In this article, we will explore some of the concerns that school leavers may have, focusing on how to define your goals and prepare for your future success, providing some guidance for school leavers.

Leaving school is a major milestone in a young person’s life. It signals the transition from the structured world of compulsory education to the vast, uncharted territory of further education, employment, or alternative pathways. For many, it is an exciting prospect, but for others, it can feel overwhelming, even daunting. A question commonly found in the minds of school leavers is, “What should I do now?” If you’re one of them, this article aims to offer some guidance and perspective.

  • The Process: Research, Evaluate, Decide

    Initially, you might not know where to begin, and that’s okay. It’s about taking one step at a time. Firstly, research is key in the decision-making process. Look into different careers, jobs, and industries. This step is all about gathering relevant knowledge.

    Next, evaluate your findings. Review the responsibilities associated with each job or department. Consider the educational qualifications or certification you might need. Also, assess the risk and potential employee turnover in these roles.

    Finally, decide. This stage can be challenging, but remember, your first job does not determine your entire career. It’s all about progression and development.

  • Exploring the Feelings of Uncertainty

    It’s important to acknowledge that feeling uncertain or confused after leaving school is common and, in fact, completely normal. The academic world provides a defined structure and a clear set of expectations, and moving beyond this structure into a more open-ended phase of life can be unsettling. Moreover, societal and familial pressures can add to the stress. Remind yourself that this phase of life is about exploration and discovery. Allow yourself the freedom to not have all the answers immediately. It’s okay to take time to figure things out.

  • Identifying Your Interests and Strengths

    One of the first steps in understanding what you want to do after leaving school is to identify your interests and strengths. Take some time to reflect on what you enjoy doing, what you’re good at, and what values are important to you. There are numerous online tools and personality tests, like Myers-Briggs or Holland Codes, that can give you some insight into your personality type, strengths, and potential suitable careers. Career guidance counsellors can also provide professional help in this area.

  • Exploring Various Pathways

    There’s a common misconception that the traditional route of going straight to university is the only path to a successful career. This is not the case. There are many different pathways available:

    • College/University Further education can open doors to numerous careers, particularly those that require specialist knowledge like medicine, law, or engineering.
    • Vocational Training This provides practical and hands-on training for specific careers. These courses are typically shorter and more targeted than university degrees.
    • Apprenticeships These offer the chance to learn a trade or profession directly on the job, while also earning a wage. Apprenticeships exist in a wide range of fields, from traditional trades to areas like digital marketing and finance.
    • Gap Year Taking a year off to travel, work, or volunteer can provide valuable life experience, help you learn new skills, and potentially give you a clearer idea of what you want to do in the future.
    • Entrepreneurship If you have a business idea, why not explore it? Resources for young entrepreneurs are more abundant than ever.
  • Harnessing Your Skills: Problem-Solving and Beyond

    Solving problems is a critical skill that employers value. It’s not just about finding a solution but thinking through how to get there. Think about examples from your school life where you had to solve a problem. How did you manage it? These examples are great talking points during job interviews.

  • Training and Development: Key to Employee Success

    Training programmes can provide a smooth transition from the classroom to the workplace. They equip you with the relevant skills required for your intended career. On-the-job training allows you to learn while you work and can often lead to full-time employment.

  • Teamwork and Communication: Navigating the Workplace

    Being part of a team and communicating effectively are crucial elements of most jobs. Think about a project you completed at school as part of a team. What was your role? How did you contribute? These are more examples that you can use in an interview to demonstrate your abilities.

  • Building a Support Network: Creating a Circle of Influence

    Don’t hesitate to contact those who can help you – former teachers, career counsellors, even family members who have experience in the workforce. They can offer valuable insights and advice as you navigate your career path.

  • Looking Forward: Prepare for Your Future

    While it may feel like there’s a lot to handle right now, it’s all part of your journey. Remember, you are not alone. We are here to guide and support you. Let’s take a look at what’s next.

  • Preparing for Employment: Strategies for Success

    It’s important to be proactive. Take the initiative in developing your skills. Attend workshops, take online courses, and join relevant clubs or societies. It’s all about showing employers that you are motivated and eager to learn.

  • Setting Career Goals: Focusing on the Future

    Setting defined goals can keep you on track. Start by creating a career plan. This does not have to be set in stone but having a rough idea can provide some direction.

    Having a sense of direction can be helpful when you’re feeling uncertain about your future. Start by setting short-term and long-term goals. Short-term goals could be as simple as attending an open day at a local university or completing an online course in a subject you’re interested in. Long-term goals might involve completing further education, starting a specific career, or achieving a certain position within a company. Remember, goals can change over time – they’re not set in stone.

Conclusion: Embrace the Journey

Remember, leaving school and starting your career journey is a significant milestone. It’s normal to feel uncertain or overwhelmed. At CareerHub, we’re here to guide and support you every step of the way. Together, we will turn these uncertainties into opportunities. Let’s start this journey!

Whether you are a school leaver trying to decide on your next step or a parent hoping to support your children better, we hope this article has been helpful. As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at CareerHub. Your future is in your hands, and we are here to help you shape it.