Scotland has begun to lead with way with many students receiving their exam results and the rest of the UK will follow suit by the end of August. Anxiously biting their nails, students and pupils may think they can just about see their future unfolding before them like a yellow brick road. If only it were that simple.
In a show of solidarity to those who think their future success is hinged on the results they have, or shortly will receive, and the choices they make in the immediate aftermath, the more worldly-wise are letting them know this is not necessarily so. A wave of social media support has begun in the form of the hashtag #NoWrongPath. People from around around the country are sharing their own less than linear paths to success. They show twists, turns, back steps and full circles that aren’t so obvious when all you can see is the end result.
With fewer learners seeing the benefits of the financial outlay associated with university compared to “the road less travelled” - apprenticeships, technical study or getting a job and hoping to engaged in CPD during their career, it’s important we make an example of alternative success stories.
Financial burden is often cited as the main reason learners are turning away from university and looking for alternatives. However, in 2016, a survey from NotGoingToUni, highlighted that “41 per cent [of students polled] said they’d rather acquire more hands-on experience”. This serves to highlight that university may not be providing that tangible experience that is required when entering the world of work.
With the government’s renewed commitment to technical education, the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy, which is hinged on standards written for employers, by employers, we are edging closer to their being no wrong path, or at least a scenario where there isn’t a path considered superior to the others.
To show that there is #NoWrongPath to success, our own David Grailey describes his journey from butchery apprentice to CEO of NCFE.
1983: Left school 5 O levels and 5 CSEs worked as Butchery Apprentice
1986: finished day release at Derby College of HE and FE in Meat Technology and Science
1987: continued higher education at Blackpool and Fylde graduating in Meat, Health and Public Hygiene Quals and then Lecturer
1992: Graduated with MSc in Marketing and Product Management from Cranfield University
2000: Joined Food and Drink Qualifications as CEO
2000: Bestowed the Freedom of the City of London and became liveryman of 1 of London’s oldest Livery Companies – Worshipful Company of Butchers
2006: Became a father – most rewarding and challenging achievement!
2007: Joined NCFE as CEO (£7m income and £10.5k profit)
2017: Leading NCFE, now a group of companies (2016: £26.1m income and £3.3m profit)