My experience of learning 'on-the-job'
It's difficult to make life choices when you are 17 or 18 years old and you don't know exactly where you see yourself in 10 year's time.
I remember feeling a sense of compulsion about going to Uni, as if that was the only way to progress my career and that any other next step was unnatural.
At the point of deciding which route to take, I had been working part-time on the phones at Angel for 6 months, around my A-level studies. I really enjoyed it, though never really thought of it as a career choice.
Coincidentally there was a position advertised for Duty Manager just before I was due to finalise my decision to take a Business Degree.
After conversations with my family and the Management Team at Angel, I realised that progressing my career and doing a traditional degree were not mutually exclusive. I decided to apply, thinking I would never get promoted at my age in a million years.
Sure enough I was offered the role on the Monday, which was exciting but also presented a real dilemma...
I decided to not go to Uni and stay at Angel, gulp!
I have now been at Angel for over 4 years and I have progressed through the company thanks to amazing support from the Management Team, both in terms of time and investment in my on-the-job courses.
I have found that business courses through the Institute of Leadership & Management have pushed me to learn in a practical and evidenced-based way, which has improved my ability to deliver in my role. In my opinion, I have developed more learning in this way than ever possible in a classroom.
In addition to the benefits to my career, being able to work and earn whilst learning has enabled me to develop life skills and an understanding of the 'real world'.
At the age of 20, my girlfriend and I have just purchased our first house together, which is only possible thanks to us both being in roles where we are learning and earning at the same time. Exciting times!
I would strongly recommend that anyone considering going to University explores options such as diplomas, apprenticeships and open courses as they are so rewarding and they can open just as many doors as a traditional degree.
In a wider context, I hope to see investment in practical and on-the-job learning from the Government as I believe it will encourage a more pragmatic and realistic approach to business in years to come.