According to teen magazine Future-Mag, more than half (54 per cent) of graduates say they’d think again about choosing university as the best way to find a job.
If you don’t fancy another three years of study, can’t face the debt, or didn’t get the results you were expecting, don’t worry. There are plenty of routes into careers that that don’t require you to have a degree.
These new opportunities are partly thanks to a rise in apprenticeships since the government has invested more in professional training.
Here’s a run-down of some top jobs you can do without a degree.
If you’ve been thinking of becoming a nurse but don’t want to go to university full-time this could be for you. The government has just announced a massive £172m investment into nursing, the money is to allow healthcare employers to take on up to 2,000 nursing degree apprentices every year over the next four years.
Nursing apprenticeships offer an alternative to full-time university courses, allowing people to earn a salary while their tuition costs are paid. At the end of the apprenticeship – which usually takes four years – apprentices are able to qualify as fully registered nurses.
You’ll usually need 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a degree apprenticeship
Pay: £24,907 to £37,890
Air Traffic Controller
24 hours a day, they help to keep some of the busiest airspace in the world moving. The work is challenging and demanding, but it’s immensely rewarding too. Air traffic controllers give information and advice to airline pilots to help them take off and land safely and on time.
You have to be over 18 and have at least five GCSEs or equivalent at Grade 4 or above (previously A-C) or Scottish Nationals 5 Grade A-C or equivalent, including English and maths. As well as having a good level of physical and mental fitness, you must satisfy the basic medical requirements set down by the Civil Aviation Authority.
The National Air Traffic Control Service (NATS) has developed a series of games to help gauge whether you’re right for this career.
Pay: £17,000 to £50,000
It’s not quite ‘Better Ask Saul’… in reality Solicitors advise clients about the law and act on their behalf in legal matters, and can specialise in a host of areas, including contract, criminal, commercial and family law, and much more.
You can now become a solicitor by training on the job since new solicitor apprenticeships (level 7) which were approved in 2015. This isn’t an easy route – you’ll need to pass a series of tough exams. You’ll need good A levels and it can take five to six years to complete.
Pay £25,000 to £100,000
Visual Effects Artist
They help artists produce all the whizzy visual effects (VFX). They assist senior VFX artists and prepare the elements required for the final shots. Eventually they’ll be employed by post production companies working on commercials, television series and feature films.
You could do a practical short course at London’s MetFilm School (Ealing Studios) and try to get into the industry that way, or do an apprenticeship via Next Gen.
Pay from £18,000 to £50,000 once qualified
Computer forensic analyst (cyber security)
What do they do?
Investigate and thwart cyber crime. They might work for the police or security services, or for computer security specialists and in house teams. They’ll follow and analyse electronic data, ultimately to help uncover cyber crime such as commercial espionage, theft, fraud or terrorism.
Cyber security professionals are in high demand in both the public and private sector in the wake of high level breaches and perceived terrorism threats. And there’s a severe shortage of qualified professionals. Cyber security higher apprenticeships (level 4) are offered by major infrastructure and energy companies and – excitingly – the security services.
Pay £20,000 to £60,000
An estate agent’s lot isn’t quite as chaotic as the comedy ‘Stath Lets Flats’, might lead you to believe, in reality, estate agents sell and rent out commercial and residential property, acting as negotiators between buyers and sellers.
Some estate agents offer an intermediate apprenticeship as a junior estate agent, or you may be able to start as a trainee sales negotiator and learn on the job.
Pay: Estate agents often work on commission which means that you have a basic salary and also earn a percentage of the sale or rental price of any property you sell or rent. £15,000 to £40,000
This is another profession where the Government has pumped in large amounts of cash to help recruit new coppers. If you’ve been considering this as a career, now could be the right time to apply. Police officers keep law and order, investigate crime, and support crime prevention.
There is no formal educational requirement, for direct application but you will have to be physically fit and pass written tests. Or, you could start by doing a police constable degree apprenticeship. You’ll usually need: 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and college qualifications like A levels for a degree apprenticeship.
You can get a taste of what it’s like to work with the police by volunteering as a special constable.
You could also get paid work as a police community support officer (PCSO) before applying for police officer training.
Pay £20,000 to £60,000
Public Relations officer
Public relations (PR) officers manage an organisation’s public image and reputation. You migh get involved in planning PR campaigns, monitoring and reacting to the public and media, writing and editing press releases, speeches, newsletters, leaflets, brochures and websites, creating content on social media much more.
There is no set entry route to become a public relations officer but it may be useful to do a relevant subject at college, like a Foundation Certificate in Marketing.
You can work towards this role by doing a public relations assistant higher apprenticeship.
You’ll usually need: 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship
Pay £18,000 to £90,000
Work with young people and help them develop personally and socially. They might work with local services, youth offending teams or voluntary organisations and community groups. They might help organise sports and other activities, or be involved on counselling and mentoring, or liaising with authorities.
Many enter youth work as a volunteer or paid worker, but you can now qualify via a youth work apprenticeship.
Pay £23,250 to £37,500
Undergo leadership training before choosing from a wide range of specialisms, including; platoon commander, helicopter pilot, intelligence, logistics… even work in military medicine and healthcare.
You’ll typically need 5 GCSEs at grade 9 to 4 (A* to C) or above and 2 A levels. You’ll have to take aptitude and ability tests, pass a fitness test and interview before a more rigorous assessment to see if you’re capable mentally and physically.
Pay £27,273 to £42,009