People Who Did Not Go

Uni isn't the only choice, and some choose not to go. Learn from their experiences and read interviews with individuals who chose not to attend Uni. Select the category to see their specific professions.

Nick

Nick

What is your current occupation?

Accountant.

What route did you take into your current occupation?

Having taken accountancy as a subject at A Levels I decided it was the perfect career to get into. I applied for various jobs whilst in year 13 a few months before final exams. I managed to impress in the interview at my current employers and was offered the job as trainee accountant. I started just after results day and have been working my way up the ladder ever since.

Why did you choose to not go university?

There is no real benefit in going to university if pursuing a career in accountancy. The prospect of earning money whilst learning on the job instead of getting into debt at university was the more attractive route to take.

What have you gained from not going to university?

On top of not being in debt, I have 3 years of experience and am now only 1 year away from being a fully qualified chartered accountant. I have a very stable job and some very promising prospects for the future.

Do you feel you have missed out on anything by not going to university?

I would say the main thing I have missed out on is the whole university experience and lifestyle, however a lot of my friends did go to university and so after quite a few weekends visiting them I feel I’ve experienced it enough!

Do you wish you had gone to university?

To be honest, no. The benefits of not going have outweighed the benefits of going by enough for me to have no regrets.

In the 3 years, it would have taken you to complete a degree, what have you done/achieved?

I have gained 3 years worth of experience; I am a qualified Accounting Technician having completed the AAT qualification; and I am over half way through the ACCA qualification.

If somebody asked you advice about whether to go to university or not, what would you say?

It all depends on what career you plan to go into, with the costs of going to university increasing it’s even more important to make the right decision for your own circumstances.

If somebody asked for my advise with regards to accountancy, I would strongly advise taking the route I did. When going for accountancy jobs in later life, employers care more about experience and accounting qualifications, a degree will not stand out as much.

Do you feel that you are disadvantaged by not going to university in terms of career advancement?

Not at all, I feel that not going to university has had the opposite effect!

Anything else (comments)

For anyone thinking about getting into a career in Accountancy, most firms hire trainee accountants and pay for all qualifications, normally the AAT then either ACCA, ACA or CIMA. University really has no benefits, and you can still come out with a degree by doing the ACCA!

Matt

Matt

What is your current occupation?

Part-qualified Accountant.

What route did you take into your occupation?

 Found a job after my A-Levels.

Why did you choose not to go to university?

 Already had a job offer, and put off by costs.

What have you gained form not going to university?

 Work experience, and a faster route into my profession.

Do you feel you have missed out on anything by not going to university?

 Only the social aspects.

Do you wish you had gone to university now?

 No!

In the 3 years it would have taken you to do a degree, what have you done/achieved?

 Qualified as a member of the AAT, and part-qualified as a member of the ICAEW.

If someone asked you for advice about whether to go to university or not, what would you say?

Dependant on what career path they were looking to take. Would advise them to explore all the options available before making a decision. 

Do you feel you are disadvantaged by not going to university in terms of career advancement?

 No, the opposite.

Darren

Darren

What is your current occupation?

Internal Auditor for Luton Borough Council.

What route did you take into your occupation

I entered an apprenticeship programme with Luton Borough Council immediately after leaving school. This was a Business Administration apprenticeship for 12 months, after which point I was employed on a permanent basis within the Councils' Audit and Investigations team. 

Why did you choose not to go to university?

It was not really something that appealed to me. I knew that University was not for me, and therefore did not even explore this as a possibility.

What have you gained form not going to university?

I now have 5 years valuable work experience; AAT qualification; and a route for ongoing career development and progression. And of course, neither me, or my parents are in debt!

Do you feel you have missed out on anything by not going to university?

Not particularly. There was a point where I had slight regrets about not going to university, as some of the larger employers did look more kindly upon applicants with a degree (of any sorts!). So I was a little worried that not having a degree would hamper my career prospects in some way. However, I have seen the tide turn over the last couple of years, with employers now seeking applicants with experience and a professional qualification. I of course missed out of the social-life that university life entails, although I suppose my liver is quite pleased about this.

Do you wish you had gone to university now?

No, at this moment in time I'm glad I didn’t go. I have achieved a lot more in a short space of time by not going, and feel I'm better placed now than some of my peers who attend university. However, whether I regret this in the long term or not….I guess only time will tell.

In the 3 years it would have taken you to do a degree, what have you done/achieved?I have achieved AAT qualification, and I am now working towards becoming a chartered internal auditor (IIA).

If someone asked you for advice about whether to go to university or not, what would you say?

I would say they seriously have to weigh up all of theiroptions and be 100 percent certain as to what career path you want to choose. If the career you seek does not necessarily require a university degree, then I would seriously advise exploring opportunities to gain both work experience and qualifications at the same time (i.e. apprenticeships, trainee programmes etc). For example, if you wish to choose an accounting path, it may be far more beneficial to find employment where you can work towards AAT (or similar), whilst also gaining valuable work experience.

Do you feel you are disadvantaged by not going to university in terms of career advancement?

Not at present. If anything, it is the reverse. I have a very secure job with quite a reasonable wage for my age. In addition I have valuable qualifications and experience, with options to continue these to further my career prospects.

Joe

Joe

What is your current occupation?

Site/Project Manager at Spence Ltd.

What route did you take into your current occupation?

I started work as a general labourer on site. I approached my managing director and told him I was looking to go into supervision/management, As a result I was given the role of a supervisor within a year after gaining on site experience and support from my peers. Now after numerous projects + training courses (supplied by my employer) I am managing one of our biggest contracts we’ve had this year- exceeding £2million!

Why did you choose to not go university?

To be honest I wasn’t the best behaved pupil at school and I dropped out of 6th form before the 2nd year. As I didn’t have the A-levels to get into university I went straight into work and worked my way up.

What have you gained from not going to university?

I think the biggest gain from not going university is that I have a lot of site experience and people skills, which helps in the construction industry. The reason being, I have to deal with the operatives/subcontractors on site, all the way up to higher management and clients.

Do you feel you have missed out on anything by not going to university?

I’d say I’ve missed out on the partying and clubbing at uni. Although I have many friends that go to university all over England, so I visit most of them and live like a student for a day or so on a Vodka and Pot Noodle diet!

Do you wish you had gone to university?

I would have enjoyed the night life, but I prefer the route I’ve taken as the past 3years I’ve been learning, earning, gaining skills which I couldn’t have done in a classroom.

In the 3 years, it would have taken you to complete a degree, what have you  done/achieved?

I have supervised numerous projects and completed 3 major projects as a site manager (Fitness first, Great Suffolk St/Sainsbury’s, Euston Station/Boots store, Waterloo Station).

If somebody asked you advice about whether to go to university or not, what would you say?

I would say do it, as it’s a life experience, a little bit of debt never hurt anybody…

Do you feel that you are disadvantaged by not going to university in terms of career advancement?

I’d say that I could have done with a bit more knowledge in construction which I could have gained from university. However, in this field even the people that have been doing it for years are learning things everyday, so I think if I carry on as I’m doing now I don’t see any problems with advancing over the years to come.

Anything else (comments)

University isn’t for everybody and sometimes people are more suited to the working life and learning on the job, as opposed to in a classroom.