Going to university
Take a look and see if your university made the top 10 innovative universities list this year. Source: Eliott Reyna/Unsplash

New research from jobs board, Monster.co.uk shows that today’s 16-18 year-olds in the UK no longer see a university degree as the only route to a good career. Just 53 percent say they are considering going to university, whilst 22 percent plan on completing an apprenticeship. This is a significant drop since 2013, when 86 percent of young people said that a university education was important.

With the average student graduating with over £50,000 of debt, 42 percent of school leavers across the country are put off of attending university due to the cost, while over a third (35 percent) believe that pursuing a degree doesn’t guarantee a great job.

Monster.co.uk’s research shows that teenagers and their parents are broadly in agreement. When asked, 48 percent of parents and 60 percent of school leavers believed that getting a degree helps graduates land a better job than completing an apprenticeship. Forty-one percent of parents think an apprenticeship would be the best route for their child.

Across the UK, parents and teenagers in the North East have the most positive outlook towards apprenticeships; 37 percent of teens in the region are considering an apprenticeship, compared to the UK average of 22 percent. For parents in the North East, 69 percent believed that apprenticeships stand young people in better stead to get a good job than earning a degree. With the North East currently home to the country’s highest unemployment rate, apprenticeships offer an immediate route into work, rather than going to university and graduating with huge debt and no job guarantee.

Derek Jenkins, General Manager UK & Ireland, Monster.co.uk and Monster.ie, comments: “With the cost of university tuition young people are moving away from the idea that degrees are essential to getting a good job. While it’s great to see more options available, making this huge decision at a young age is putting school leavers under a lot of pressure. At 16, 17 or 18 who honestly knows what they want to do for the rest of their lives? Instead of rushing into something, consider taking a year out to do internships and gain experience in different industries, or go travelling before making that decision.

“Whatever route you do decide to go down, if it doesn’t work out, don’t panic. You won’t be the first person to drop out of university or switch careers. Often it’s only through trial and error that you end up where you really want to be”

Going to university

“Often it’s only through trial and error that you end up where you really want to be”. Source: Jesús Rodríguez/Unsplash

For anyone concerned that they won’t be able to get a good job without having pursued higher education, there are plenty of high paying and interesting roles that don’t require a degree. To help you out, Monster has created the top 10 highest paying jobs that you don’t need a degree for:

The top 10 highest paying jobs that you don’t need a degree for

  1. Firefighter

Firefighters can earn up to £40,000 per year, depending on their rank. General managers can earn around the £30,000 mark, but if you become a station manager, you may collect upwards of 40k. To start, you’ll need to pass written exams and aptitude tests. You must be fit too – a number of physical exams are included as part of the selection process.

  1. Police constable

As a police officer, there’s a variety of roles you can take on, and it’s not all about being out on the streets fighting crime directly. Depending on where you are, salaries start at around £20,000 with the potential for growth of £45,000 and upwards for sergeants. Once you get into inspector territory as your career progresses, you can expect up to £50,000.

  1. Entrepreneur

You don’t technically need any qualifications to become a business owner – just a huge amount of drive, determination and a brilliant idea. With 1 in 10 Brits dreaming of owning their own business, what you earn will depend on how successful you are.

  1. Train and tram drivers

Newly-qualified drivers can earn up to £25,000, while experienced ones take home up to £50,000. There are some great benefits too, like free or discounted rail travel.

  1. Training managers

Training managers conduct training programmes for employers in a variety of different sectors. The average national salary is £37,000, with the potential for more, depending on the company, industry experience and location.

  1. Project manager

Project managers can work in a range of fields and are responsible for ensuring the project is a success. Responsibilities include planning, budgeting, overseeing and documenting. The average salary is around £40,000 depending on the area and location.

Going to university

The average salary for a Project Manager in the UK is around £40,000. Source: Austin Distel/Unsplash

  1. Air traffic controllers

There’s no degree needed here, but you will need a calm nerve, 5 GCSEs and three years’ training to obtain your air traffic control licence from the National Air Traffic Services (NATS). Starting salaries are £17,000 to £21,000, while experienced controllers can reach up to £50,000, depending on where they work and shift allowances.

  1. Sales managers

Sales managers are responsible for leading their sales team to success. You’ll need excellent communication and management skills, as well as proficient IT knowledge. Basic salaries start at £18,000 and can reach a potential of £100,000 – and more thanks to commission!

  1. Construction manager

Being a construction manager involves having good leadership and communication skills to coordinate and supervise projects. Although some of the work can be done from the office, this role also means working on-site – whatever the weather. On the plus side, Construction Managers can earn upwards of £50,000.

  1. Hazardous-waste manager

It might not sound appealing at first, but managers in this field can expect to receive upwards of £36,000 to get rid of hazardous by-products produced by organisations such as hospitals and factories. The level of skill required for this role makes it incredibly lucrative.

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