Not all young people want to go to University or College. Thankfully, there are now lots of options to choose from to make sure you get good experience and in some cases qualifications as well, if you decide Uni's not for you. We ran a competition over the last month encouraging anyone doing something positive instead of going to University to tell us what they're up to. We had some fantastic responses! We decided to put the spotlight on a few of them to hear their stories. Who knows, they might inspire you to do something different :)
Our winner.... Lorelle Lambert
"I decided to do an apprenticeship rather than going to Uni as I didn't know what I wanted to do, and I didn't want to choose a subject in Uni I wasn't 100% passionate about. I also wanted to make sure I would find a course suited to me as I struggled with exams in college. I am currently digital apprentice for UK Youth, which requires me to handle the social networking, help develop the website and to do lots of creative design work - at the end of my placement I'll receive a Level 3 in digital and creative media. During my time with UK Youth I spent 3 months in Malawi, Africa. Spreading awareness on HIV/aids. I am also an event host/compere and radio presenter on Reprezent radio 107.3FM every Friday from 7-9pm!" Greg Thompson
"I'm 18 and currently on a year's apprenticeship with Financial Skills Partnership. We are the Sector Skills Council (SSC) for the finance sector. In September 2010 I began my A Levels at Bexhill College; little did I know that just 2 years on I would be working in the City of London - next to J P Morgan, Schroders and opposite Commerzbank. When studying at college, I was fortunate enough to be involved and gain a place on the Career Academy programme. The main part of this programme is to have a 6 week paid internship between your 1stand 2nd year. My internship was at Citigroup in Canary Wharf, I was based in the Corporate Affairs department, working on tasks related to Media and also the re-launch of the payroll giving scheme for Citi employees. Following this fantastic 6 weeks, I applied for the apprenticeships I'm currently doing, and also an apprenticeship as a Production Assistant with Channel 4. However I felt that I wanted to experience a wide range of areas first and build my knowledge rather than going straight in to 'Media'. I've been at the Financial Skills Partnership for just over 3 months now, it's been fast moving, but I can't say that I regret my decision of choosing this apprenticeship." Ellen Louise Patmore
"I'm a 24 year old single mum to my five year old little boy. I did finish 2 years at college doing art and design but decided not to follow with that as didn't feel studying was for me on a long term basis. I really like getting involved with my community and meeting new people and helping to improve things any way I can which is why I'm doing this volunteer project at the moment." Emma Critch - Co-Founder of The MAD Experience
"The MAD Experience began when I was having a catch up with my friend Natalie talking about what I've been doing with my art and what she had been doing with her music. She'd performed at a lot of clubs, but wanted to reach out to the under 18 market. So I suggested speaking to our secondary school, and old head teacher of a different schools to try and book in an assembly performance. I emailed them and our old head teacher they replied the next day saying they had been chatting with her seniors at a loose end, trying to find inspirational people to come in and speak to the students. I spoke to Natalie, and we both really wanted to give something back. Natalie told a few of our friends who also happened to follow a creative path after school, they wanted to help and just like that The MAD Experience was formed. Natalie May Singer/Song Writer, Emma Critch Artist/Actress, Paris Pillay Media/Journalism, Samira Hashi Fashion Model, Winnie Kitone Dancer, Uzy Ikeogu Fashion with Business. We now hold workshops at schools and colleges that inspire and engage students who are perhaps a bit lost and looking for some motivation. Its been really successful so far- we even appeared on BBC Breakfast News the day after the London riots. We've also appeared in MTV News, Harefield Gazette as well as being approached by Company Magazine and Live Magazine. We're so happy with how well its doing, however it challenging trying to run a non-profit organisation whilst still having a full time job. We love it- it keeps us busy and we really get to help unlock the true potential in young people. We're working on how to make it commercially viable so we can do it full time, watch this space!"