The business sector is full of opportunity. Whether you’re aiming to start your own company, or work in business finance, marketing or sales, there are plenty of avenues you can take. The nice thing about working in the business sector is that you often develop transferable skills which mean that you can work in different roles throughout your career – a sure-fire way to keep yourself challenged and interested.
But how can you get started in this area of work? Is it best to complete a degree, or will an apprenticeship give you the same opportunities? Let’s take a look.
Perhaps the most traditional route for anyone wanting to enter the world of business is to complete further study in the form of a university degree. These courses are designed to give you a crash course in lots of different areas, and are a great starting place if you have minimal business knowledge or experience.
You can also often combine degrees – for example, taking a course in accounting and business – which allows you to fit as much study as you can into your university years. If you have an idea of the area that you want to specialise in after you graduate, this can be an excellent choice.
If academic study doesn’t suit your learning style, or perhaps you want to earn whilst you learn, then a business apprenticeship might be the right fit for you. You’ll be employed by a company at an apprenticeship level (and earning a relevant wage), whilst studying in your evenings and weekends.
This can be a hard route to take because of the demand on your time, but the on-the-job experience you’ll gain will be invaluable. Plus, you’ll come out the other side of your study programme without any debt, and your company may keep you on as a full-time employee.
Work experience is vital for anyone; whether or not you decide to study, or go straight into trying to launch your idea. It can help you get a feel for the challenges you may face, help you get to know your customer base, and teach you valuable soft skills like communication and conflict management.
Work placements may be paid or unpaid, for a few days or a few weeks. Make sure you understand what you’re agreeing to before you start, and know your legal rights for these types of placement.
Even when you’re fully qualified, it doesn’t mean that you know everything. A mentor or coach can help you understand the goals you want to set for yourself, as well as helping you through difficult times. As someone in the industry already, they will be an invaluable source of support and guidance, so don’t make the mistake of thinking you have to go it alone.
One of the best things about a career in business is that you have plenty of freedom to decide your own future, due to the number of available jobs out there. Before you commit to a course of study or apprenticeship, make sure you’ve done your research. This way, you can match your skills and interests with a business career path that suits you.