Leave school at 16 or invest in further education?

//Leave school at 16 or invest in further education?

Leave school at 16 or invest in further education?

By | 2017-09-06T18:04:22+01:00 March 17th, 2017|Musings|0 Comments

We have school leavers aged 16 that go out into the big wide world and start earning a living.

Those that stay in school, get their A levels and then go onto university for a minimum of 3 years. Assume that they are self-funding through loans. They will graduate with at least £27,000 in debt for tuition fees alone. And that’s likely to increase thanks to the UK government quietly announcing last week that they want to increase fees each year with inflation. Let’s not forget there’s accommodation and living expenses on top of that so how about we round that off to £40,000 in debt upon graduating. That’s an eye watering sum. Average age on university graduation, 21. In comparison, those early school leavers have the potential of 5 years of full time earning income and job experience under their belt.

For me school lessons were boring, I had the bad habit of falling asleep in class!  Knowing that I would be able to earn income earlier, reduce the chances of debt (as long as I wasn’t keeping up with the Joneses) and start saving up for a home, given that, I would have quit school at 16. Luckily, I’m old enough (!) to experience the days when university was free and paid for by the government. But that’s taking the short-term view and I believe is that we should be looking at it over a much longer term view, over our life time.

It’s a well cited statistic that graduates can expect to earn £100,000 more over their lifetimes than someone who didn’t go to university. And last year, Adzuna (jobs website), reported that Jobseekers without a degree could earn up to £12,000 a year less than their graduate peers entering the job market. Not only that, according to government statistics, graduates and postgraduates continue to have higher employment rates and are more likely to work in high-skilled jobs than non-graduates. And full-time employed, working-age graduates will earn an average of £31,000 2016, compared to £22,100 for non-graduates.

For those of us with degrees don’t rest on your laurels, there’s still continuous development. Degrees are broad and pursuing training in specialist areas will enhance your attractiveness and keep yourself very competitive in the market. For example, if you have a IT degree, take your CompTIA A+ and specific vendor qualifications or if you took English and really want to get into accountancy then do your AAT exams to differentiate yourself from others.

For those of us without degrees close the gap by investing in yourself. Get your degree, it’s never too late. Spend time, study and pass specific qualifications. Don’t wait for your employer to offer it out of the goodness of their heart. These actions could enhance your earning potential.

Sometimes choices aren’t available to us when we want or need them but opportunities always exist. Our educational paths are numerous and more complex over a lifetime. Especially these days, staying with one company for your whole career is becoming rare. We are fortunate to grow as individuals and our horizons change with every interaction and as new knowledge is gained. We have a thirst for knowledge which should never be quenched. I call it continuous development. That’s what we should all strive for. Regardless of labels; professional development, personal growth, informal, formal, or a fun hobby. There’s always further education, it’s unavoidable. And wouldn’t we all love to be both street smart and highly educated? To help us along the way there are numerous courses that encourage us to learn, add depth and expand our horizons even more. Ask yourself when was the last time you actively educated yourself? It’s not too late, don’t put it off any longer, go for it now!

And if you’re struggling for ideas and you can’t think of a course to go on to expand your horizons then take a look at our listings on CoursesDojo.com (my latest startup venture). If we haven’t got what you’re looking for, we will aim to find it for you.

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