Out of GCSE’s, A-Levels, NVQ’s, City & Guilds, apprenticeships, volunteer work, full-time employment, and university degrees, which would you say is the most important? Which one of all of those things would benefit you the most when it comes to finding a secure position and a successful career?

GCSE’s are almost meaningless, especially if you have a qualification that is deemed a step better such as an A-level or NVQ, but it’s important to have good grades in the fundamental three subjects; English, Maths and Science.

Apprenticeships are a great way of getting training for a particular field, but the chances of getting one after your 18th birthday are almost non-existent. University degrees are seen as the top educational or academic achievement there is, if you get a first-class honours degree anyway, (bar PhD’s and things like that, but that’s a little irrelevant), yet people who have gone through university are reportedly not getting employed. So is leaving school and going straight into work the best way to go?

Volunteer work definitely helps the appearance of your CV, and may help you decide what you want to do as a career. Unfortunately, students are put off the idea since interns and volunteers usually don’t get paid for the work they do. What’s the point of compromising with non-paid work if a potential paid position comes up and you can get more money being full-time or it’s not possible to work part-time? The key word that employers love to bring up in interviews and vacancy advertisements is ‘experience’. A lot of students have already rightly pointed out that it’s impossible to gain experience if everyone that provides it is asking for it too. It’s also one of the reasons I think that students are turning to the sex trade; there’s no interviews, no applications to fill out and no vacancy to be rejected from. There are no ridiculous and unforgivable conditions to stop you from earning money and desperate times call for desperate measures.

So why do we need education reform? I think that the reason for many students’ lack of employability is down to schools, colleges and universities allowing students to take courses that they believe to be bad choices for their potential future. It’s a fair point that the student could probably take better care and think seriously about where they want to go and what they want to do, but there is a difference between wanting to do something and being able to find a career that suits that desire. You may want to be an author of a series of novels or a movie director or a games designer or an astronaut but are those desires practical? Are they dreams or are they really potential realities? It’s hard to discourage a student to not pursue what they want to do but aren’t you as education providers supposed to be guiding them to a better future? Again, another fair point is to question whether their parents are the ones who are responsible for their future and what are they doing to support their child’s decision on what they want to grow up to be and while I believe that parents should work together with education providers to support as best they can, some students spend more time with their teachers or tutors than they do with their parents.

Also, education providers have dealt with a lot of different demographics and lots of different children and are much more experienced and knowledgeable about what courses students choose and how that choice affects their future. Students need to be educated about what jobs are out there and which jobs have a high amount of vacancies. Sure, it’s definitely about compromising at the end of the day, because a student’s dream choice might not be a realistic choice for their employability, but that compromise should hopefully help that student become a full-time worker and have a successful career for the rest of their life. Isn’t that worth it?