• Shona Lomas

Is “choosing to leave school after GCSE exams and getting job” really considered unsuccessful?

From a young age we aspire to become something amazing when we grow up, Princess, Superhero, Unicorn….

Then our expectations start to become a little more realistic, Nurse, Doctor, Scientist, Teacher….

At school we learn that if we want to achieve these impressive positions, we must put a lot of time into our education beyond our school years.

The moment we begin Secondary School our focus is exams, College, University, high paid job, big house etc.

This is exactly the right path for most people, but what about those who do not achieve their desired results and miss out or those who simply feel that Further Education is not for them and they are keen to get themselves out into the big wide world of work?

I am going use myself as an example in this instance.

In school I was in all of the top sets, I achieved all A’s, B’s and C’s in my GCSE’s – I was college material but I never knew at the time what I wanted to do with my life so I chose to leave school and become a DJ. Whilst this is not what I would advise for anyone it was fun at the time, I got to travel the world, I grew in confidence, met a lot of people and learned a lot about myself, the main lesson being that I am ambitious and wanted to make a difference in whatever I did.

I worked my way through basic Administration roles, moved into Customer Services, then Sales, into the Education and Employment sector and here I am now writing a blog for my own website that promotes my own Company.

My thoughts on how this journey could have been different for me are:

· What if I had been given encouraging, relevant careers advice?

· What if I had been given employability skills training as a lesson?

· What if there had been more vocational workshops available?

· What if the school had given us workshops to attend that would give us material to add to our CV?

How good would it be if we set young people up with skills, knowledge and tangible elements to add to their CVs if they choose to leave school to

try and find employment. Subjects like Starting your Own Business, Employability Skills, Basic Customer Services, NLP, CV Writing and Interview Skills, Preparing to enter the World of Work –

Fewer young people would end up in temporary work or on benefits. Employers would feel more confident in hiring younger employees. Fewer school leavers would feel like they have failed because they have not taken the route into further education.

There would be more young entrepreneurs, more exciting young minds becoming part of the team in businesses offering fresh relevant ideas.

This thought excites me and I am going to reach out to schools to see if we can offer these types of workshops as part of their careers development curriculum. We need your feedback…

As a school leaver is this something you would find helpful?

As an employer would you be more likely to employ a young person with these additional skills and knowledge?

As an education establishment would you feel that you have given young people another option and prepared them fully to leave school if they have chosen not to or have missed out on the option of Further Education?

We would be interested to hear from you!

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