There are many reasons why you may finish school with zero qualifications and it doesn’t mean that there are no opportunities in the world of work for you. Whether you want to be a CEO or a cleaner, do an apprenticeship or simply work your way up, these are our tips for school leavers without GCSEs.
What are you good at and what do you enjoy?
Many people who leave school without GCSEs are just much more practical and less academic than the school system requires. Sometimes it’s your particular school or home environment that held you back. The career ladder is easier with a good set of GCSEs under your belt but if you know that’s not going to happen, think about what you’re good at and how you’re going to use the skills that you do have. Think about the following questions;
- What do other people say that you’re good at?
- Do you think of yourself as a creative or a technical person or a bit of both?
- Are you good with people and enjoy conversation?
- Do you enjoy being outdoors or in an office?
- Do you like being physically active or would you rather sit at a desk?
- Do you like being around lots of people or would you rather work quietly alone?
- Do you prefer to focus on one task or are you good at multitasking?
Some popular jobs that don’t require GCSEs
The Armed Forces
A smart career route is to join the British Army, Royal Navy or the Royal Air Force. Few employers provide as many opportunities for training, promotion and job security for school leavers with zero qualifications. Don’t think it’s all about fighting. There are opportunities to become an engineer, a communications specialist, an HR administrator or even a chef.
Sales & Recruitment
Both sales and recruitment require great people skills but formal qualifications are secondary. There are thousands of jobs in sales out there from car showrooms to estate agents or retail work. You may have to compete for work with people who have degrees but if you can demonstrate great rapport with clients, colleagues and customers you’ll be in demand. Generally you’ll start on a fairly low wage in these industries but if you’re good the sky’s your limit!
Hospitality, Beauty & Leisure
If you love working with people and are willing to learn there are lots of opportunities within the hospitality sector (pubs, restaurants, hotels etc), beauty (hairdressers, spas, nail bars etc) and leisure (gyms, leisure centres, sports facilities etc). This is generally quite a low paid sector and job security is not brilliant. However if you train for professional qualifications, for example to become a qualified personal trainer, a chef or a nail technician, you can earn a good living. There are also a lot of freelance opportunities in the sector if you’re looking for flexible working.
Construction and Trades
You can join the construction sector straight from school but joining as an apprentice will ensure you get the training and support needed to develop your career. Jobs for totally unskilled labourers are not that common so if you want job security and to establish a good income it’s best to choose a trade and get the experience and the training needed. Check out Rate My Apprenticeship for companies offering outstanding schemes for people with zero qualifications.