1. Accounts Assistant
Average starting salary: £19,000
Average final salary: £22,000
Accountancy is one of those industries that you think might be dominated by people with degrees, but you’d be wrong. In fact, you don’t normally need a specific degree to work in a lot of really exciting roles in the sector.
If you’re looking to start a career in accountancy, getting an Accounts Assistant role is a great way to develop the skills and knowledge that you’ll need in more senior roles. To become one, you’ll need to have a GCSE at A* to C level, in Maths and some interest in the industry.
Instead of a degree, you'll normally just need what's known as an AAT qualification.
The AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians), one of the world’s leading professional bodies for those in the accountancy industry, provides internationally-recognised accountancy qualifications that can allow you to work in a variety of roles in the sector. They’re a good option for developing your experience and knowledge.
AAT qualifications are organised by three different difficulties:
- Foundation Certificate: Designed for beginners and those with no experience or knowledge of accountancy
- Advanced Diploma: This is an intermediate role that’s equal to an undergraduate degree
- Professional Diploma: The most advanced qualification that you’ll be able to study, this equivalent to a postgraduate degree
As long as you prove that you can keep a cool head around numbers and that you've got the motivation to build your knowledge, you'll be in with a great chance of securing an Accounts Assistant role!
2. Train Driver
Average starting salary: £24,000
Average final salary: £50,000
You might not think it, but you don’t actually have to have any specific degree to work in one of the most stable and well-paid roles in the transport industry – the train driver.
You might think that driving a train seems like an easy job. You just sit in a box and stop it at stations, right? Well, it’s a bit more complicated than that in reality.
Driving a train is mentally exhausting work that carries a huge responsibility with it. It requires you to maintain a high-state of concentration for hours at a time, whilst working to a strict timetable and looking after the safety of hundreds of people.
But, that said, it can be a pretty satisfying job that actually makes a material difference to people’s lives – if the country got rid of train drivers, it would grind to a halt, after all. It also has excellent pay and conditions, with an excellent salary and great pension, and good continuous development opportunities.
To become a train driver, you’ll normally need to be over 21 years old, to have a good level of eyesight and hearing, and to pass a series of exams testing your attention, your alertness and your colour vision. You’ll also need to be comfortable with working shifts at unsociable hours and have an excellent awareness of health and safety.
Average starting salary: £22,000
Average salary: £29,000
Firefighting is dangerous work, requiring a high level of fitness, good judgment skills and reserves of bravery. If you want to feel that your job makes the world a better place, and that you’re contributing to something meaningful, becoming a firefighter is something to seriously consider.
There are no specific entry requirements to become a firefighter, but most fire services will expect you to have a qualification like a Level 2 Certificate in Fire and Rescue Services in the Community, relevant work or voluntary experience, or knowledge of fire safety. The exact requirements will vary, depending on which local fire service you’re applying to join.
You’ll obviously need excellent fitness levels, the ability to make clear decisions under pressure and a good level of health and safety knowledge.
Recruitment is usually held once every year.
It’s also a relatively secure job – there are always going to be fires and emergencies that will need firefighters to respond to, after all.