Having recently read another article on the state of the higher education system, and a piece on how A-levels fail to prepare students for the working world interested me in particular. In previous blogs, I have explored the idea of the rising importance of work experience and the decreasing emphasis on certain qualifications i.e. degrees. As a finance and accountancy specialist, Sellick Partnership are aware that CCAB qualifications will always be vital to our clients and candidates, but we are experiencing a shift in the emphasis placed on having a degree. In the current market, clients are increasingly favouring candidates with experience rather than a paper qualification.
Going back to my initial point about A-Levels as a platform to the working world, I am inclined to agree that they do little to prepare students for the working world. As a bridge between further and higher education, A-levels work well in giving a flavour of the standards of work that will be expected at university. However, they do nothing to prepare students to move into paid work. Obviously to a degree the onus to gain this experience lies with the students themselves; this can be gained by completing part-time work and work experience placements. As a past A-level and degree student, the work experience I gained was organised myself, but given that the landscape is changing I firmly believe that more should be done to provide those students leaving education after their A-levels to assist them in their next step.
There are many alternatives available to A-levels these days, so it's important to be aware that there are other routes to follow which will offer a greater insight into the working world. BTECs, NVQs, diplomas and apprenticeships all provide a vocational element to learning and may better equip young people with the tools they need to gain employment. Being aware and keeping your options open to A-level alternatives is key, but for those who prefer to stick with the more 'traditional' further education path also need to make themselves more employable by adding experience to their CV. This can be done in many ways whilst studying and will strengthen your CV, making it more attractive to employers, including part-time, vacation and voluntary work. Gaining exposure to a work environment that is relevant to the sector that you are looking to pursue can speak volumes, and will definitely boost your CV at that ever important first stage.