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Old 22nd Aug 2010, 22:15   #1
coughs
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Can you be successful without GCSE'S

I was wondering what you guys/girls think about this as its an interesting topic.

Can you be successful without GCSE'S and get a good paying job?

Whats your opinions and thoughts?
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Old 22nd Aug 2010, 22:17   #2
LOAM
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Depends what you mean by without? As in not taken any or failed them all (grade u)
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Old 22nd Aug 2010, 22:17   #3
Stringy
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Gut feeling is that it's possible but very difficult. That said it's never too late to study for such exams and get the qualifications outside of school.
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Old 22nd Aug 2010, 22:18   #4
Ricochet J
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I posted this in another thread. It still applies:

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Originally Posted by Ricochet J View Post
I've met a lot of people, mainly in the engineering industry who are very successful and didn't have an A Level to their name.

I know this guy, in his late 20s who really wanted to do an engineering degree. When he did his A Levels he didn't get the results required to progress to university and obtain an engineering degree. Exams and stuff aren't his strongest attribute. He knew this at the time. So instead of sitting around at a desk and revising again for resits he spent his time applying to apprenticeships to literally hundreds of companies.

He got a good response and offers from different companies. He chose to go with Rolls Royce and works in the Derby plant in manufacturing, and research & development.

Fast forward 10 years to now: he now project manages an engineering project relating to the Trent 900 engine and has a team of engineering graduates under his wing. He's on quite a handsome pay packet too conisdering his age. He always says one of his main gripes is graduates with all those qualifications fresh out of uni can't do the simplist of things - basic fundamental engineering stuff. To him, having a grade next to someone's name is a bit crap.


The point is, A Level exams aren't the end of the world.
You can still have a good paying job without GCSEs but you must have a good plan and stick at it. Alan Sugar doesn't have any GCSEs and started his empire when he was very young.
However, from what I have seen, nowadays people without GCSEs lack the imagination to take them to a decent career path.

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Old 22nd Aug 2010, 22:18   #5
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Of course you can be successful without GCSEs, IMO it just makes it a bit harder - you'll probably need to look at setting your own business up at some point.
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Old 22nd Aug 2010, 22:18   #6
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Sure you can. Apprenticeships (to my knowledge) don't require any qualifications and electricians/plumbers etc can do very well for themselves.

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Old 22nd Aug 2010, 22:19   #7
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Definitely. Just something I recently found out about: One of Tesco's management schemes is being trialed at the moment in some stores and is aimed at 16-18 year olds with 0 education qualifications. Upon completion of this, you get a nationally recognised qualification, in retail I guess.

You can then move up and up and do the schemes that get you a degree, from which you can become management, or even higher up! (Store directors or head office managers!)

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Old 22nd Aug 2010, 22:20   #8
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If you start your own business.
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Old 22nd Aug 2010, 22:20   #9
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Yes.
The old fashioned way of starting at the bottom and working your way up still exists, though nowhere near as prevalent as before. Nowadays qualifications make it MUCH easier. though it's not impossible without them
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Old 22nd Aug 2010, 22:21   #10
coughs
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Well I mean to todays standards so without getting 10 A's or going uni..

Do you think other routes like college courses, apprenticeships can still get a good job and earn decent amount of money?
Last edited by coughs; 22nd Aug 2010 at 22:23.
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Old 22nd Aug 2010, 22:23   #11
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It'll be really hard. Most jobs require maths and English at a minimum, and if you're walking in there with just those two against people with as "few" as six, then you're going to struggle.

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Old 22nd Aug 2010, 22:25   #12
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All you need to be successful in life is determination, application, hard work, a good positive attitude and a little luck.

You do not need qualifications for those things.
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Old 22nd Aug 2010, 22:28   #13
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I failed all my GCSE's due to me being careless with the drink, same with college. I now have a first class degree and a job in a very competitive industry. Not only is it possible, it is certain with determination and motivation to succeed.

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Old 22nd Aug 2010, 22:29   #14
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Well, looking at it from another angle:

The really good paying jobs are things like lawyers, bankers, doctors (eventually!). At the other end you have jobs like cleaning.

The former require a lot of knowledge, and most likely a university degree. The latter doesn't. To get a university degree you need A levels. Without GCSE's you'll struggle to get A levels
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Old 22nd Aug 2010, 22:29   #15
Ricochet J
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bAz^uk View Post
I failed all my GCSE's due to me being careless with the drink, same with college. I now have a first class degree and a job in a very competitive industry. Not only is it possible, it is certain with determination and motivation to succeed.

What do you do?

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Old 22nd Aug 2010, 22:31   #16
coughs
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I just don't know what to do as I'm bad with English and Maths, I'm not really academic..

And I want my future to be based on something to do with computers but I don't know how to get there!

I was stupid in secondary school and just didn't care about life nor my grades.
Last edited by coughs; 22nd Aug 2010 at 22:33.
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Old 22nd Aug 2010, 22:34   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coughs View Post
I just don't know what to do as I'm bad with English and Maths, I'm not really academic..

And I want my future to be based on something to do with computers but I don't know how to get there!

I was stupid in secondary school and just didn't care about life nor my grades.
There's lots of IT qualifications you can do! What part of IT interests you?
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Old 22nd Aug 2010, 22:35   #18
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Yes you can, but not getting any because "you can be successful without them yo" is a bad idea.


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Old 22nd Aug 2010, 22:39   #19
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I failed all mine as well then got maths on a resit, that was 20 years ago. It was a combination of having a job waiting for me when I left school and having a to active social life at the time.

I ended up doing a btec first access course, then an ONC then a HNC, I've been a qualified Architectural Technician for going on 17 years now and I have also nearly completed my RIBA Part 1 OBC with Oxford Brookes then it's onto my part 2. If it all goes to plan I will be a qualified Architect not long after I'm 40. I could have done this course 10 years ago but despite the RIBA running it they failed to mention it to me on several occasions when speaking to them for education advice.

I would say it's possible yes.
Last edited by LOAM; 22nd Aug 2010 at 22:41.
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Old 22nd Aug 2010, 22:43   #20
coughs
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well I don't know what qualifications I have to be honest as I left school with none but I currently got a place in a level 3 IT course in a college.

What can I do once I finish a level 3 IT course?
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Old 22nd Aug 2010, 22:45   #21
franco_22
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If you're older then 21 try applying to a less known university. IT courses are in my opinion a waste of time.
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Old 22nd Aug 2010, 22:46   #22
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I think it is harder to get a foot in the door with larger companies if you do not have any qualifications, obviously a lot of people manage to get started in smaller companies and work their way up from there (and I know a few of these people).

What it does seem to do is make it harder to get employed if they lose their jobs - We have a family friend who worked in a large London law firm (don't remember what he was did but he worked there for years and started at the bottom) and he earned at least 80k per year (back in 2000). He got made redundant when the company experienced problems and because he didn't have a single qualification to his name he couldn't get a job earning anything like what he was previously on (eventually he had to take a job in sales earning 20k a year). Obviously all his bills were based on a much higher salary and he had a mental breakdown.

My GFs dad trades commodities and it seems like a large number of people in that industry had very few qualifications and just started making coffee in the offices at 16. He earns an absolute packet so it is clear you can still be very successful if you are willing to work hard.

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Old 22nd Aug 2010, 22:52   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ricochet J View Post
What do you do?
Artist for a major game studio. Worked on games such as motorstorm and lego harry potter. Failing the first time round gave me alot of motivation to do what I truly wanted to do. Especially packing boxes in a warehouse, that gave me a kick up the ass.

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Old 22nd Aug 2010, 23:07   #24
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It depends really, if hypothetically you're still 16-18 it's probably worth taking some kind of qualification at a FE college as you've still got potentially up to four years of free education left, and without GCSEs there's a good chance they'll push you to take some.

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Old 22nd Aug 2010, 23:09   #25
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I don't have any GCSE's and I've only occasionally been out of work for the odd few months out of the last 34 years. Experience counts

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Old 22nd Aug 2010, 23:17   #26
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Yes you can, but as people have said before it's getting more and more difficult - you need to make up for your lack of qualifications with passion, drive, determination and above all competence in the job your doing.

More and more companies have specific apprenticeship and graduate schemes which require GCSEs, A-Levels, degree etc just to get on to them. It's basically a numbers game, getting qualifications like GCSEs and A-Levels it should make it easier to get better paid jobs all things being equal.

Do you like doing stuff with your hands? Trying going into industry, skilled workers tend to command decent salaries. I worked at an oil refinery on placement and you could become and apprentice at 16. If you passed and became a fully fledged operator you could be earning 60k in 5-10 years.


Don't wish it was easier, wish you were better.
Last edited by alx; 22nd Aug 2010 at 23:19.
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Old 22nd Aug 2010, 23:21   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ko0lHaNDLuKe View Post
Sure you can. Apprenticeships (to my knowledge) don't require any qualifications and electricians/plumbers etc can do very well for themselves.
You need good grades to be an electrician/plumber.. it's alot harder than when I did my NVQ3 in IT.

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Old 22nd Aug 2010, 23:22   #28
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Successful means different things to different people.

My mum has no GCSE's and she's on a 40k salary now. She classes herself as successful.

Set some goals try and reach them, then you're successful.
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Old 22nd Aug 2010, 23:25   #29
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Look for IT or computer related apprenticeships. You may not get get the grades but another thing employers love is work experience!


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Old 23rd Aug 2010, 00:12   #30
HangTime
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Qualifications (or lack thereof) are not an impenetrable barrier to success.

To start a traditional 'career' it usually helps to be 'educated to GCSE standard' however.
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