BY HANNAH LEDDEN
9am, Tuesday morning. Laura Norton, 20, is settling into her desk, ready to go through the 40 emails that have come through overnight. For someone of her age, she has firmly got her foot on the career ladder.
Since the age of 17, Laura, from Cambridgeshire, has always had a strong work ethic. Every Saturday and Sunday for three years was spent working in her local pub as well as juggling A-Levels.
She is a prime example of the alternative routes available to young people, deterred by rising tuition fees, who choose to steer clear of the university path. “Going to uni is a big commitment, for three years of your life. I had no idea what I wanted to do and I also felt I needed to be certain to make that commitment,” she says.
After finishing her A-Levels, a two-year apprenticeship at the Cambridge University Press, studying Business Administration was the perfect choice. This led to a full-time position in which Laura, the eldest of two sisters, has already been promoted. Not going to university certainly hasn’t affected Laura’s chances of excelling in the future.
“I definitely looked into the option of university but I couldn’t decide what courses would suit me and 3 years is a long commitment,” she says. “When I realised the other options open to me, I decided against it.”
Although it’s becoming a more popular choice to go straight into the world of work, university application numbers are down 6% in the UK for this year, Laura is one of the only ones out of her friends who aren’t currently finishing dissertations and deadlines.
College friend Emma Ginn, 21, from Ely chose the opposite route to Laura. “I was the one who didn’t want to go to uni to start with. I wanted to do what Laura has done and go into an apprenticeship and start working,” she says. ‘It just so happened I found the perfect course for me and I’m graduating this year with a degree in Criminology from Anglia Ruskin.”
No matter what business or organisation you work for, being part of a team and being acknowledged for hard work is a welcomed notion. Despite being one of the youngest in the team, Laura has certainly made her mark – organising numerous charity events. “Part of my job includes organising events to get everyone involved and thanking them all for their hard work.”
Hitting the ground running in a prestigious company like Laura has offers multiple opportunities for the future. Any stereotypes about university being the only option for a fruitful future are squashed when looking at a career girl like Laura.
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