I'm not one to shy-away from the fact that I hated being in school. Sitting in a classroom and re-writing my teacher's notes wasn't my favourite activity; I'd much rather be out in the "real world" and finding out these facts myself.
That being said, when I left school, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I didn't know what I wanted to eat for tea, never mind make a decision on what subjects I wanted to specialise in to build a career out of. Not a single subject sparked my interest - or at least interest me enough to want to work in that industry for the rest of my life.
So, I did something that scared the hell out of me but was completely worth it... I got an apprenticeship at a creative agency - a (very) far-throw from the typical academic subjects I studied in school. But, guess what? It was probably the best decision I could have made for my career.
In school, I was always nervous to put my ideas forwards. High schools, especially all-girls ones, can spark bullying if you don't "fit in" so I tried my best to keep my ideas to myself. I knew that this method wasn't gonna get me far in working-life, but it worked for the short time I was in education.
As soon as I got my apprenticeship, the real working world taught me that it's okay if people don't like your ideas. As my confidence grew, I became more likely to share my creative ideas with a group of people who all wanted me to develop into a budding creative professional. Getting paid as I worked towards a qualification was just the icing on the cake.
This opportunity to explore my creative side helped to form the career path that I'm on now. As I experimented with different types of media, I learnt that writing was where my heart truly lied (which is kinda funny as English was my least-favourite subject!).
Without this opportunity, I doubt that I'd have ever recognised the career path I truly believe I'm meant to be on. Now, I'm a freelance writer and have learnt the skills I needed to be self-employed through an apprenticeship - and I only finished the course eight months ago!
Being self-employed and getting paid for something I was never confident with at school just proves that traditional mainstream education isn't the only route.
Apprenticeships are becoming more popular and for good reason. Even if you're not in one at the minute, it's definitely worth jumping out of your comfort zone and using an apprenticeship as a stepping stone to recognise your skills and build your own career path.
Often supported through outplacement services if you've been made-redundant or looking for a new job, there's no excuse to not get yourself the career you want with an apprenticeship - even if you're not a recent school leaver!