University is not the only option

The Point.1888 prides itself on its flexible working policies because they’ve helped the company to attract and retain INCREDIBLY talented and hard-working individuals. I’ve heard there’s never been a template for the perfect employee; the management team values drive and creativity as much as experience and qualifications. That’s one of the reasons why the company has had such success with its apprenticeship scheme and fully supports any initiatives to get young people into the industry.

I’m currently on The Point.1888’s apprenticeship scheme and here’s a snapshot of my experience of it so far.

But first, do any of these sound familiar?

“You won’t get anywhere without a degree”

“You can’t be successful without a degree”

“You won’t get a ‘proper’ job unless you go to university”

“You’re not going to university? And you don’t have another plan?”

“So, what are you actually going to do if you don’t go to university?”

These are only a handful of statements I have heard when explaining to people that I DO NOT WANT TO GO TO UNIVERSITY.

Not that I should even need to explain why I didn’t go to university because don’t get me wrong, as appealing as MORE exams, putting on weight, living in other people’s mess, moving away from all my family and friends and being in £40K worth of debt is, it just didn’t do it for me.

There is a lot of pressure on my generation to follow the “normal” route and go to university. In my eyes, it would have been a waste of my time. Who’s to tell you what you should or shouldn’t do with YOUR life? Why waste three years of my life studying something I’m not sure about to only leave and get a job completely unrelated that I could’ve got three years earlier without going to university?

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against anyone who goes to university. In fact, I’m quite envious of people who knew what they wanted to be from aged four, but that just wasn’t me. I wanted to explore my opportunities and not rush into anything that I could regret just because it’s what everyone else does.

People also misunderstand why I didn’t want to go university. It’s not because I can’t.  I worked hard and got my A-Levels. I could have gone, I chose not to, and it was the best decision I ever made.

Since leaving school, I worked my way up in my weekend job to a managerial role at a local café, earning money and working hard became addictive, I loved it. From there I needed to move on to the next step of my career which is when I joined The Point.1888’s apprenticeship scheme and I haven’t looked back since.

I started the job in September as a Brand Executive, after a few months I moved over to the retail team and my role changed to Retail and Brand Executive. Today I am a Commercial Executive.

In just eight months I have seen three big changes to my role ( some would say promotion) and this is because I have put in the work and The Point.1888 always recognises when hard work deserves rewarding.

My role allows me to move around and work with brand owners, retailers and our clients. I love it. I work alongside some amazing brands such as Team GB, I get to be out and about, in and out of London and up and down the country with my manager Hannah Stevens. She will tell you about the glam of Virgin Trains. I do something different every day and am learning and absorbing everything as I go, whilst being in full time work. It’s a win-win.

I feel like I have gained more skills and worked so much harder than I ever would have done at university. I have gained valuable work experience in both of my roles since leaving school that have helped to frame me as a person and has made me hard working, reliable and confident. What would I get from university? A piece of paper and frantically applying for jobs with no work experience? No thanks. I like to be in the real world, working a real job, with real people, starting my real career.

My point is, if you are like me and aren’t sure on whether to go to university, take a year out (or 2 years in my case!), you won’t regret it. Clear your head and understand what you truly want in your life, because you won’t get those three years or £40K back and there are ALWAYS other options. Remember that you do not have to justify what you do to anyone, everyone moves at their own pace.

That being said, if you are at university or have been to university and are in a career you always dreamt of, I applaud you because for some people it is the best decision of their life to go to university, but for me, it was the best decision not to.

And once you have that degree, come over to The Point.1888. I’m sure they’d love to meet you too.

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