What Are My Options After GCSEs?

As your child reaches the end of their time at school, they will need to think about next steps. There is a world of opportunities out there and unlike their time in education so far, they will have complete freedom of choice. They can continue with their studies, go into the world of work, or do a mix of the two. In this post we shall explore these options so that you can help your child make the choice that’s right for them.

Here’s guidance from some of the best sixth forms in North London.

Work Experience

Work experience is highly sought after by employers. It demonstrates competence and skill which can be hard to develop by learning just theory. Apprenticeships and T levels do a good job of training young people for the world of work, and it combines the two. They are able to train in roles which they’re interested in whilst earning recognised qualifications.

T Levels and Apprenticeships

T Levels and Apprenticeships are essentially the same thing, except that T levels require fewer working hours and are therefore unpaid. The split between work and study is 20:80, where students are expected to spend 80% of their time studying. With an apprenticeship on the other hand, your child will be expected to spend only 20% of their time studying and the remaining 20% working. It’s worth noting the pay rate for an apprentice is marginally less than what they would earn as a 16–17-year-old. As of April 2022, the minimum wage for an apprentice is £4.81.

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If your child is unsure as to what they want to do, we recommend that they get some work experience whilst in their final years. It will help them determine their strengths, weaknesses and what it is that they enjoy. It’s also a safe option for them to continue with their studies as it will leave their doors open and invite new opportunities. They will have the option to complete either A Levels or BTECs.

A Levels and BTECs

A Levels are exam-based qualifications, and they are the equivalent of a level 3 BTEC. If your child doesn’t enjoy exams and prefers something a little more practical, they may be better suited to a BTEC. It also depends on what they want to do after college. If that involves going on to university, they will need to look into course requirements as not all universities accept BTECs. The good news is that more universities, including a few that are a part of the Russell group, see the value of practical work and consider applicants holding BTEC qualifications.

Coming to a Decision

There are dozens of courses to choose from which can make the application process difficult. To help your child narrow down their choices, encourage them to think about longer term goals and where they want to be once, they finish college or university. You can use this information to see what they will need to get into the field they’re interested in. Sources like the UCAS website, and career tools like prospects may offer some insight. What you can also do is attend open days to speak to the subject lecturers themselves about what the courses entail and prospects following. There may even be taster sessions on offer to give an indication of what they can expect.

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Combining the Two

If they choose to do a BTEC, depending on the study hours required and the type of BTEC it is, they may be able to study A Levels in conjunction.

We hope that this post was informative and wish your child the best of luck with their GCSEs.

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