There was a time when you could go through school, stay out of trouble, get to the th or 5th year and after a consultation with the careers teacher, come out with some idea of what you would really like to do as a career option. This was in the years before it was standard for everybody to go to university whether it suited them or not. There must have been loads of friends in my year who would have benefitted from the 3 years away at uni. Some of them were very bright and probably would have made great teachers, financiers, politicians even. However, my school was not the sort that naturally attracted the bighter few, they would have passed their 11 plus exam and be on their way anyway.
The beauty today is the option for folk to do a degree or do vocational courses or apprenticeships. Career agencies can help so much with that initial choice of which way to turn.