Easter - a glorious two weeks off and the quiet before the storm of exams and coursework hand-ins. While the pressure is on to get this work finished and get your revision timetables drawn up, this time off should also be a period of relaxation and reflection on what you might want to do after this period of exams and hand-ins is over. Obviously it is such a massive decision to make and not a decision that should be rushed, the pressures of making a decision too early could end up being a mistake. What's worse is that you can easily let the time when you should be thinking about your future be overrun by exams, coursework and all the rest of it. Let me get this straight, you should be concentrating on your exams and coursework. Your future options are a lot more open when you've got the grades to get where you want. But there are so many options open for young people now so you don't necessarily have to join the factory line to university. So take the opportunity this Easter, take the opportunity to have a big think about what it is you really want for the next few years and the career ahead of you. University is a great option for school and college leavers yes, but it is no longer the only option. Here's a breakdown what else is out there for you to have a think about during your time off.

Apprenticeships

Much is made of apprenticeships currently. They have seen unprecedented growth in recent years and now school and college leavers can enter a range of careers in this field whereas before there was just opportunities in thinks like construction, health and social care or mechanics. Now, would-be apprentices can enter careers in Accountancy, Marketing, Media and much more! What does this mean for school and college leavers? Well, the obvious answer is that a University degree is not essential for some careers where it might have been in the past. And with that it also means no debt. Sometimes referred to as School Leaver programmes, Apprenticeships can allow school and college leavers to learn as they work and get a head start on a career. Other benefits include getting first-hand experience in the field.

Jobs

It has become far too cliché to list off people who have still become successful and didn't go to university, the Alan Sugar-Richard Branson approach to telling students to consider other options. But there is something in starting in employment without continuing education to a higher level. More often than not, after a three-year head start in employment, school and college leavers are way ahead of university graduates when they land their first job, in terms of both earning power and career progression. One positive development more broadly is that leaving to start work instead of progressing to higher education no longer bears that stigma that it might have done fifteen years ago. This is because the options are there for prestigious careers and prosperous futures. While you are enjoying your Easter holidays, you should take your time to see what's out there and consider other options. You might not change your mind, but it is always beneficial to know what's out there. So take a look at what's available for school leavers and college leavers and get some applications sent out.