Progressing From An Education Setting, Into A Work Environment

Sept. 27, 2021, 10:30 a.m.
Leaving the education system can be a challenging transition for you as a young person, especially if you’ve had little experience in the real working world. Changing up your daily routine, and switching to a new environment can bring a variety of challenges that you may have to overcome. In this blog post, our team have highlighted 5 areas of adaptation, that will make you aware of what may be to come when entering the working world after being settled in the education system.

Adapting to new groups of people

Firstly, let’s think about the people you were surrounded by whilst in education, in comparison to those who may be beside you in the working environment. Whilst at School, or within higher education settings, you’ll often be learning alongside a group of people who have a variety of similarities to yourself. This could include being from the same area, having shared friendship groups, sharing similar interests or hobbies and also being within a similar age group.

In comparison, the working environment can bring together a mixed variety of people who are from different backgrounds, age groups, levels of experience and different areas of interest or skill. For some people, this can be the hardest transition to adjust to. Whilst at work, you’ll be expected to respect everybody for who they are, and have the ability to as a team with different types of people to all achieve a similar goal.

This can also include learning to take instruction and direction from a variety of people, all at different levels. Whilst within the education environment, you’ll be familiar with having one or two leaders who are often the teacher or leadership team. You would’ve been very familiar with these individuals, and would know their authority from the get go. This means when adjusting to the working world, you may have to become familiar with respecting direction from anyone at any level and from any background.

Developing your professionalism

Next, let’s think about the different levels of professionalism that are expected within education and the working world. Whilst you’re at school, the level of professionalism that is expected is pretty low, you’re expected to make mistakes, learn about yourself and have fun within your social circles. In comparison, whilst at work you’re expected to hold a high level of professionalism, and this is often something that is judged before you’re accepted for the job.

Being professional is something that can be developed from learning along the way. It consists of maintaining a level of behaviour that represents yourself and the business you’re working for in a positive way at all times. Being professional also includes the way you interact with other members of the team, and the manner in which you deal with problems or challenges whilst in the working environment.

Understanding Self Responsibility

When starting a new job after leaving education, you’ll most likely be on your own with no one who is familiar. This can often be a daunting experience for some people, after being around a safety net of friends, family and peers for so long. Whilst at work, you’re expected to take responsibility for all of your actions, as well as anything that may be regarded as your responsibility that is happening within the business. This could include the duties that are listed in line with your job role, or the manner in which you’ve dealt with an external stakeholder.

It’s important that you become aware of the consequences that may arise from not taking responsibility for your own actions whilst at work, where in comparison, the education system can be a lot more lenient and understanding because you’re often working towards your own goals, and not a collective goal with other people.

Learning and progressing in a different way

Most education settings are led by classroom based learning, where you’re expected to listen and interact in a teacher, students classroom environment. Regardless of whether you prefer this or not, this can be different to how you’ll be learning new things whilst at work.

The majority of companies will require you to learn and develop new skills through experience, in an on-the-job training style. This means you’ll have the opportunity to get stuck in, learn from others and gain valuable experience whilst completing the role that is expected from you.

This can sometimes be hard to adapt to if you find it a challenge to multi-task in a pressured environment, however it’s important to remember that making mistakes is normal for new starters, and your co-workers are always there to help or answer any questions you have.

Transitioning into the working environment is a big step for any young person, so it’s important to realise that having worries is normal, and seeking support is a natural reaction.

If you wish to speak to a member of a careers team for 1 to 1 advice and guidance with entering the world of work, Visit: