GET Ahead – Be a Young Professional!

Young adults can study professional qualifications from 14 years - Most career entry level jobs are trainee posts & not apprenticeships - A mix of qualifications at school will significantly increase first employment success.

Young adults – Did you know?

  • Young adults can study adult professional qualifications from the age of 14.
  • Most career entry level jobs are trainee posts and not apprenticeships.
  • A mix of qualifications at school will significantly increase first employment success.



Wake up education. It’s time for change. Throw away those out-dated reasons like ‘well that’s how it’s always been done’.  ‘Always’ is not a reason, it’s an excuse.

In industry, government grants are available for those willing to innovate and make real change. All companies evolve constantly, if they didn’t they would deservedly fail.

Why then is state education allowed to be different?  Surely, as educators of future leaders, they should lead in learning innovation, but they don’t. Even more concerning is their lack of change is never questioned, instead it’s endorsed  by continued government funding.  In contrast, private sector education which dominates the adult education market, is at the forefront of modern course delivery. It has an untenable lead over public sector in learning innovation, learning flexibility and learning resource development.

Maybe that the divide has grown is a signal it is time for government education funding to go to the learner and not the public sector institutions. Make these institutions earn their income in a competitive market.  Make them accountable for modernisation or risk failure.  Give the learners a genuine choice.

“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change” – Albert Einstein.

Unfortunately, the students who miss out are the young people approaching their final years at school.  They are still being given out-dated career advice on which to base life-changing career decisions. They are still not given full advice on all opportunities in the public and private sector, they are given options around the public sector i.e. college, university and/or apprenticeship. This same old cycle hasn’t changed in 40 years.

Industry wants future employees to have the appropriate professional education, but this seems to be lost on the government, which dictates the content of school education. It is also lost on the government that giving young people full study choices is key to the future economic growth of the country. These young people are not choosing a holiday, they are choosing their careers.

“There are two primary choices in life: To accept conditions as they are or accept the responsibility for changing them” -Dr Dennis Waitley.

The ‘primary choices in life’ was a founding mantra of Gold Edge Training. From day one, it broke down boundaries that blocked the achievement of better education choices and it continues that path today.



Two years ago, a parent contacted Gold Edge Training asking if they would allow his 14-year old son to enrol on to the AAT Foundation programme. There was no hesitation, only concern that the awarding body had age limits.  They didn’t, and later that day, Michael enrolled.

Michael was the reason two days later that Gold Edge Training launched their special and unique AAT Young Professional programme.

From the outset, Michael took to the study and within no time, passed his first exam. He has since passed the full Foundation and is ready to begin the Advanced level 3 alongside his GCSE’s.

Once launched, the Young Professional programme grew rapidly and continued its success. Each year we double the student intake.  Its popularity isn’t surprising as it recognises and grows the maturity within these learners and allows them to begin their life career journey. One 16-years old, who enrolled shortly after Michael, is now 18 and sitting her first Professional level 4 exam having already successfully passed the 10 exams of Foundation level 2 and Advanced level 3 combined.

The business understanding demonstrated by these young professional has been outstanding.   What is most rewarding is that they love the AAT study. They say it’s interesting because its relatable to life and has purpose. They feel they are not just sitting exams but are building their futures. Surely this feeling of purpose is the right of all young learners.

The Young Professionals programme does not replace traditional education, it compliments it.  Gold Edge  recommend students mix professional studies with GCS’s and A levels.

The Young Professional programme does not require schools to employ expensive accountancy teachers or to create resources. Everything is supplied within the programme. It will cost no more to deliver than standard lessons. The programme is as successful with home-schooled pupils. Likewise, parents can enrol their children directly and outside of main curriculum.  The only requirement of a school or home-schooled environment etc. is to give the student study space, a computer and some support from a parent or teaching assistant. We will deliver and supply everything else.

Young Professionals is an example of what modern technology and a willingness to change can achieve. If students have the maturity, ability and understanding to study GCSEs and A levels, they have the qualities necessary to successfully study professional education.

Most importantly, their professional studies give them that head start.  To achieve the level 2 only whilst at school, sixth form or university, puts a Young Professional one year ahead of their peers who follow the traditional route.  If they achieve level 3, they’ll gain two years and level 4 they’ll gain three years.  These gains are advantages for a lifetime

“ Times and conditions change so rapidly that we must keep our aim constantly focused on the future” -Walt Disney.

Young Professionals is not a race to the finish, it is a head start to their futures. It allows young adults aged 14 upwards to finish compulsory education with a level and type of qualification that is in high demand by employers. Employers vote with their actions – they give a strong message through ‘who’ and ‘why’ when recruiting.  The ‘who’ is the person with the right skills for the job.  The ‘why’ is because that person studied the professional qualifications wanted and needed.

Gaining career entry level employment for school leavers shouldn’t be harder or different at any age, as long as they are allowed to study the same and the right professional qualifications.

Good habits formed at youth make all the difference” -Aristotle


This is 2021. Never have there been more possibilities to step up and say “I can, I want to and I will”.

Surely, young people should be able to trust their journey through education and trust that a title such as career advisor means the person is qualified to give career advice. You would think so, but never assume.

Recently, this writer heard of a colleague’s daughter’s career advice experience. It consisted of the daughter’s predicted grades being fed into a computer programme.  The only career option generated was to work in health and social care. The daughter was devasted. Fortunately,  the colleague convinced the daughter that she had choices. The daughter is now in her second year at university studying law and is thriving.

Career advisors should be trained specialists. Why is this role not taken seriously?  A little knowledge is a dangerous thing that can ruin career opportunities.

This writer had a similar experience with a career advisor 40 years earlier. When asked what she wanted to be, she said a maths and PE teacher. The adviser, her PE teacher, laughed and said “think again, you’ve left it too late to turn academic now”.

This writer admits she had no interest in schooling, homework or exams. She saw each as irritants that got in the way of her passion, sport.

For 30 years this writer believed the career advice was deserved. She was never told she was bright or had possibilities at school, but she was told she’d be a ‘waster’ going from one dead end job to another.  She was only allowed to sit CSE’s as she was not considered bright enough for O levels.

Ten years ago, her school report surfaced in a clear out. Amazingly, it wasn’t the report of a waster, it was the report of a bright young person. For someone, who never did homework or revision, the results were good.  There were 34 students in the class.  She was top in maths, French and history every year.  Other than geography at 15th position and hated with a venom, all other results were top 10. Her career ambition wasn’t unrealistic, it was spot on.

Two examples 40 years apart and the career advice for both was shameful.

Young people of today be aware. Don’t allow others to measure your intelligence. Believe in yourself and trust your own instincts. Find what you are good at and what you want to become. Follow and always believe in those dreams. The ‘want to’ will unleash your true intelligence and drive you to succeed.

This writer did.  Twenty-five years after the career advice and following a career in her own companies, she became that teacher.  It wasn’t maths it was accountancy, and I3 years after she started teaching, she now owns a very successful UK top 10 college. Not bad for a predicted waster!

“Shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars” – Les Brown


There is nothing more infuriating than seeing how apprenticeships are implied to be the best and main employment for young people. All this does is, encourage young people, to chase a few jobs. This is demoralising for all of those not successful.

Apprenticeships are great, but no better or more advantageous than other trainee positions. In fact, there are disadvantages to apprenticeships that a trainee post does not have. Don’t be led by the hype, make your own choices. There are tens of  thousands more trainee posts than there are apprenticeships.

There are far more companies offering trainee posts, open to all ages because they are more cost-effective. A trainee post is far more likely to be a permanent position because the employers’ aim is to train a future fully qualified employee.

If paid minimum wage, the starting salary of a trainee is slightly higher than that of an apprentice. By the age of 18, it is significantly higher.  A trainee post will still come with sponsored education plus there will be a free choice of where and how to study.

An apprenticeship is often short-term, level 2 and possibly level 3.  Fewer apprenticeships go beyond this to level 4, but some do.  Salaries often remain low throughout the apprenticeship.

The Government speaks a lot about incentives for employers to take on apprentices, but the whole picture is not so straightforward. There are very good incentives to take on a level 2 apprentice but beyond that employers significantly contribute to the full cost of training.  This is the reason why many companies only take level 2 apprentices.

To any young adult reading this, keep your options open and don’t be afraid to stand up for what you want, it’s your career. Begin your professional education as young as possible. You can take your time – a level 2 alone will give you a massive head start and put you at the forefront to get an entry level trainee position.

The best thing you can deliver to a future employer is a demonstration of your determination to achieve a specific career. Studying the relevant professional qualification whilst at school is the perfect demonstration. Earn the respect you deserve.

Key Contacts

Christine Baxter

CEO of Gold Edge Training

02394 00 3559

Related Info