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Exploring your future career path: Post-school options

Figuring out what to do next after finishing school? Discover future career paths, emerging industries and take a look at the future of learning.

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“Do you know what you want to do in the future?” It’s an all-important question that you’re likely to hear more often as you near the end of your secondary studies. From meetings with career advisors to picking your GCSE options, everything seems to revolve around your future career. 

As important as that is, the truth is, it’s completely acceptable to not be one hundred percent sure. After all, after years of planned lessons, revision, finishing up exams, and finally receiving your results, you’re making your biggest decision to date. 

Maybe English was always your best subject, and you want to go on to study literature, but you’re not sure about career paths and earning potential. The truth is, you may end up doing something that doesn’t even exist yet. Taking a look at some of the emerging careers from the last few years, there are a ton. 

Social media influencers and YouTubers didn’t exist over 10 years ago, and until a few years ago, neither did AI chatbot engineers and Amazon drone delivery drivers. While these careers didn’t exist years ago, they’ve now caused major shifts in their respective industries. The point is, as the world develops and changes, so does the job market, and so do the future career opportunities available to you. 

So, you’ve finished school. Congratulations are in order – but what now? Whatever your choice, planning for the future doesn’t need to be hard. In this article, we’ll guide you through all your options, and whether you’re interested in going down the traditional route or otherwise, we’ll help make those post-school choices easier. School’s out, but class is in session. 

What are squiggly careers?

Non-linear careers, or squiggly careers, are nothing new, but as the world of work changes, so do we. Gone are the days of a “job for life”, as people are looking for something a little different. That’s where squiggly careers come in. 

Authors Helen Tupper and Sarah Ellis of the best-selling book The Squiggly Career: Ditch the Ladder, Discover Opportunity, Design Your Career, define the squiggly career as the opposite of the traditional career ladder. Instead of a straight line or a ladder with measured steps to the top, you should think of your modern career as a squiggle – and there’s data to back it up. 

Back in the day, you’d leave school with a chosen degree and a clear career path – one that you’d be expected to stick to. Now, the reality is that the average person changes careers 12 times in their lifetime. 

It’s clear that squiggly careers are slowly becoming the norm, whether you decide to change industries, switch gears with further education or combine skills to create a career lane of your own. Take stock of your interests and skills, and consider embracing a squiggly career path. 

There’s more than one career path

When it comes to taking your first steps towards a career path, there are multiple routes available to you. That’s the beauty of it. Whether you’re interested in higher education or going straight into the world of work, let’s dive into three potential career paths you could take. 

Path 1: The traditional route

This is the most traditional career path. After finishing school or college, you continue on into higher education, enrol in university (perhaps straight away or after a gap year), then enter the world of work after graduation. 

Short online courses are an excellent way to ease your way onto this path. Whether you’re looking to transform a passion into a certified career, hone in on a degree choice, develop a few skills during the summer, prepare for university or boost your personal statement and CV, we offer over 1000+ courses and work with over 100 universities. What’s more – you’ll learn new topics in bite-sized chunks so you can study in your own way. 

Path 2: The flexible learning route

Sometimes, higher education doesn’t include on-campus life. This is a career path that has become increasingly popular over the last few years. Life happens and that shouldn’t make learning any harder. For anyone who wants to work, travel and study in their own time, a flexible online degree might be an ideal option. 

Choose from our degrees by top universities and earn anything from a Bachelor of Arts to a MSc in Psychology. Study whenever and wherever you like, at a pace that works for you. 

Path 3: The work route

It’s possible that university isn’t for you and you might want to get started with a paid internship, apprenticeship or your very first full-time job. In that case, online accredited courses could help you get prepared for the start of your career. 

Partnering with some of the world’s biggest companies including Accenture, AWS, CIM and NHS, our accredited courses are designed to give you skills needed, no matter what your chosen career path is.

The future of learning

University is changing, and it’s an exciting time to be thinking about higher education and online learning. Now, you’re able to take online courses and stack them to make a full degree – and with the upcoming Lifelong Loan Entitlement, you’ll get support to cover those costs too.

What are stackable credits?

In short, stackable credits allow you to complete online courses and stack them to create a full qualification. Similar to modules on a university degree, stackable credits allow for a more flexible and innovative way to enter higher education. 

Not all online courses are currently stackable, but we expect to host more stackable microcredentials – like our Climate Solutions for a Net Zero Future microcredential by Nottingham Business School – on our platform in the near future. 

What is the Lifelong Loan Entitlement?

The government is currently developing the policy for the Lifelong Loan Entitlement, referred to as LLE for short. Launching in 2025, the LLE will mean that you can take a loan up to four times up to the amount of today’s tuition fees (that’s currently £37,500), throughout your career. 

With stackable credits and the Lifelong Loan Entitlement, it’s clear that lifelong learning will fast become the norm. After all, with fewer potential financial barriers to academic and professional development, and greater flexibility, why wouldn’t you want to upskill?

Your future career path with FutureLearn

Whatever career path you choose, learning with FutureLearn gives you the freedom to choose how you want to learn. Learn anywhere and anytime, alongside a growing community of 18 million learners. 

The future is yours and it’s in your hands. That’s a great place to be, so why not take the first step today and take a look at our online courses to help prepare you for your next phase of life?

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