What’s next after graduation?

4 Mins read

It is that time of year where many final year students are nearing the end of their degree.

Many start to panic, as the thought of being in the big world with no idea of what’s next strikes them. If that’s you, don’t worry, you are not alone.

Of course the majority of graduates aim to find a nine to five job in their chosen career path, within six months of graduating. If they do, they are lucky.

However, there is so much more after graduating than just a full-time job. Some graduates chose to take a gap year abroad or decide to apply for a postgraduate course.

Recent research by found that some 24 per cent of graduate jobseekers have been looking for work for more than 12 months.

In recent years more students have decided to take a gap year straight after graduating, giving them more employment opportunities.

In January 2012, the UK’s National Student Newspaper, the Student Times, released research which estimates that 2.5 million young people living in the UK planned a gap year in 2012, with numbers due to increase.

The advantages of taking a year abroad allow many graduates to gain experiences and skills needed in the job sector.

Nevertheless, a gap year does come with a cost that may put many students off. On average a gap year could cost around £3,000-£4,000.

Volunteering bursaries may cover the cost. These can be offered by global volunteering charities such as Lattitude.

There are many other organisations that offer paid work abroad. TEFL is an organisation that provides English teaching courses which opens up a world of employment and travel opportunities for graduates.

Artefact spoke to Lewis Watson, a sales executive at TEFL, about his thoughts on teaching abroad.

He said: “I think employees recognise the importance of a gap year, which many graduates do take after university. They have an element of international work which can be very beneficial and good for previous employment.

“With a TEFL training course, we teach people how to teach English abroad. The course cost is around £89-£419, however, after successfully finish the course, many will receive a teaching position abroad.”

If the cost of a gap year puts you off, maybe consider finding a job in your field. Going straight from university to a full-time job can be very daunting, especially with fierce competition.

Studies from the Higher Education Statistics Agency for the academic year, 2013-2014, show that after six months of graduation 67% of first degree graduates were employed.

With unemployment rates in the UK at 5.1 percent there couldn’t be a better time to get your foot in the door.

However, in today’s, day and age, it’s not just about having a degree, it’s who you know.

Many graduates go through the process of sending off their CV from left to right with no hope. The key is to gain as much contacts and try to find different ways of job hunting.

 Over four-fifths of the UK’s leading graduate employers are offering paid work experience programmes for students and recent graduates during the 2014-2015 academic year – an unprecedented 13,049 paid work placements are available.

Studies from High Fliers Research shows the number of work experience places available to students and recent graduates in 2015 have jumped by more than 40% since 2010, double the rate that graduate vacancies have risen over the same period.

If all the options above are just not for you, maybe just carry on studying until you figure it out.

Many graduates have been put off from studying a postgraduate degree as student loans were not provided for this degree.

However, that has now changed. The Government has backed loans, worth £10,000 for postgraduate students, which will be available from 2016-2017 and will benefit 40,000 students.

The proposal is expected to encourage more graduates from taking their studies further. The new loan scheme is one reason why you should maybe consider staying on to study a postgraduate degree.

So, those are some of the options which students decide to take once they have graduated.

Artefact also took some time to speak to final year students around London on what they plan to do next once they graduate.

Nino Valdano, advertising student at London College of Communication

“I have applied for a graduate scheme in advertising 6 months before my graduation. I will probably, complete my graduate scheme, go into employment in advertising after completing the graduate scheme. Work for 2/3 years, then a masters.”

David Sonan, occupational therapy student at Brunel University

“I’m going to work, preferably with the NHS to earn some money and gain experience. Then go back into Uni to do a masters most probably in Medicine or a science based degree.”

Annie Baker, journalism student at the University for the Creative Arts

“I’m originally from Cambridge, so essentially I plan to find a full-time job in London probably not in my career path just so I can get settled down and have enough money to pay for London rate rent.

“During this period, I will probably be taken on internships to gain more experience and build a better CV. Hopefully, within a year or two I would of found a good job. After that, I plan to do a postgraduate degree in PR and Marketing.”

Darryl Saw, sport science student at Roehamton University

“I see myself taking a gap year just to do the things I love. For, example, taking my football seriously and do that full-time.

“I also love training the kids from my community, so, I will be doing that too. Lastly, I have applied to work as an assistant, nurse which will help me save up if I am planning to do a masters in the future.”

Feature image credit: Luftphilia via Flickr