From education to employment

From university leaver to industry leader

headshot of girl from university

24 year old Gurkiran Kaur Rai shares her story

New research reveals that four in five students have considered leaving university at some point during their studies (78%), with 5% making the decision to do so. 

In line with International Women’s Day, 24 year old Gurkiran Rai was one of the 5%, and here she shares her story – why she left further education, and how she found career success in a sector that 90% of Brits have never considered before – logistics. This story showcases a strong-minded female following her intuition leading her to her currently very successful career.

In a recent study carried out by the team at industry awareness campaign, Generation Logistics, findings reveal the top three factors influencing the decision to leave university include “struggling for motivation” (43%), followed closely by the “heavy workload” (38%). A lack of financial resources is also a significant concern for those considering further education after school, with almost a third of those surveyed highlighting this as a concern.

24 year old Gurkiran Rai is one of the 5% who made the decision to leave university. Originally studying Teaching, Gurkiran quickly discovered that it was not the path for her. During her time at university, she  found herself questioning her academic path as the lack of engaging content within her course left her dissatisfied and unsure about her direction. 

After much deliberation, Gurkiran made the difficult decision to leave university and carve out her own career outside of education.

Reflecting on her decision, she says: 

“I felt that I was a more hands-on learner and I needed my brain to be working harder, which I wasn’t getting from the course.” Gurkiran is not alone in this, as almost one-third (31%) of students contemplate leaving university due to “not enjoying their course”.

As far as alternative routes are concerned, Gurkiran comments: “When I attended High School and Sixth Form, the option to do something like an apprenticeship wasn’t really discussed as it wasn’t a route that most people went down. I didn’t want to leave school with no plans for my future, so I followed a path that I felt was right to give me future prospects and do something I wanted to do, which was teaching.”

During her time at university, Gurkiran took up a part-time job with DHL and found herself becoming increasingly interested in logistics. “I started doing projects within the transport team, which made me realise how much I enjoyed the industry and wanted to build a career within it,” she explained. “When the job came up in the Linehaul department, I applied straight away.”

Reflecting on her career journey so far, Gurkiran highlights the invaluable skills she has gained through her role in logistics:

“I have already learned so much – people management skills gained through leading the drivers on a daily basis, social skills, being able to network with a range of people in different ways and a variety of professional qualifications.” 

When asked for her advice to anyone considering leaving university, Gurkiran says:

“Think carefully about your options and talk to people who have or haven’t been. Write down the pros and cons. Follow your heart and the route that you feel is best for you.”

Bethany Windsor, Programme Director at Generation Logistics, commented:

“In today’s rapidly evolving world, it’s vital that we all navigate our own unique paths towards success. Gurkiran’s decision to pursue logistics as a career and the successes she has achieved already highlight that not all careers follow a traditional route, and that university isn’t the only path that leads to success.

“Gurkiran now oversees critical operations and ensures the seamless flow of goods across complex supply chains. Her journey from university leaver to industry leader serves as a testament to the power of resilience, and the limitless potential of those willing to chart their own course.”

For those wanting to find out more about the opportunities available, take this quiz to see which role in logistics could fit with your future:

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