For those of you who received their A-level results this summer and the knowledge of whether you’ve gained that university place, the latter half of August probably featured very different emotions. If you missed out on those required grades however, don’t worry because there are many other options where success stories are made.
Lucy Ingham is a 21-year-old teacher at a special needs school in Yorkshire who also finds time to work as a carer during her time off. After deciding uni was not for her, she decided to look at the options available to her and hasn’t looked back since.

So why do you think studying at university wasn’t the right path for you?

I personally didn’t think university would’ve been key to my career and I still agree with that decision. I’m someone who learns better by doing rather than being in a classroom and in my job role that’s what I needed – to see how things are done and to learn by watching others. Whether I had a degree or not, I’d still be doing the same thing I am now so it makes no difference to me, I’ve just been able to start doing what I love sooner. It’s given me time to find out what I really want to do and to gain as much experience as possible in that field.

Do you think in this country there is too much pressure on young people going to university and getting a degree?

I think there is quite a bit of pressure for people to go to university, people see it as a big thing and I think some people just expect you to go simply because you have the opportunity to. While it may be hard to get into some jobs without a degree, there are still a lot of things you can do without one.

Did you feel any pressure to get a degree?

When it was time for me to make the decision about university I was quite lucky because I didn’t really have people pressuring me to go. I’ve always known that university is not something I wanted to do and although my mum may have liked me to, my family have always known that it’s never appealed to me. They never expected me change my mind. My college tutors were all very understanding with my decision so they didn’t try to persuade me to go, just as long as I was doing what I wanted. A lot of my friends made the same decision as I did which also gave me some more confidence in my decision.

It sounds like you’re happy with the choices you made, do you have any regret in not going to university?

At this moment in time, no. I still believe that I made the right choice for myself and I’m glad I made the decision I did. I suppose it depends on the person and how sure they are on what they want to do. If you know what area of work you want to go into then there’s no reason not to start work as soon as you can. If you’re unsure about what you want to do then it’s probably best to try and find a job in something you think you might be interested in to trial it, or do some voluntary work somewhere or even take some time out until you know what it is you want to do.

What advice would you give to students who have not gained their required a-level results or those who have decided to not go to university to follow another career path?

To the people who didn’t get the results they were hoping for, although university may be something you were hoping to do, it really isn’t the end of the world. You don’t always need a degree to get your desired job, experience plays a major part in a career too. There are always other options you can take and people there to help you so just take your time to think about what you want to do and look at other choices and you’ll end up doing something you love, it’ll be worth it. If you’ve decided against university to go down another career route, if you’re happy there’s no reason to worry or regret your choice! As long as you remember why you made that decision and ignore the people who may negatively comment on your choice then you’ll be fine. Your job plays a major role in your life so it’s important that you enjoy what you do, if you’re happy with the decision that’s all that matters. Good luck!