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10 jobs you can get with your GCSEs

Jobs without a degreeFor 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.

Asked what skills and experience would give school leavers the best advantage in their search for a job, good literacy and numeracy skills were cited, but just as important are things like communication and interpersonal skills, common sense, willingness to learn or team working.

So how do you land a job or change careers when your educational options are limited? Here are 10 jobs that require GCSEs, on-the-job training, apprenticeships* or a combination. Job and salary information is based on the Job Profiles on the government’s career advice site (figures are intended as a guideline only).

Accounts 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.
What they earn: Starting salaries: £12,000 to £16,000 a year. With experience: £20,000 to £22,000.

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.
What they earn: Between £12,000 and £17,000. With experience up to £20,000 or more.

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.
What they earn: Salaries in the NHS are between £14,834 and £21,318 a year.

Customer Service Assistant
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.
What they earn: £13,000 to £19,000 a year.

Waiting staff
What they do: Waiting staff serve customers by taking orders, serving food and preparing tables. An important part of the work is to make customers feel welcome and comfortable during their meal.
What they need: You will not usually need any specific qualifications to work as a waiter or waitress, but you will need a good standard of maths and English and excellent ‘people’ skills.
What they earn: £11,000 to £14,500 a year, with experience up to £19,000.

Engineering Maintenance Fitter
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.
What they earn: Starting salaries: £15,000 to £20,000, with experience to £30,000.

Fitness Instructor
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.
What they earn: Starting salaries are around £13,000 a year. With experience: up to £20,000. Freelance instructors can earn £10 to £20 an hour.

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.
What they earn: Starting salaries: £13,000 to £16,300 a year, with experience up to around £18,200.

Sales Representative
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.
What they earn: Starting salaries: £15,000 to £20,000 a year, with experience: £35,000 to £40,000.

Care Assistants
What they do:
 As a care assistant, care worker or social care worker, you would provide practical help with daily activities to people with a range of difficulties. You could work with children, people with physical or learning disabilities, older people or families.
What they need: It would be useful to have experience in a caring role, perhaps through volunteering or with your own family. Previous experience is likely to be essential if you plan to work with people who have mental health issues or learning disabilities.
What they earn: Starting salaries: £12,000 to £16,000 a year. With experience: up to £21,000.

*For more information on Apprenticeships, visit

Image: © Kurhan –

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  1. Wamwea Njeru Antony | Jan 26, 2014 | Reply

    Hi am a Kenyan,and I have a certificate of GCSE.Am looking the way forward to work oversea to make money for my father studies at college

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