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Not Going To Uni

not going to uni

Are you planning on not going to uni when you finish your studies at school or college?

Going to uni isn’t for everyone and if you are planning on not going to uni, what are your options?

Obviously, if you are 18 then one option is to go straight into full time work. However, if you do still want to develop your knowledge and skills a bit further after you have completed your NVQ, BTEC or International Baccalaureate or A-levels then there are several options available.

Higher national certificates (HNC)

These vocational qualifications normally take a year to complete, if you are studying full time and can prepare you for work.

What can I do an HNC in?

As with NVQs and BTECs you can do an HNC in many different areas, if you are planning on studying locally then the best thing to do is to look at the website (s) of local colleges and see what they offer. As an example though all of the following study areas are available through these qualifications:

An HNC is a qualification and the level just below an HND (higher national diploma) and often when you study them you will have the opportunity to step up to the HND when you complete. Often you can step up again after this if you want to and study for a foundation degree, topping up your qualification as you go. This kind of study suits some people, especially when they lack confidence as they can study in stages and develop confidence in their ability as they go.

Higher national diplomas

Again, HNDs are vocational qualifications. Studying for an HND takes two years, studying full time normally. You can study part time for both HNCs and HNDs, which will take you longer to complete, but allows for the option of working part time as well as studying.


Apprenticeships are a combination of study and work. If you choose to do an apprenticeship then you will need to find an apprenticeship, apply for this apprenticeship and then the likelihood is that you will work four days a week and study for one day. Study can be done with a training provider that your employer is partnered with or, if the company has the resources they might provide the training themselves.

As an apprentice you will be paid. The minimum wage for an apprentice at the time of publishing (May 2017) is £3.50 per hour. You are entitled to this rate of pay if you are:

  • aged under 19
  • aged 19 or over and in the first year of your apprenticeship


If you are 19 or over and in the first year of your apprenticeship you are entitled to a minimum hourly rate of £3.50

If you are aged 19 or over and have completed the first year of your apprenticeship, you are entitled to a minimum hourly rate of £7.05

You can find and apply for an apprenticeship is a few different ways. You can search the government website to find an available apprenticeship.

  • You can do directly to an employer’s website and apply for an apprenticeship
  • You can look for an apprenticeship through your local college of FE, university or training provider.

What if I want to work but also get some training / gain a useful qualification?

For some people, this is a great idea – they want to get out there and work but they also want to make sure that they have the right kind of qualifications to put on their CV (The ones that employers ask for). It’s a good idea to start by looking at jobs that are being advertised in the field that you think you might want to work in. Perhaps you know that you want to work in finance, accounting, HR etc.

If you look at job advertisements, you will see whether employers are regularly asking for something. For example, AAT or Prince 2 qualifications.  One option is to get yourself a job (it might not be THE job that you are ultimately aiming for) and sign up for training that will allow you to get the relevant qualification(s) – that way, when you have completed it, you will be confident that you can apply for the job that you want and that you will have the training and work-related qualifications that employers are asking for.

So, there you have it – if you are not going to uni when you finish your studies at school or college there are plenty of other options available to you.



About Lynette Daly

Lynette is the publishing editor of Moving On magazine. Moving On is devoted to helping young people make good choices for their future – education, qualifications and careers. Moving On really wants to motivate you! Our articles cover a range of topics to inspire and give ideas. Our magazines are delivered free to all schools, colleges and sixth forms in England and is also available online.

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