Shelf stackers are invested in more than financial service workers

A recent debate by the BRC discussed how getting onto the retail career ladder could prove a better option than studying traditionally.

The debate ‘‘Universities Challenged: is the world of work now the best option post-16?’’ defied the views held by the majority of school-leavers; that going to university gives them the best chance of securing a job they enjoy with good career prospects.

There is still a level of snobbery over work based qualifications but with retailers investing  an average of £1,275 into each of its employees yearly , compared to financial services’ £800,  for career progression (and no student debt) a shelf stacking position could actually be a great step onto a good career ladder. In addition to this the scope of skills available in retail is huge. Skills such as buying, marketing and human resources can be transferred into a variety of other sectors.

The rise in tuition fees will only encourage more school leavers to consider such paths. Taking the initiative to challenge the degree dominated attitude of many school-leavers, by working their way up from assistant positions, could pay off for motivated young individuals.

Many degree students are still interested in entering retail through graduate schemes; a student on The Student Room comments on building up their experience by working during their holidays:

‘No I worked at M&S over xmas last year and would like more experience there, I know they have a grad scheme, but I dont think they offer it at the store I was in, to me money isnt important.’

But, in my opinion, many fear straying from the ‘safety’ of a degree, but this feeling of security is unfounded, particularly in the job climate of today where experience is becoming more and more important.

Unfortunately there is a lack of awareness among students about the alternatives of going to university as we have found from our careers research and an increasing number of conversations in our apprenticeship forums.