Students up and down the country will be enduring the emotional highs and lows of results day this week, but no matter what the outcome there is hope.
Close to 500,000 students will be receiving their results up and down the country and nerves will be running high.
I turned my back on University to set up in business and with the help of support agencies in my hometown of Sheffield I have never looked back. My career has taken me from the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil and even to give talks on my success in the UAE. They call it 'hustling' and that means hard work - I put in every hour available to me in order to make my dreams happen. At first those dreams were small, to set up a website, to get my first client on board. It's about taking small, manageable steps first to reach the ultimate end goal.
A Levels for me were way too prescriptive and I went on to set up digital agency "UnITe Computing". Don't get me wrong, the critical thinking skills I learned were very useful but my creative and enterprising genes were being crippled. There were no opportunities in formal education to forge my own path or to do something out of the ordinary. I wanted to try and break the rules and create a fulfilling career for myself which I couldn't find in a textbook. Whilst studying at the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy I gained practical experience, vocational skills and much more than any other traditional courses would have given me. I was set up with my career from college and went on to represent Bono's ONE Campaign and supported Virgin in inspiring entrepreneurship. I've even worked with big companies such as Google UK.
Why should young people even be considering university as a viable option? What the government has been continuing to do devastates the prospects of young people who will find the financials of a traditional academic career both crushing and unmanageable. I wouldn't have been able to survive with the abolition of grants and know that many others wouldn't either. I would have been graduating this year and the thought of having almost £50,000 worth of debt around my neck is crucifying. What 18-year-old would start their career with that as a prospect? Granted, it's paid back gradually after you start earning a decent wage but how easy really is it to secure that dream job after graduating?
Recent statistics would suggest it is harder than ever to gain progressive graduate employment, in fact some of my friends I know are still working fast food shifts and settling for minimum wage. Compare that to a £50-an-hour independent consultant with their own agency. The latest figures from UCAS don't seem to suggest a decline in the number of applications either - why?
Young people have been priced out of University and in the long term the economy could well suffer as we have lesser skilled workers and less English people then taking our country's jobs. However, there is another option to take. For example I went to UnisNotForMe.com and got career advice which helped me to get to where I am today.
The removal of grants is another kick in the teeth to hardworking students and I think the government has stupidly just annoyed thousands of potential high flyers again. Where will this ever lead our economy? Young people - it's time to make a more informed, intelligent decision about your futures.
I only ever had two careers advice sessions throughout college and school. Almost fifteen years' worth of education and I only had two hours of careers advice! The best advice I got was from my college tutor who simply said - do something which makes you happy and that you're confident with. After hours and hours reading through the University prospectuses and driving myself insane over what I was going to do, I worked on this simple principle and had faith in creating my own career.
I always knew that academia was one of my strong points but wasn't really sure what to do with my skills and qualifications - for me, University seemed like a lot of debt and a lot of time to spend unsure about my career so I dipped my feet into enterprise and went into business which has led me to a variety of projects and assignments. It's certainly not for the faint-hearted but you can carve out a vocational career through apprenticeships, placement opportunities and by getting out there and making a name for yourself with employers.
In the 21st Century connected world, if you put your mind to it you can definitely achieve it. Get a mentor, approach employers, take part in training opportunities and good luck!
The 21st Century world needs a 21st century workforce. Go out there and create it!