Not going to University?
University isn't for everyone and there are lots of brilliant alternatives. Make sure that you choose what is right for you, but make sure that you are informed fully before making any decisions. In order to do that, read this page and act on it sooner rather than later. If you want to know where to find out more information about apprenticeships then scroll down to the bottom of the page for some additional links.
Having spent time in the Sixth Form and having been motivated to develop your learning beyond GCSE, you would clearly interest many employers. However, you need to do a lot of research to ensure that what they are offering is appropriate to your needs both now and in the future.
You might feel you should opt for the first job that comes along. It will offer you money to meet your present needs and may well fit into your present lifestyle without causing too much disruption. However, will it offer you the chance to:
- Gain new experience?
- Develop your skills?
- Gain new qualifications?
- Be able to develop into the type of person a future employer might require?
The aims of this section are:
To get you to think about your employment needs now and in the future.
To inform you about the organisations you could use to help support you in finding the job you really want.
To inform you about the websites you can use to supplement the advice you get elsewhere.
To encourage you to make specific preparations to support your move into employment.
Thinking about your employment needs
Few, if anyone can now expect a job for life. Most will expect to have several different jobs over a lifetime. There will be an expectation that employees will re-train and develop new skills in order to keep pace.
Ideally, you would find an employer who is willing to support your training and development needs. If they are willing to invest money in you, they are also likely to look after you better to protect their investment. You will be adding skills and, hopefully, qualifications to your C. V. However, you may have to ask the right questions in your letter of application and your interview to ensure that they offer these opportunities to you.
At the end of A-levels, you might find that an employer will fund you on a day release basis to take one of the following qualifications:
BA, BSc, and BEng: Bachelors degrees - These courses take three years on a full-time university basis, but would probably take 5 years on a day release basis.
HND, HNC: Higher National Diplomas or Certificates - These courses which are usually more vocationally (job) orientated take 1 to 2 years full-time at university, but would probably take two to four years on a day release basis.
No matter when you leave the Sixth Form you could find many employers willing to combine work and training in one of the following qualifications:
Apprenticeship - which leads to combinations of NVQs, Key Skills and (usually) a technical certificate such as a BTEC or City and Guilds.
NVQs - which train people to ‘best practice’ in a particular job area.
Apprenticeships and NVQs are offered at the following level:
To GCSE Standard
To A Level Standard
Even though you have A Levels you might be expected to start at level two because it is a new area to you, so you will have new terms and facts to learn. However, you should be able to get through it relatively quickly. Because these courses are individualised, so is the speed in which you can get through them.
Sign up to receive information from the government’s apprenticeship website www.gov.uk/apply-apprenticeship and get researching—beat the rush!
You might choose to opt for alternative study in preparation for job applications in the future. Colleges like Central Sussex College offer courses/qualifications like BTECs which are vocationally orientated.
Where can I get advice about my career options?
Spend time doing specific research into your qualification needs and appropriate employers. Speak to your tutor, teachers and the Sixth Form team about your search for an alternative to higher education or sixth form. It may be that there is a problem that can be rectified without having to leave school.
You may feel that you want more impartial advice and support. This could be gained from the following sources:
Connexions: Connexions provides careers advice, including apprenticeships and other information and guidance up to 19 years old (25 if you have special needs). You can contact them on: www.westsussexconnecttosupport.org and search for Crawley.
Work-based Training Providers: These are organisations that help you find work and/or training options but they also offer specific short courses to prepare you for your job application. These short courses, usually include ‘writing a letter of application’, ‘designing your own C. V.’ and ‘how to prepare for an interview’. These courses might boost your confidence and help ensure you get the job you really want.
NotGoingToUni – provides advice and a search engine for jobs and apprenticeships up and down the country
Searching for the right career option
A summary of the key steps to take:
Talk to your tutor, subject teachers and Sixth Form Team
Talk to your parents
Talk to Connexions
Do some web research
Contact work-based training providers, colleges and/or employers.
Aim to get some work experience/shadowing in your preferred vocational area over a school holiday to help you decide if it is really for you. The people you work with will also offer you advice about your options.
Think! The following questions might help you:
1. Where do you want to be in 5 years time? What skills and qualifications will help you to get there? How will you get them?
2. What are your personal strengths?
3. What jobs might make best use of these?
4. What are your personal weaknesses?
5. Could some vocational training help you build on these?
6. Are there some work areas that you would prefer to avoid rather than work on these weaknesses?
7. Do you want money now or are you prepared to take less now while you get training in order to maximise your earning potential later?
8. Have you written a C. V. and asked your tutor for help with it?
Gap Year Option
You might decide to take a year out of education before you go to university. Can you just laze in bed all year? Not if you want do something successfully later! You would be advised to do something productive and, possibly, something that relates to the course/job you want to do in the future; they will ask you about it at any interview.
Locally and nationally there are volunteer organisations you could work for. Alternatively, you could use the time to travel, perhaps to the U.S.A. or Australia, combining this with working on a children’s holiday camp.
Websites for gap year information:
EF Au Pair: www.Aupair-World.net
Volunteering matters: www.volunteeringmatters.org.uk
Gap Activity Projects: www.gap.org.uk
Obviously there is a great deal of thinking and research to do in order to make your next move. If you think we can help you in this process, please do ask.
To help you find your career path you are asked to complete an independent learning plan. This will be revisited throughout the year.