Why I decided to do a school leavers programme, by Ishani Sarkar

Categories Young Professionals
Why I decided to do a school leavers programme, by Ishani Sarkar

I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life

From the first day of school with thick blazers and long, choking ties, I quickly learnt the score of what my school believed the purpose of education was. To squeeze us into tight fitting, traditional roles of top graduates from redbrick universities who jump onto corporate schemes and lead dry lives with a decent amount of money and societal respect. I also quickly learnt I preferred the rebellious route of pursuing your passions and being able to love your job. When wanting to stray from the dusty, old list of reputable degrees my school ‘encouraged’ us to study, their harry-potter-style sorting hat couldn’t quite place me anywhere so I was left to figure it out on my own. I defiantly chose the unheard of route of taking a gap year to try and figure out what my true passions were.

I was constantly being told how ‘saturated’ the graduate market is

For young people, it’s a harsh race to the finish line in order to secure employment. Thousands of students are going to university and qualifying with degrees, so what would make me special when applying for a job? I knew I needed something that makes me stand out from the crowd. Something that meant I could confidently race ahead, Usain Bolt style, and wave to the contenders behind me, knowing I bring unique skills and abilities to the race. A school leavers’ programme allows you to become trained in a workplace environment, to learn and strengthen practical skills, as well developing personally in areas that cross transfer to all parts of your life. I wanted to take part in a school leavers programme to make an employer’s eye catch on my CV when scanning through a pile of a thousand near-identical applicants.

I wanted to make this decision for myself and prove I could successfully complete the year

Having had a lot of education decisions made for me in my school years, I knew I wanted to take my career into my own hands. At 18 years old, juggling a 9 to 5 job with apprenticeship qualification training is not an easy feat, but I wanted to prove to myself that I could do the whole year with complete enthusiasm and passion. It was the first major decision I made for myself, by myself and I felt proud that I was able to break away from what had routinely been dictated to me as the ‘right’ thing to do. Having completed the year now, I had an incredible experience, especially because I surprised myself with what I was capable of.