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What would your advice be to a 15-year-old, knowing what you do now about education, college and apprenticeships?

When it comes to being a young person preparing to leave school, the options are seemingly endless. School want you to go to college, and colleges to uni, and for some who don’t know what they want to do, or who don’t thrive in an academic environment, or who just don’t necessarily want to go into higher education, figuring out what to do next can be a scary step.

At +24, we believe strongly in apprentices and the opportunities they provide for the apprentice, the business and the wider community. As a business that embraces apprenticeships and encourages the constant development of skills and knowledge on terms that best fit the individual, we’ve decided to look to some of our apprentices for the advice they would give school leavers and young people after a while with us at +24.

Is education important?

Education is important, but it’s not the be-all and end-all, and it certainly won’t dictate how successful you become in the future. In high school, it’s easy to feel as if your GCSE results will determine the entire course of your life. Of course it is important to try hard in school, as better results makes accessing better quality colleges or programmes easier. However, beyond these immediate education-centric environments, GCSE results don’t necessarily close or open doors for young people heading into the working world.

My advice to young people coming from education or moving into higher education or apprenticeships is to approach your options logically and make decisions for yourself. Don’t allow yourself to feel pressured into taking a route that your school wants you to take, and don’t opt for something just because that’s what your peers are doing. Your number one priority should be yourself, not your school and not your friends or family, who may have different opinions on what is best for you. It is important to get the input of those around you, but your choices will impact your life the most, so they must be choices made with your own best interest in mind. So far as work environments go, don’t settle for working in an environment where you don’t feel valued or welcomed, and if you do feel that way, don’t be afraid to bring it up with your superiors or even look for opportunities elsewhere.

What are the options?

There are plenty of options to take after high school so don’t limit yourself to what the school or friends may suggest or want you to take. There is always the option to be involved with your local community. Whether you want to do this independently or with the help of your school, contact community leaders and begin to network with different businesses local to you. It isn’t compulsory to stay within your local area, however, building relationships at such a young age with multiple businesses will benefit you massively in the future. If you begin to network now with the guidance from a mentor figure, it will lead to multiple opportunities and make entering the world of work much easier. It may lead onto work experience, which is an ideal way to find out if a certain career path really suits you. It can be difficult at school and a young age to know what career you want to do.

There are plenty of routes a student can take after high school but it is important to take the path that is the best for you. If you’ve any questions about apprenticeships please feel free to tweet us or contact us.