The leap from sixth form or college, to the next chapter of your life, can often seem overwhelming. Deciding which path to take with competing ideas about what you should be, what you want to be and what everyone else is saying or doing all adds to the confusion. University is not for everyone, and there many great alternative options out there.

I recently met Jeba Jahan who had a great things to say about work life after education, and deciding not to go to university. She has kindly written the following blog about her experience on an apprenticeship scheme …

 

Once I completed my A Levels I was in two minds about my future. I wanted to rebel against my family’s “university is the best route” mantra and be spontaneous but then again I really wanted to start my career. I felt silly for wanting to try something ‘out of the norm’ when all my friends were going to university, but I cancelled my university offers anyway. 

 

I wish I could tell you that I did something amazing straight away during my first 6 months of education free life. Like travelling through Asia, or doing extreme sports, but I actually spent all my time scouring the internet for jobs. 

Jobs in retail, hospitality, admin work, anything and everything. I was losing my mind sitting at home. I watched all my friends enjoying their freshers week and the regret of not going to university hit me like a ton of bricks. People would ask me questions like “what are you doing with your life?” and “Are you on JSA now?” I can’t begin to explain how much those question irritated me. I was starting to feel like a failure more and more, so I decided to stop looking for jobs and apply for something different, like an apprenticeship.

I wish I could tell you that I did something amazing straight away ... the regret of not going to university hit me like a ton of bricks.

I spent a good 4 months looking for an apprenticeship in Business Admin. At 18 I was attending some of the most nerve racking interviews of my life. I received more rejection letters than I could count on my hands. I feared that with every rejection letter, I was getting closer to becoming a failure. I lost all hope in apprenticeships and was ready to give up. That’s when I came across a Digital Marketing Apprenticeship. I had never heard of anything like this before but started doing some research on it and realised I knew more about it than I thought I did. I started my own business when I was in college because the fear of having an empty CV haunted me. I took out a loan from my uncle and went to wholesalers near my house to put my bargaining skills into practice, I would buy bulks of women’s dresses then post them on eBay and watched the sales roll in. So the Digital Marketing Apprenticeship fit perfectly with my skills, and I started my apprenticeship exactly a week after applying for it.

I still remember the first weeks of my apprenticeship ... they really helped my transition from school to work and become the person I am today.

I still remember the first few weeks of my apprenticeship. I was constantly being introduced to new people every day which scared the life out of me. I didn’t know how to communicate with people and I hated the idea of making small talk. Those first few weeks were the ones that really helped my transition from school to work and become the person I am today. I was put in the deep end by my Line Manager. He set me the task of starting up a monthly newsletter for internal stakeholders and producing reports for those newsletters. That was the first time I had ever created a newsletter but my Line Manager showed me the ropes and let me run with it.

Two years on, I have completed my Level 3 Apprenticeship and started a Level 4 Apprenticeship in Digital Marketing with Arch Apprentices. I am now working towards a career in Marketing, carrying out digital marketing courses such as Google’s Squared Online and Dot Native to help me get there. My Line Manager constantly challenges me with tasks to help me grow. I am in charge of creating videos for apprentices, managing all of our social media channels, creating email marketing campaigns, producing content for our website, advertising jobs and much more. I have been given a chance to network and work with some amazing people in digital and have learnt so much from them. I can’t thank Arch Apprentices enough for what they have done for me.

 

I have no regrets about not going to university, especially when I see my friends struggling to complete their assignments. I’m glad I ditched the traditional education route and did something everyone else was too scared to do.

 

To find an apprenticeship that suits you try using the search function on the GOV.uk website, click here, where you can filter results to suit your area of interest and location.

 

Many thanks to Jeba for kindly writing this blog.