7 Master Career Paths for School Leavers

Leaving school is the first step to a lifelong journey of your career. As a new school leaver, you have a range of potential paths you can follow, from university to apprenticeships and traineeships. It is important to consider the various options and choose the one that is best for you, rather than simply following what your friends are doing, or what your family expects you to do.

Irrespective of whichever path you wish to follow, it is critical that you do your research. Reading up on your prospective career options goes a long way to helping you make an informed decision. Listed below are seven different paths, and a little about each.

Career Paths for School Leavers

Degree Apprenticeship

One of the most popular choices for school leavers is a full-fledged degree apprenticeship program. Here, you get to study for your chosen discipline along with hands-on work in the field. It typically involves over 30 hours of work and study per week. In the end, you will get a bachelor’s degree in your specialization.

In this kind of program, you generally do not have to pay any fees and you are also guaranteed to earn at least minimum wage. This is an ideal career choice for students who cannot afford to pay the exorbitant tuition fees of their desired degrees. You can find such apprenticeships in an array of fields, including more technical domains like engineering as well as industries like PR and marketing.

The concept of a sponsored degree is somewhat similar to a degree apprenticeship. In this program, the employer chooses a promising candidate and enrolls them in a degree sponsored by the company. These school leaver candidates can study at the University of the employers’ choice while working with the organization in the summer placement season.

Something important to keep in mind when it comes to a sponsored degree is the job offer. While some employers will provide a formal employment contract before sponsoring the degree, others will not. It is not guaranteed that you will get a job after graduating, even if the company is paying for your education.

Foundation Degree or Higher Apprenticeships

These are level four and five programs that come with a guarantee of minimum wage and the scope to increase in salary. To enroll for a higher apprenticeship program after leaving school, the school leaver must meet certain pre-determined criteria. This includes a minimum of five GSCEs along with positive scores in level three programs.

Finishing a higher apprenticeship program gives you many options for the future. You can either start working with a full-time routine or pursue further education. You can also continue to work part-time while completing a higher education. These foundation degrees are available in a range of industries.

School Leaver Programs

A school leaver scheme is perfect for students looking to work for a reputed company but unable to pursue the necessary qualifications. Many such businesses offer a school leaver program where you get hands-on experience. These programs can last anywhere between 1 and 5 years.

These programs facilitate the development of your skillset while helping you align your personality with the workplace. You can find these programs in a large number of companies across multiple verticals.

School Leaver Programs

University Education

The most conventional career choice for school leavers is university education. A university’s formal education equips you with the skills and training necessary in the workplace. It not only provides knowledge but also hones your personality as a professional. Besides, you have an endless range of choices of different vocations in a university degree.

You can find some of the world’s best universities in the UK. Studying in such internationally acclaimed institutions molds you into a skilled professional and a confident individual. However, the high costs of tuition fees are the biggest deterrent for many students. Student loans can become a huge burden on students after they graduate.


Before starting in any job, even if it is an entry-level post, school leaver needs a set of skills to be able to perform the work. Traineeships provide you with the desired skills necessary for a higher level of education or work. While a training program may not come with pay, you might get some bonuses like travel or food reimbursements.

The goal of a training program is to prepare you for the future. It involves a planned curriculum to hone your skillset and aptitude in your desired specialization. Gas engineer training, for instance, includes course modules that provide information about the equipment as well as hands-on training. You can easily find an array of traineeship programs in a range of different industries.

Vocational Degree

Skills dominate the market more than anything in 2020. More than a fancy degree, employers look for school leaver candidates who can perform in real life and not just on paper. Vocational degrees are one of the best pathways to build a specialized skillset for any job.

As opposed to university education, vocational degrees focus on practical learning experiences rather than theoretical explanations.

These programs lay more emphasis on hands-on training and equip you with a mindset to deal with problems in real-time. Whether it is an IT-related niche or the engineering sector, a vocational program goes a long way to helping you become job-ready!

Vocational Degree for School Leaver

Summing Up

School leavers in 2020 have many potential career paths to explore for their future. As we’ve seen, there are a number of key options to consider before finalizing your choice. It is important to do your research around the options that appeal and identify the choice that is best for you.

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Editorial Team
We aim to create well researched, detailed content related to technology, jobs, HR tips, Career Advice, Interview Guidance, and Preparation that helps on how to grow your professional image and find a dream job.
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