University isn't for everyone!

Today is results day, the day that most students dread, the fear of not achieving the grades you have worked so hard for and the fear of maybe not knowing what to do once you have completed A Levels. Do you go to University? Do you have a ‘Gap Year’? Do you study for an apprenticeship? With so many options it can be hard to know what’s right for you! Two years ago, I collected my A2 results and was panicking because I didn’t know what was going to happen next for me as I made the decision not to go to university. A decision that had taken some time to come to but a decision I knew was going to be right for me and my future.

Now two years on I have successfully completed a Level 3 Marketing Apprenticeship, started studying for a Level 4 Digital Marketing Diploma and been offered a permanent position as a Marketing Executive at Academic Appointments where I completed my apprenticeship!

This is my blog on my journey to choosing to study for an apprenticeship rather than going to university.

When I chose my A Level options I desperately wanted to pursue a career in the Textiles industry, I have always had a creative side and loved the practical side of the subject but I struggled with the theory side, and this was a battle I faced when completing my GCSE’s. I received a D in Textiles but I managed to convince my Textiles Teacher at the time to let me take the option at A level. So there I went and chose to study Textiles, Philosophy & Ethics and Business Studies.

As I wanted to pursue a career in Textiles I attended many University open days and even wrote a personal statement! However getting into Textiles wasn’t going to be an easy journey for me especially when I found out on AS results day that I had received an E in Textiles despite studying and trying so hard! But I was very pleased to see I had received an A in Business Studies! I just couldn’t believe that I had achieved an A, and this was a subject that I felt came easy to me, which made me think is Textiles and university really for me?

When I came back to 6th form to study A2 after the summer holidays I knew I was getting closer and closer to making a decision of what I was going to do after completing my A levels which was very daunting.

When results day came around for my A2 results I was delighted to find I had received an A again, also earlier on in the year I had won the Dragons Den competition so I was starting to realise that Business was my specialism, and that I wanted to pursue a career in this sector. Again I received an E in Textiles! I was upset but I had come to realise that this just wasn’t my specialism, and it was time to focus on something else.

Whilst studying for my A levels I decided not to apply for university and take a gap year after completing my A levels as I was unsure about what I wanted to do and didn’t want to make the wrong decision. Taking a gap year and working full time in retail was perfect for me as it enabled me to take a break from education and get a plan together of what I wanted to do and gain valuable work place skills.

I also knew retail was not for me but I stuck it out because I knew it was just a short-term solution whilst I got my head together.

I started applying for apprenticeships as a few people around me had started studying for them and seemed to be pursuing fantastic careers from them! I felt alone as I had didn’t have a school environment to support me through this but luckily for me, Leeds City College was extremely supportive in the recruitment process and lined me up for two interviews! I also signed up with QA who lined me up for an interview.

I was offered all 3 jobs from these interviews! I couldn’t believe it, I had gone from 6th form not knowing what sort of career path I wanted to pursue, to being offered all the roles I interviewed for!

A year and 9 months later I have now successfully completed my Level 3 Marketing Apprenticeship, been offered a permanent position at Academic Appointments as a Marketing Executive and even gone on to further my studies by studying for my Level 4 Digital Marketing Diploma.

If you’re not sure whether or not you want to go to University then don’t panic! Have a look at your options there is plenty out there! Also don’t feel like you’re the only one who isn’t going to University! It is not the be all and end all, and I’d like to think myself and other people completing and those who have completed their apprenticeships are an example of this!

Apprenticeships are hugely beneficial, as you are learning the practical and the theory side of a subject, you receive your own tutor who supports you throughout or you may be based in college attending classroom days, your earning whilst learning and are able to study different levels opening the door to job opportunities.

I hope this helps you in deciding what career path you want to take! Don’t be afraid to be different and follow the footsteps you want to take!

Alisha Kelly
Marketing Executive

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