'I did apprenticeship after my A-levels – not uni'
'Best decision I made,' says mortgage advisor, 24
Lauren Jessett, 24, started at FirstXtra Financial Services in Newbury as an apprentice after she completed her A-levels.
Her job was administrative assistant but she was quickly promoted and in 2015 she started her mortgage exams. Within six months was a qualified mortgage advisor.
She said: “When I was 17 I felt immense pressure to apply for university from my school.
"During my last year of A-levels I decided to explore the alternative options and my friend recommended going through West Berkshire Training Consortium on Cheap Street to see about an apprenticeship in finance.
“I thought apprenticeships were only available and aimed towards industries like plumbers, electricians etc. It was the best decision I made.”
The full-time mortgage advisor said she would love schools to do more work on showing people that university is not the only option.
She said: “I never thought I would be this successful without university and I have no debt.
"The apprenticeship has enabled me to buy a house, which I probably wouldn’t have done if I went to university, doing a degree with no relevance to my employment.”