Formal education isn’t the ‘be all’ of pursuing a career
Hotcourses Editor

Formal education isn’t the ‘be all’ of pursuing a career

Westminster Adult Education Service explains how you can still find your way into a job you enjoy without a degree

First published date March 26 2019 Amended date March 26 2019

It is common to think that being university educated will get you off to the best start in most careers, as a degree is thought to be the most recognisable qualification by employers. This can be true for specific jobs, but what if there were other ways to pursue your ideal career?

Other direct routes into employment include part-time courses, apprenticeships and traineeships. The most popular of these are care, hospitality, construction, design and accounting, according to jobs site CV-Library.

Level 2 or 3 qualifications, which are nationally recognised as GCSE and A Level qualifications respectively, could gain you quick access into these specific industries.

Here are some of the top areas you could get a career in.


If you have a natural flare for numbers and an active interest in the world of finance, accounting may be the industry for you.

Junior accounting roles offer quick progression, professional training and qualifications and this can be achieved by obtaining a Level 2 AAT qualification. This qualification can be completed in as little as six months to a year with starting salaries ranging from £20,500 to £23,000.

There’s always a need for accountants even in an economic downturn and according to CV-Library, accounting managers are among some of the best managers to work for.


If you have a creative side, there are many ways to express it within the design industry, with people often taking part-time courses alongside their jobs to follow their passions.

With a 28% increase in jobs being seen between 2011 and 2017 by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, there is ample opportunity within the creative sector. There is also the advantage of flexible working, often giving employees the opportunity to work from home, which fulfils that work-life balance we all crave.

Jobs in design include graphic designers, photographers, interior designers, multimedia artists, animators and fashion designers, and many more.


The hospitality industry is quite broad, with careers ranging from hotels, bars and restaurants to casinos and cruise ships. This industry is very much focussed on customer satisfaction and, if you enjoy working with people, this could an industry for you.

According to a report on Economic Contribution of the UK Hospitality Industry, October 2018, hospitality accounts for 20% of overall employment in the UK, growing by 15% since 2009, and ranks fourth out of 20 industries in terms of the total number of jobs generated. Jobs in hospitality include waitress/waiter, bar staff, chefs and host/hostesses and many more.

Many jobs are entry level, but hospitality is an area where you can climb the ladder to a managerial role quite easily.


If you’re a friendly, patient and compassionate person, care is an industry you may enjoy working in, offering fulfilling and rewarding careers. According to jobsite, some of the top jobs within care are care assistants, counsellors and youth workers and there are many other opportunities.

It’s projected that 3.2 million new healthcare related jobs will be created over the next eight years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and there are many other opportunities.


The construction industry can be a very lucrative one to embark on with the highest projections for new employment opportunities. Positions vary from unskilled labourer to helper jobs that require extensive training, education and skills, which can be achieved with a traineeship.

The average London construction job starting salary ranges from approximately £20,000.

Jobs include bricklaying, stonemasonry, carpentry, electrical work and plumbing. 

With traineeships and apprenticeships offering real-world experience and guaranteed interviews, why not skip the university route and walk the alternative path instead? It's more than possible to make your passion your vocation through a selection of short courses. Many colleges and adult education centres offer these alternative qualifications that can hold just as much weight and are widely accepted. You can check out what Westminster Adult Education Service offers here.

So take the pressure off and see what other courses are available.


For more information about WAES, check out their website. 



Hotcourses Editor

Hotcourses Editor is the mysterious, faceless force made up of all our different contributors over the years. From masters in their field to top notch journos, take a peek at some of the talent we’ve had the pleasure of working with.