land and wave logo colour

4 Great Alternatives to University

4 great alternatives to university, tailored to the great outdoors

University can be great. It gives a lot of people their first experience of living away from home and exposure to independence.

However, for some people spending another 3 to 4 years in education sounds like the worst thing possible.

Did you know that a study done in 2014 showed that only half of UK graduates were working in a field that related to their degree.

In addition, 96% said they had switched careers by the time they reached the age of 24.

Now, we’re not saying university isn’t worth, we’re just saying there are alternatives for people who don’t want to go or are unsure about what they want to do next.

Here are 4 great alternatives to university, tailored to the great outdoors.

Adventurous couple climbing over rocks wearing outdoor clothing by Bleubird
  1. Outdoor Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are a great alternative to university if you’re looking for a more vocational way of learning.

You get to develop your skills whilst working and they will directly benefit your outdoor career.

Land & Wave’s Outdoor Apprenticeship provides candidates with the opportunity to gain 9 National Governing Body Qualifications over 13 months of training.

Land & Wave also knows the biggest struggle of an apprenticeship is living on an apprenticeship wage (£5.28/hour).

That’s why we’ve committed to paying much MORE than the National Apprenticeship Wage.
You’ll receive £7 per hour, with a guaranteed 30 hours a week. If you work more than an average of 40 hours a week in a month, you will topped up with National Living Wage.

Pros of Apprenticeships

  • You get practical experience
  • You get paid
  • You finish without debt
  • You can get certified

Disadvantages of Apprenticeships

  • You may not get to experience university life
  • You get more responsibilities early on
  • Low Wages
  • Commitment
Gap Year vs University

2. Gap Year vs University

For some people, spending 16 years in education is enough. For others, they haven’t worked out where they want to take there carer yet.

That’s pretty normal, not every 18 year old has a 5 year plan, let alone know what they want to do for the rest of their lives.

So a gap year can be the perfect option. It gives you time to explore the world, earn money and think about your future career plans.

A gap year doesn’t have to be going to Thailand and ‘finding yourself’. It could be exploring the UK, finding a job which just pays the bills and lets you go on some adventures and experience life without the normal 9-5 of school life.

Pros of a Gap Year

  • travel and experience other cultures.
  • earn money to support yourself in future study
  • improve your CV by doing work experience
  • get skills you cannot learn in a classroom
  • become more mature, focussed and motivated
  • it can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience

Disadvantages of a Gap year

  • You risk losing your academic momentum
  • It can be very expensive
  • Feel Behind Your Peers
  • Requires Planning
Outdoor Instructor Training 2023 / 2024

3. Outdoor Instructor Training / Fast Track Courses

Sometimes the idea of spending another 3 years in education is enough to put people off university. You might have a career you’re interested in but you’re unsure if you need to go to university.

First things first, hope on indeed or other job search websites and see what employers of the career you’re interested in actually need. If it says a you need a degree then that’s the route you need to take.

But for the Outdoor Industry and other industries, actually have National Governing Body (NGB) qualifications is more valuable.

NGB’s are required for you to deliver outdoor activities, without them, their isn’t much you can do.

This means Outdoor Instructor Training courses like Land & Wave’s 15 Week course which gives you 23 Qualifications sets you up perfectly for employment.

This means you can go from no qualifications to fully qualified and ready to start your outdoor career that summer.

Pros of Fast Track courses:

  • Get qualified quick
  • Direct employment options
  • Train with like minded people
  • You get to do something you love
  • Perfect for a career change

Cons of Fast Track courses:

  • Upfront cost
  • Unpaid
  • Intensive
Beach Lifeguard resting on board

4. Direct Employment

Sometimes long term or fast track training aren’t required for the role or industry you wish to work in.

Finding an industry that interests you and then moving your way up the ladder with experience and courses provided by your company is a great option.

It gives you time to find your feet, try different areas of the business and really get to know how the role works.

Direct employment doesn’t work for all industries but it can be a wonderful way gain experience and progress in a more natural way.

Pros of Direct Employment

  • Start earning straight away
  • Experience different areas of a business
  • Build your way up with experience
  • Professional training opportunities
  • Fixed working patterns
  • Paid time off

Cons of Direct Employment

  • Can take longer to progress
  • Might not start off in your dream role
  • Trial periods
  • Difficult to balance your personal life
  • Tendency to become stagnant

The most important thing to do is weight up all your options and do your due diligence.

Research shows that there are loads of benefits of loving your job:

  • Increased Productivity
  • Better Mental Health
  • Less Stress
  • Motivation
  • Health
  • Feeling Fulfilled
  • Advancement Opportuities
  • It gives you energy

Here at Land & Wave we truly believe work in the outdoors is the best job in the world. Getting to spend everyday outside, jumping in the sea, exploring woodlands, climbing sea cliffs or hiking hills, nothing comes close.

Our Outdoor Instructor Training course has been running for over 10 years and we’ve had over 220 course graduates.

Don’t believe how great working in the outdoors is? Why not join us for one of our completely free Open Days?

It’s the perfect way to see what it is like to work in the outdoors and ask any questions which you have about the industry.

You can find out more info about our Open Days here:

Share this article

Duke of edenburgh
Outdoor learning logo
Wildlife safe operator logo

Copyright © – Land and Wave – 2022