So, here is the thing… never once did I plan to write this article — because the way I was raised up — has always put a spotlight on formal education and academia — as the first person in the large extended family, being the first born — it had to be University in order to set an example. I do value the doors that open up when you have that piece of paper. Lets call it a piece of paper for now.
So, how many people with this piece of paper — a degree — do you know that still struggle to pave successful fulfilling careers?
I know many people who connect the dots to their career progression to more than JUST the piece of paper. I have come to the conclusion for now that the skillsets you acquire in the learning process and application of these skills to real life situations — is very important — even more important that the actual tests and metrics used to enrol university students and judge if they are fit to receive the piece of paper at the end of the Uni-Life cycle.
One might argue that the skillsets that one has when starting a career — are because of the Uni — Life cycle experience. Yet, one might also acquire these skills anywhere else — like in environments that promote life long learning and push you to the limits in order for you to improve, problem solve and be part of the larger scheme of thought to create the world and its solutions.
Also whilst at it, we all know that having a degree doesn`t guarantee a job. So then, why is going to University such a big deal? — thats a story for another day.
For today, the purpose of this article is to share; how to build a career without A-levels nor a University degree. I feel this question is especially relevent for young people in Africa, given this article was inspired by a question by Tapiwa.
so, here goes…
I) Enter Industry early on…
There is power in engaging early on with the real world of Industry, given this is where a huge % of careers are embedded. One way to do this is through an apprenticeship. Some countries support programs where they hire young adults within the banks, factories… you name it — in order for them to build up practical experience. As I am from the engineering world, can tell you first hand — that most of the apprenticeships that I worked with were remarkable and had extensive first hand know-how. They played a critical role and one can grow a career through this path — ( e.g from technician to engineer and so on…) . Some start as early as 15 years. This option is also more affordable than a college degree, and it provides one with valuable hands-on experience.
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II) Know your craft
If you are a really good at sport and passionate about this. Or parents if you have children with talent — pease don´t dim them : build them. Taking this route is certainly not easy — its a lot of dedication and planning. To be honest — this route can also be quite expensive depending on the sport.
III) Be aware of your unique strengths
being self aware is so powerful, consider the sills and interests you have. Creativity is such a powerful skill to have. One can build pathways be understanding the unique skills they can offer the world beyond the piece of paper. With the world changing so much, there are many new industries waiting to be created and some that are just kicking off where there isnt even a degree in place for them.
IV) Get yourself certifications
Trade certificates are done by trade schools and community colleges. With online virtual options there for you today. This option is also way cheaper than a college degree and provides anyone with experience. You also find even after a degree — certifications can be very valuable when considering a career pivot as well. With certification and experience on can get a great entry-level job plus competitive pay.
V) Educate Yourself
With home schooling on the rise compared to the last decades. It is not unheard of — that self education is possible. Youtube has opened many avenues and opportunities to learn at your own pace. It is easier to educate yourself today. You can learn limitless information. It’s also all free — except for that energy and data bill! It does take a lot of self — motivation and discipline.
All in all yes, it is 100% possible to have a successful career and make a hell of an impact and you don’t always need to attend university for that. There are many options — where at any moment in time you can decide to pursue a degree depending on your goals.