Generation X through to the ‘millennials’ – the power of insight


Millennials have grown up with the pressure and push to go to University but this now means we see many graduates holding degrees in non-traditional subjects with huge debts whilst at the same time young people learning traditional skills and following careers paths by serving apprenticeships has declined.


We know young people’s decision making with regards to their future direction is very much influenced in their future direction by key people in their lives… parents, teachers, friends, siblings to name but a few.


How do key figures support the decision making of a young person? If the parents went to university, do they push the university route? If the parents got a job, should they look an apprenticeship option after university or come out of education after A Levels? If the parents don’t work, does this impact on next steps within a young person’s education and career? We do know in some cases young people can go in a completely different direction to the key people in their lives.


We recently successfully recruited Katy as an apprentice Quantity Surveyor and were delighted when Katy’s parents agreed to share their stories and support for an apprenticeship route. Katy’s father followed the apprenticeship route and her mum decided to leave education and find a route into work.


What route do we think Katy has taken and what was the reasoning behind her choice?


Her Father’s story:


“At sixteen, even though my O level grades were good my family could not afford for me to stay on to take A levels and so going to university was never an option, instead I was offered an apprenticeship.  This was the best start to my working life that I could have wished for; I was earning money from day one whilst the company paid for me to go to college and training centres. 


“But it was the on-the-job training where I was working with adults and being treated as one which increased my confidence.  I learnt to listen to the people that I worked with, they had some great life stories – including making many mistakes which they were willing to share with me – I quickly understood it was less painful to learn from their mistakes. 


“For me an apprenticeship was, and still is, as much about learning life skills, teamwork, confidence, self-reliance and building relationships with different people in the workplace, compared with the formality of studying for a university degree.


“Not having a university degree has not prevented me from being the Managing Director of a successful company; it did not stop me working as a development worker in Africa, and it did not preclude me from becoming Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner.”


Katy’s Mother’s story:


“All the way through Secondary School I thought I wanted to train to be a nurse, typically of that ‘era’ our Careers Officer’s suggestions were often limited to teaching, nursing, banking or secretarial work, however a protracted bout of glandular fever meant I was off school for about three months prior to my ‘O level’ exams, the lack of revision sessions and my illness resulted in poor grades and I stayed at school a further year to retake most subjects … by the time I took those exams again I’d had enough of studying and was keen to get out into the world of work.


“The late 1970s saw the introduction of the ‘Job Creation Programme’ and I was appointed on a three month project within a Local Government setting. This enabled me to then secure a permanent job before my project ended, with the advantage of the opportunity to attend college and gain qualifications … earning and learning.  My varied career within Local Government then spanned the next 19 years until a re-organisation meant that I could take redundancy and work at home within our own business.


Katy’s story:


“I didn’t know what to do after A levels, but it’s fair to say I knew what I didn’t want to do – I didn’t want to go to university just to rack up a large debt at the start of my working life and obtain a degree without knowing if it would be relevant.  I had a part-time job from the age of 16 which meant I was familiar with a working environment and I was getting used to earning some money of my own.  


“I have a passion for travel and had taken A level Geography, not just because I enjoyed the subject – but also for the field trips and visits to other countries!  I also crammed a two year Business Studies BTEC course into my final year as I thought it would be helpful for getting a job – even if I didn’t know what kind of job I wanted!”


The outcome:


By chance it was an advert for apprentices posted on Facebook by Futureworks (Yorkshire) which got their attention and they contacted us to find out more.


By the end of the initial interview it was clear there were various opportunities available and within a week an interview was arranged, an offer was made to Katy and an apprenticeship in Quantity Surveying was accepted!


It was always clear that Katy wanted to get on with life, to work and earn her own money and to continue to travel.  She sees this opportunity as an Apprentice Quantity Surveyor as providing her the chance to continue to do just this and she recognises that she will be able to take her skills, qualifications and experience with her to work anywhere in the world ….. if she chooses to do so.


Katy’s mother adds:


“We have both carved our own path through life without a degree, so there was no pressure from us for Katy to go to university and we can totally appreciate the opportunity this apprenticeship will give her, along with the valuable mentoring not only from her placement but from Futureworks Yorkshire too, all working to support her success.”


So what about you?


If you have just got your results, have you secured the next step in building your positive future? Your results can open up a huge range of opportunities for you, and even if you haven’t got quite the grades you were hoping for there are plenty of people out there to help you move forward, including our team at Futureworks (Yorkshire). We are happy to talk to you and support you to better understand the options out there for you, the different routes you can take to get to the position you want to be in and importantly consider one of those routes could be an apprenticeship!