For many, the road to success cuts through college and often graduate school. But the skyrocketing cost of education coupled with the widespread squeeze on people’s bank accounts and time often makes this impossible.
Millions of people find themselves in this situation including those who:
- Have their GCSEs
- Have some work experience, but no college degree
- Want to try a new career but don’t want to go through years of schooling
- Can’t afford the money or time to go back to school
Educational consultants Gabbitas have surveyed the views of a range of professional organisations to find out the true prospects for those who want to shine off-campus and earn while they learn without the burden of student debt.
The research covered a range of sectors, including accountancy, financial services and engineering. Almost all offer non-graduate entry as well as specific training schemes, often sponsored by their employers. Retail, for example, attracts a large number of school leavers — 32 per cent of all retail employees are aged between 16 and 24.
Here are some jobs that require GCSEs, on-the-job training, apprenticeships or a combination.
Account Clerks: What they do*: Accounts clerks (also known as finance clerks or bookkeepers) keep financial records and help to prepare accounts in all types of business.
What they need: You will find it helpful to have previous experience of office work. Above all, you should feel confident with maths and using computers. Employers may prefer you to have some GCSEs (A-C) including maths (or a similar level of qualification), although entry requirements may vary.
Receptionists: What they do: Receptionists are the first point of contact for an organisation. They work in all kinds of settings, including businesses, schools, hospitals and sports centres.
What they need: You may not need any qualifications to start work as a receptionist. However, some employers will prefer you to have GCSEs (A-C), particularly in English and maths. Clerical, secretarial and IT skills will also be useful.
Medical Secretaries: What they do: As a medical secretary, you would provide administrative support to hospital consultants or departments, GPs, health service managers or medical researchers.
What they need: You will need good typing and computer skills, so you may find it helpful to take a general secretarial or medical secretarial course. Employers will expect you to have a good standard of general education, and you may have an advantage with some GCSEs (A-C) including English.
Customer Service Assistants: What they do: As a customer service assistant or adviser, you would be to handle customer enquiries and any complaints, face-to-face, over the phone or by e-mail.
What they need: Many employers will consider your ‘people skills’ to be more important than your formal academic qualifications, although you should have a good standard of general education.
Engineering Mainteance Fitters: What they do: As an engineering maintenance fitter, you would service and repair machinery and equipment in a range of industries, including transport, manufacturing and aerospace.
What they need: You may be able to get into this work through an engineering Apprenticeship. Therefore, you may need GCSEs (grades A-E) in subjects such as English, maths, science and technology.
Fitness Instructors: What they do: As a fitness instructor, you lead and organise group and individual exercise programmes to help people to improve their health and fitness. You may also give advice on healthy eating and lifestyle.
What they need: To qualify as a fitness instructor, you could either complete a nationally-recognised qualification before starting work, or start as an assistant instructor and complete work-based qualifications.
Healthcare Assistants: What they do: Healthcare assistants (also known as support workers, nursing assistants, or nursing auxiliaries), assist healthcare professionals with the day-to-day care of patients, either in hospitals or in patients’ own homes.
What they need: You may not need any qualifications, but you may need previous experience (paid or voluntary) in a caring role, especially if you plan to work with people who have mental health issues or learning disabilities.
Sales Representatives: What they do: As a sales representative or ‘rep’, it would be your job to sell your company’s products or services. You would be responsible for finding and winning new customers, as well as looking after existing customer accounts.
What they need: Employers will expect a good standard of general education, but they are often more interested in your sales skills and track record than your formal qualifications.