When you complete your GCSE’s the law says you must continue in education or training till you are aged 18. There is an option to suit you regardless of what you have achieved so far. Staying on at school is one option, however you may decide you would like to change environments and look at a different sixth form or further education college, an apprenticeship or a job with training.
The whole reason you require qualifications is to open up opportunities, qualifications are required for the vast majority of jobs, employers are asking for the minimum of maths and English To gain an entry level position. The main types of qualifications are either academic or vocational you can choose from Alevels, BTECS, Applied vocational CTECS, T-levels. T levels are the newest qualification on the market.
Different levels explained
You are currently studying level 2 qualifications, if you achieve 5 GCSE’s at grades 4 and above you have competed your level 2 and you now have the option to move to level 3(level 3 is the equivalent of A’levels ) If you don’t achieve your GCSEs don’t worry, you still have plenty of options and can study on the level that’s right for you.
What are your options and what are the differences?
As we have said there are a fair few choice as to what to study and where. Things to ask yourself, is would you like to be in a new environment or stay where you are.
School sixth form / Sixth form college
Staying on at your sixth form school may be an option for you, you have been at your school for 5 years and you may like the familiarity of it. The sixth form maybe in a different part of the school and can be more formal than going to college. There could be a specific dress e.g. business dress. You will find there will be more subjects, and some different ones that you may not have studied before. Make sure you do your research and find out about them.
If a school sixth form is not for you, you can look at sixth form colleges that accommodate year 12 and year 13’s only.
An apprenticeship or traineeship
An apprenticeship is a where you earn and learn, you have a full-time job within a specific sector and you also work towards a qualification in that sector. Apprenticeships can take 1 – 4 years to complete.
Traineeships are where you undertake work experience in a specific sector, you can apply for a trainee ship if you are struggling to get onto an apprenticeship, you may just need to learn some extra skills before embarking on an apprenticeship. Traineeships usually take 26 weeks to complete, and you can move into an apprenticeship after.
Employment with accredited training voluntary work with training
You can decide to gain employment, either employed or self-employed or hold voluntary work for a minimum of 20 hours a week, however you must also study towards an accredited nationally recognised qualification at the same time
More information can be found in the further education tab on the website
Calendar To Do list
In the Autumn term (September to December)
- Research all your post 16 options find out what courses interests you, go to open days, look online at schools and colleges websites, check entry requirements.
- Check to see where you make the application, you may apply through a careers platform or on separate applications, speak to your careers adviser about this.
- Create an email address that looks professional enough to share with external companies, colleges and schools. You will need access to this so don’t loose your password.
- Attend post 16 assemblies and tutor time where post 16 options will be discussed
- Check deadlines with your school, this is really important, you may only have this term to complete all your post 16 applications especially for A’Level courses
- Write up a personal statement, you will need this to apply to some places, you will also need a section of this statement for a CV
- Be prepared for a post 16 interview. Your colleges or other schools will want to interview to see if you are suitable for the course you have applied to.
- Have a Plan A and a plan B
In the spring term (January to April)
- Check your emails regularly, you will have had invites for interviews, and you may need to confirm these
- Have you made enough applications? It’s ok to change your mind however you still need a back up plan, the longer you leave it the less choice you have and you may not get a place on that course.
- Are your grades on track? If you are falling behind you need to speak to your teachers sooner rather than later, your school may put on extra catch up lessons.
- If you want to apply to Further Education college you should also be putting in your applications.
- It’s a great time to create a CV especially if you are interested in an apprenticeship, you will see more apprenticeship vacancies start to appear.
- Attend any apprenticeship events, go and network with employers and speak to them about your goals, remember they want you on board too.
Summer term (April – July)
- If you have not made any applications you need to go and speak to your careers adviser, they will help you get something in place before you leave.
- Keep checking your emails and online applications and confirming your choices. If you don’t confirm your choices you may loose your place.
- Now is a great time to do some work experience or voluntary work, speak to a teacher or careers adviser about this.
Checklist action points
What ever path you decide to investigate you don’t have to make all these decisions on your own, Speak to those around you
- Your form tutors, teachers, and mentors know you well and have specific subject knowledge
- Book a careers interview with your career’s adviser, even if you don’t know what you want to do or know where to start, they will give you the tools to make a start
- Speak to your family, they also know you well, older siblings will have gone through this process and can support you with where to look
- Research, use online careers portals and careers platforms, find out how to apply to other places, you can apply to more than one place and decide later where you would like to attend.
- Look at FE websites, go to open evenings, taster sessions give you an insight to that subject. The more information and research you do the more equipped you are in making a great decision