 has decimated many employment prospects, particularly for young people who are now the demographic claiming universal credit more than any other. Additionally, even once the vaccine has allowed UK business to return to some sense of normalcy, the scarring effect on the economy will prevent jobs from coming back.

As such, the expert advice is to spend the next few years in education, if you can. This will cushion you from the worst effects of the pandemic on your employment prospects.

Consider What You Want in Life

A lot of people are sick of education and want the comfort of a steady income. Others aren’t ready to jump into the world of work and find the prospect of university life appealing. Either opinion is valid, and only you know what will suit you best.

For more insight into choosing university or another pathway, read our free information, guidance and support on our sister-site, Developing a Student.

Getting an Apprenticeship vs. Staying in Education

We go into the benefits of apprenticeships a lot on this site, in particular, that they are the midway point between getting a job and staying in education. As such, they are often the perfect solution for those who don’t want to jump head-first in either direction.

As has been found with university graduates, they often have few real immediate job prospects. This is because, despite being excelled learners with developed skills, they have little to no work experience.

Choosing an apprenticeship will allow you to get the qualifications and skills you need to move up your career path whilst gaining invaluable work experience and a full wage.

For a detailed consideration of starting an apprenticeship vs going to university, we have a blog dedicated to just that question.

Is Higher Education Worth the Money?2022-03-11T16:30:28+00:00

University education is expensive. With tuition fees recently increasing to £9,250, many students leave university with over £50,000 worth of debt. This cost rises further when you consider that you have lost three or four years’ worth of time developing your work experience and climbing your career ladder.

This means that you would have a much higher salary should you spend that time in employment, and so you should consider that a further cost on top of the immediate expenses. Starting an apprenticeship nulls all of those costs, and you will even earn a full wage while you do it.

What are the Advantages of Getting a Job Straight Out of Secondary School?2022-03-11T16:40:25+00:00

The main advantage is not the obvious one: work experience. After leaving education for good, you will find that employers value relevant work experience above a qualification. Additionally, going straight into work will get you directly onto the career ladder, opening up opportunities for a promotion sooner than if you were in education. All the while, you are earning a full wage.

The only disadvantage comes further down the road where you will likely face a barrier to promotion due to the lack of specific qualifications. However, at that point, you can do an apprenticeship to access those qualifications and skills without having to leave employment.

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Last Updated: Wednesday May 25 2022
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