How to make the grade

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Exam results are looming

With GCSE exam results being announced tomorrow and A Levels next week many students will be thinking about what’s next for them. Here Joe Crossley, CEO of Qube Learning, offers his advice on alternative routes to a successful career

Results day can be an intimidating prospect for many people across the country. A lot of individuals assume that the next steps into education or a career are very dependent on the grades they get so it’s important that all the possible routes available are understood to help someone make informed choices. There are a few key things to take into consideration and the first is that your future options really depend on what your long-term aim is. Not passing an exam is certainly not a barrier to achieving success in the future.  I left school without any qualifications and now sit as a CEO at one of the nation’s leading training providers.

Having a plan is essential and if you don’t know what you want to do, then think about what you enjoy. I like talking and working with people so retail was a good starting point for me. If there’s a trade or sector you are interested in, then research into what you need to do to get into that area.

Once you have an idea of which career path is the right one, building the correct skill set is the next step. People shouldn’t assume that school, college and then university is the only path that is a credible one.  In fact, I think there are many great examples of successful people who have started work early and then gone onto further education later in life.

Find out about alternatives routes. Traineeships and apprenticeships are great ways to build a long and successful career. Traineeships are a good way for 16-24-year olds to try out different sectors and job roles without making a long-standing commitment.  They are also beneficial for employers to ensure that they bring the right people into their business. Traineeships include really important elements that give students the right foundation for employment including maths and English, work readiness and industry specific skills such as food safety.  They are a useful way of gaining vital soft skills and work experience that is not always readily available.

Apprenticeships are also now a respected alternative to college and university. Apprenticeships ensure that participants gain not only sector specific skills, that are delivered by people with the most up to date knowledge, but they also ensure those skills are embedded over time. The key difference of course with an apprenticeship is that they enable people to earn while they learn which no other educational route can really compete with!

We know that on average a university debt is £23,500 which can be difficult for many to pay off and take years to finally say goodbye to. This is versus an average £23,542 apprentice salary which means earning, surviving and gaining invaluable expertise that will set individuals up for life. Qube Learning work with a lot of people from many backgrounds, we strive to help our students (and employers) prosper and get the best out of working and learning.

I know what it is to pick myself up again and to get knocked back, and that is why I am passionate about helping others on their journeys too. Everyone deserves a chance wherever they are from. It is imperative that all businesses look at character not just CV or qualifications and offer equal chances to all.

Pull quote: “There are a few key things to take into consideration and the first is that your future options really depend on what your long-term aim is”

Find out how a Traineeship or Apprenticeship could kick-start your career or contribute to your organisation by contacting the training experts at Qube Learning.

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