Why university isn’t the only route to a successful career

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Each generation will have its own view on education – Baby Boomers’ may prefer the traditional structure of the classroom for instance, whilst millennials will often learn all they need online.

One thing that many school leavers have in common today, however, is that many of them would rather join the workplace than go on to university.

A recent report by the Sutton Trust found that three quarters (74%) of young people were not planning to go on to higher education, down from an 81% high in 2013. It seems rising tuition fees and the prospect of mounting debts were the main deterrents. Two-thirds of the young people questioned by the educational charity said they would rather do something practical and wanted to start earning as soon as possible.

Debt-free studying

Matthew Ralph, finance officer, at Folio Education Trust is a case in point. Ralph decided that university was not for him and, having loved maths at school, decided to start AAT with Kaplan OnDemand and apply for a job straight after sixth form.

“The main reason I didn’t want to go to university was because of the prospect of debt,” he says. “Being very finance-headed, my goal in life is to avoid debt in any way possible. I felt I had the right mind-set to go straight into work and make the most out of the qualifications available to me alongside my job role.”

Ralph, who is now 21, applied for a role at Folio’s apprenticeship scheme when he left school in 2015 and signed up to do AAT with Kaplan at the same time. “I applied through the national apprenticeship website,” he says. “I think I might have got the job because of the way I came across in the interview, having a keen interest in finance and using spreadsheets I showed potential to do well in the role.”

Unconventional routes

Ralph feels that he has benefited significantly more from the route he has taken, than he would have done from following a more traditional path of higher education.

“I have been able to gain my work/life experience at the same time which has helped me develop more than I think I would have done at university,” he says. “I think it has benefited me in helping me work towards my career goals.”

Ralph says he has had to manage his time carefully to fit studying around working full-time. “I have had to set aside time after work and at weekends to study using the various online resources. It has been a struggle at times but I’ve managed to fit it all in.”

Utilising resources

Establishing a study timetable and using different study channels, such as the online videos and integrated workbooks, helped Ralph stay focused and motivated. “I signed up to Kaplan OnDemand and found it very easy to fit in when I had a spare few minutes, especially the videos. They were easy to watch and much easier than using a book to study,” he notes.

My favourite feature of the integrated workbook is the way you can work through a question whilst watching the video, which helps to locate any errors.”

He is currently completing his AAT Advanced Diploma and is hoping to complete the Professional Diploma by December 2019.

Overcoming challenges

Ralph’s family and friends have been very supportive of his decision to leave school and study whilst working. It’s not always been easy, says Ralph, but it’s always been worth it.

“I have faced difficulties in the past when my Grandad passed away during my final [Foundation Certificate] exam, which was difficult, as well as trying to train for a big charity bike ride,” he says.

Ralph hopes to become a chartered accountant within the next 10 years.

Working and studying AAT at the same time can be tough, but Kaplan OnDemand is here to help! Winner of the PQ Magazine’s “Online College of the Year 2018”, OnDemand gives you:

  1. Access to dedicated tutor support when you need it – including evenings and weekends
  1. Flexible online resources include tutor-led videos, practice questions, study materials and an integrated workbook.
  1. A huge catalogue of practice questions including mock exams with personalised feedback.

Try it for yourself with an extensive free demo

Kaplan is the UK’s leading global provider of diverse education and training.

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