The Government expects all young people to continue with education or training until 18. During Year 11 you will have an important choice to make about your future:
Go to 6th Form at Goffs Academy
Go to a different school 6th Form
Go to College
Start an Apprenticeship
Start employment and continue to learn alongside work
As part of our close partnership with Hertfordshire Youth Connexions we have an Independent Careers Advisor who is in school to support and offer advice to students in every year group. In Year 11 the advisor will meet individually with all Year 11 students to discuss their post 16 plans and choices and offer further guidance and support if needed.
Sixth Form or College?
At 16 or 17 years, young people who are not opting for the Apprenticeship route will need to choose between Sixth Form and Further Education College. Here are some important differences to consider:
Is a smaller environment compared to a large college
Support from teachers is easily accessible
Less likelihood of falling behind set academic deadlines through very close academic monitoring
Choice of academic A Levels and work related BTEC Level 3 courses; as well as the opportunity to take GCSEs in English and Maths
Further Education College
A large environment, which some may find impersonal
Will require a degree of maturity and self-discipline
Students not likely to have teachers “watching over them” and may be at risk of falling behind and missing deadlines
However, with the right level of maturity and self-discipline, students can thrive if they are on the right course
Can be fun, with the opportunity to meet new people and make friends
Extensive range of vocational courses such as NVQ, City & Guilds and BTEC, at levels 1,2 and 3; as well as a small range of GCSEs, including English and Maths.
What are the key things to consider when making your choice?
Have you chosen the right course? Are you strong in the subjects you have chosen? If you are, and you enjoy these subjects, you are increasing your chances of obtaining a high grade;
Do you have any career ambitions? Have you researched requirements? Are there different routes you can take to gain entry to your chosen career? For example, if you want to take a Degree in Accounting and Finance, you can do this via the A Level route or you can take a BTEC Extended Diploma in Business. Similarly, both routes can lead to careers and higher education in other fields such as Engineering, ICT etc;
What is your learning style? The A Level route may not suit students who don’t like the idea of exams at the end of two years of study determining the grade they achieve. BTECs and other vocational courses include a very large element of course work based assessments. However, it should be noted that BTEC content is now just as demanding as A Level content - it is absolutely not an "easy option"
What if you are keen to stay in the Sixth Form but one of your main subjects is not offered at Goffs? There are ways around this as the school has good arrangements with other school in the area where it may be possible for you to take your preferred subject. This will need discussing with Goffs staff
Taking an Apprenticeship is a realistic option for 16-19 year olds who wish to embark upon a career without going into full time further or higher education. It is designed for young people who want to learn on the job, earn a salary AND achieve further/higher qualifications.
Apprenticeships have changed radically over the past decade and attract support and funding from many sources, including government, employers and education/training providers. There has been a steady growth in opportunities over the past 7 years.
The days of finding Apprenticeships in just a handful of occupations (engineering, building etc) are long gone. Today young people can look for an Apprenticeship in diverse areas such as Agriculture, Retail, Media, Leisure, Travel, Business, Finance, Health, ICT and many more. Nationally, there are over 1200 different job roles.
All types of employers take on Apprentices, small, medium and large firms such as Ford, Shell, BT, NHS etc. Many further education colleges, such as North Herts College, and large training providers also offer Apprenticeships. The average wage for Apprentices is £170 per week.
So what are the opportunities like?
It is competitive to get into Apprenticeships but there are opportunities in Greater London and the South East. Some occupational areas have more opportunities than others, such as Business Administration, Retail, Health and Social Care. But young people will also find opportunities in Engineering, ICT, Construction, Media and others.
Young people age 17/18 and older are more likely to be taken on but it is not impossible to find opportunities at 16, however back-up options (6th Form, College courses) should always be prepared.
How long does it take?
Apprenticeships can take between 1-3 years to complete, and some of them can lead to permanent employment. Entry qualifications can vary, most providers will look for good GCSEs (usually including English and Maths) for an Intermediate Apprenticeship and A Levels or equivalent for an Advanced Apprenticeship.
https://www.gov.uk/apprenticeships-guide for more details and live vacancies
http://www.apprenticeships.nhc.ac.uk/ for local opportunities
There are many benefits to taking a course in higher education, whether it is a BA/BSc (Hons) or a Higher National Diploma (HND). Here are some advantages of higher education:
Higher earning potential, surveys show that graduates earn significantly more than non-graduates during their working life;
A higher education is necessary for your chosen career;
Many jobs now demand graduate level entry;
Opportunity to study a subject you are passionate about;
Ability to gain transferrable skills at a high level.
There are literally thousands of courses on offer at UK Universities. Many courses are “vocational” i.e designed for entry into specific careers, for example Architecture, Law, Medicine, Surveying, Primary School Education, Nursing, Engineering and many more. Young people taking A Levels who know what career they wish to follow will choose this type of course.
However many young people do not have a specific career idea at 17 or 18. So why consider higher education? In today’s graduate job market, approximately 60-70% of graduate entry jobs do not require a specific Degree course. So, if you take a Degree in a subject you love and achieve a very good result, you are likely to be very competitive in the job market.
Applications for the vast majority of Degree courses is through UCAS. Applications have to be submitted by January of the year of entry; however, students need to have the application ready, including the personal statement, by November/December of the preceding year. It is absolutely critical to research courses well in advance, i.e. beginning in Year 12. And remember, to gain entry to competitive courses it is often not enough to just achieve good grades. It is also critical to demonstrate in your personal statement things such as voluntary work, positions of responsibility you have held, examples of team work and initiative and other important achievements gained through extra-curricular activities.
Useful links for research:
National Careers Service
Not Going to Uni