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Degree or Not to Be?

Written by Kimberley Startup | August 17, 2011 | 0 Comments

Do you need a degree?How many times were you told to make sure you worked hard in school so you could go to university and get a good job?

Traditionally, a degree from one of the top universities would boost your earning potential. But lately, with university fees soaring up to £9k per year and a degree going hand-in-hand with debt, many have debated whether it is really necessary. Particularly in today’s economic climate, many have found a degree no longer even guarantees a good career.

On the flipside, those deciding to skip university altogether and join the workforce can be reassured that many successful entrepreneurs didn’t need higher education to become multi-millionaires.

Research was recently released to celebrate WorldSkills London 2011 revealing the riches accrued by Britons with vocational education. The City & Guilds Vocational Rich List found wealth among those who have built their fortunes following an apprenticeship or other practical qualifications, proving you don’t need to be born rich to become rich.

Richard Branson, Simon Cowell and webrecruit chairman, James Caan, are but a few of the UK’s richest people who didn’t attend university. Many household names didn’t need a degree to hit the big time, such as inventor Sir James Dyson and hair product entrepreneur John Frieda.

Other high fliers such as Jamie Oliver, Gary Rhodes and Rick Stein all started their careers having completed a vocational catering qualification. Now worth millions, these individuals have made their way in the business world on their own merits. And so could you.

If you’re daunted by the prospect of the massive cost of going to university – think twice about your career options. is a site dedicated to those who are thinking about not going to university. Contrary to what the masses may say, the site encourages those who are not afraid to think differently, demonstrating that uni isn’t the only path to success. From apprenticeships to debt-free learning, they offer literally thousands of opportunities.

Why not do an intensive course specific to your chosen field? Pop into your local careers centre – they should have a list of courses in your area and advice on the best choice for you. If you have a great business idea but don’t know how to get started, why not get in touch with the Prince’s Trust of Livewire to get advice.

Alternatively, you could start at the bottom and work your way up. Take a job as an office junior or runner within the industry you want. Work hard, network as often as possible and show that you have what it takes to move up the ladder. If you’re a bright spark, there’s no reason why you can’t make it to the top.

Who needs a degree? Is one necessary to become successful? Share your thoughts with us.

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