Is a University education still worthwhile?

The news that 25% of the latest Forbes list of the wealthiest self-made billionaires dropped out of university or high school has been prompting a hot debate on one of the technology blogs. Should you spend your money (and their future debt) on sending your kids to university or would it be better to spend it on something that they really want to do?

Tricky debate of course - not many 18 year olds know what they want to do and with some 40% of youngsters now going to University, it can be a brave decision not to, given the expectations of employers. Ben Fogle added to the mix in the media by suggesting that what saved him as a youngster was going to a school where the emphasis was not on academic achievement but on growing him as a person and building his confidence to do something different. That enabled him to resist being sent down an academic track and to become the success he is today.

I don’t have the answer to the “kids to uni or not” question but it did set me thinking about the parallels in later working life. Many of us fall into careers by accident or circumstance; one of my favourite retirement speeches was from a colleague who said she had joined the Civil Service until she could decide what she really wanted to do. Forty years later she realised what that was – to retire! But let’s face it, many of us are not in our dream jobs or as years go by we develop aspirations to do something different.

How to get started on that is tough. As individuals we are often the least well placed person to identify what is really driving us and what are the steps we could take to get us moving in a new direction. It is easy to be shaped by our current workplace and to lose sight of your own qualities and talents; and like the 18 year olds we often don’t have a really clear vision of exactly what we want to do next.

Ben Fogle is pretty much on the money when he says it is about personal confidence; having the confidence to understand our strengths and to look beyond the day to day to what might be possible. Coaching is a great way to build that confidence and to unlock your personal challenges. So feel free to get in touch with us at Mightify – we won’t make you live rough in the wilderness or swim with crocodiles but we will give you the time and space to help find that positive outcome for you.


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