If you didn’t do as well as you had hoped in this year’s exams, let me introduce you to my “baby” sister.
Fiona became ill at the age of five and spent the rest of her life having operations, dealing with horrendous pain and being told that she could not do things.
Her education was so disrupted by illness that she left school with no real qualifications.
She managed, through sheer personality, to get a job in an office and would ring our father four or five times a day because she didn’t know how to spell words.
She started life as a stunning little blonde and ended it as a stunning blonde (although latterly with the help of a dye bottle)! She played, all her life, on the “dumb blonde” idea but this was one smart cookie.
I can remember my sister Liz and I trying to figure out what jobs her qualifications could give her. The only thing she appeared qualified for was being a bus conductor but then, could she give change?
This is the kid who told us that a decade was a rotten tooth and the Lady with the Lamp was Wee Willie Winkie.
She had the last laugh, though.
She went from office to hotel trade and ended up being head receptionist in a large hotel.
She worked for Border Television, starting in an office but learning make-up on the way.
She decided she wanted to do something for others and took a make-up course which gave her the skills to help people who had been disfigured by illness or accident.
Her leg was disfigured by illness and surgery but all it made her want to do was help others.
In the end, she and her friend June opened a mobile beauty business, Fiona and June, catering for bridal parties in Gretna.
This girl without qualifications became an extremely successful business woman.
Fiona died two years ago but it seems nobody sent her the memo telling her that, in life, she was limited in what she could achieve.
The reason I am introducing you to my sister is because she is proof that people can succeed, even if they don’t have the qualifications they feel they need.
I got a press release last week from future-mag listing the top 10 jobs that do not need a degree – and some are surprising.
You can now become a lawyer without going to university. You will need good A-levels for this and there are some tough exams but you learn on the job.
That is going back to the way things used to be done before you had to have a degree to cross the street!
Become a lab technician. With any relevant science degree you could obtain an apprenticeship in the nuclear industry, medical science or even forensics.
Professional services include auditing, consultancy, financial officer and more.
If you are a computer whizz, there is a huge demand for people in the cyber security industry.
Royal Navy, 2D design, youth worker, nuclear manager, public relations – there are so many opportunities out there.
There’s a modern word: upskilling.
As there are more people applying for fewer jobs, employers started looking at paper qualifications to judge who was “best”. This led to a situation where people were expected to have ridiculous qualifications for jobs that certainly did not need them.
Sometimes on-the-job training is better than anything we can be taught in a classroom, whether at school or university.
This future-mag survey seems to indicate that people are starting to re-recognise the benefits of employing someone who will work hard and is willing to learn on the job rather than relying solely on a university degree.