Get on the job ladder early with savvy tips for work-hungry students | The Sun

ARE you on course for top A-level grades, and a place at university, when you open your results next Thursday?

Or seeking an alternative to further education by getting your-self straight into work?

While official figures from universities and colleges admission service UCAS show 44 per cent of 18-year-olds have applied for higher education courses this year, there are plenty of other options.

The cost-of-living crisis means nine in ten students are reassessing which route to take, so here are some of the choices . . . 

  • ENTRY-LEVEL JOBS: Start at the bottom and work your way up. Sectors including leisure and hospitality, retail, travel and logistics all have vacancies for A-level leavers. Search for these at or apply direct to companies.
  • APPRENTICESHIPS: This traditional route is enjoying a huge revival with over 500 different job types on offer. Gain professional qualifications in your chosen field and earn as you learn. Visit


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  • DEGREE APPRENTICESHIPS: Many professional employers such as accountancy, law, finance and IT firms offer specialist schemes for school leavers aged 18 and over. You’ll earn a degree but need high grades to apply. See
  • INTERNSHIPS: Ideal for breaking into popular industries, internships are longer stretches of work experience. Search at
  • HIGHER TECHNICAL QUALIFICATIONS: HTQs are Level 4 or 5 qualifications such as HNDs and Diploma HEs approved by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education. Search at this link:
  • UNIVERSITY: Each sets its own entry requirements but you need A-levels or equivalent. You can change course or apply for a different uni through the clearing process. See

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Gig opportunities

Whether heading to university or waiting to start a career, you can gain work experience and make extra cash with micro- tasking apps. matches up businesses with local students.

Founder Chirag Basavaraj says: “It provides business owners with access to a potential gig workforce of over 2.3million, sidestepping more traditional and expensive hiring processes.”

Similarly, has thousands of summer jobs for A-level leavers.

CEO Lorna Davidson says: “We’ve got lots of flexible work for students this summer and they can mix and match the type they do. We pay quickly and it’s a great opportunity to build their CV with a variety of experience.”

Be good in a crisis

WITH more than a million current vacancies across the UK, A-level leavers are being urged to target short-staffed sectors.

Jennifer Johansson, CEO of recruitment platform Placed App, believes new school leavers can help ease the country’s ongoing staffing crisis.

She says: “With some sectors struggling to attract the right talent, you have an opportunity to make them an offer.

Demonstrate your willingness to learn and you could become a valued under-study for someone who really needs more hands on deck.

Look at areas you might enjoy a career in, that are struggling to recruit.

In such cases, it can be easier to negotiate wages up, particularly once you build experience and reputation.”


‘Climbed the career ladder’

Sophie Hutson started working for Travelodge as a pot washer in 2009 while studying for her A-levels.

After quitting her uni course, she returned to Travelodge as a receptionist.

She has now worked her way up to hotel manager of Windsor Central Travelodge.

Sophie, 29, from Staines, said: “In comparison to my friends who went on to university, I actually climbed the career ladder a lot quicker than them.

"Joining Travelodge opens the door to training, coaching and career progression.”

Travelodge have 500 jobs on offer at

No too late to change

NOT got the results you needed but still want to go to university? Or did you do better than expected? Then find a course through clearing.

David Seaton, assistant director of admissions at the University of Bedfordshire, says: “Clearing has a reputation as a rushed process where you make a big decision in a hurry but it doesn’t need to be.”

Here he explains how best to use clearing . . . 

BE CLEAR ABOUT WHAT YOU WANT FROM UNI: Do you want to be closer to home or live in a city? Is the type of course on offer the most important thing for you

THINK BEFORE YOU SWITCH: You might be tempted to use clearing to switch universities after receiving your A-level results, especially if you got better than you expected. Be cautious and do your research. Would another university really be the best fit for you?

HAVE INFORMATION TO HAND: You will need your UCAS ID, a list of the courses you are interested in and full names of the qualifications.

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ASK QUESTIONS: Once you start speaking to universities the process can happen really quickly. Make sure you understand everything that is being said to you and, if you do not, simply ask.

KEEP CALM AND HAVE AN OPEN MIND: Clearing is a great opportunity to find the course of your dreams and even if you do not get your first choice of course, there will be others that will be right for you. See

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