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Career guidance and resources for young people, parents and carers

Supporting young people looking for future education or employment options.

If you are a young person (or parent/carer) who is looking at future education or employment options then you are in the right place! You probably know that you're expected to stay in some form of education or training until you're 18, but it doesn't have to be at school. 

We support the work of Careers Leaders in schools and colleges and are here to help sort your A-Levels from your T-Levels, or decide between apprenticeships, the world of work or uni. 

And don’t worry if you have no idea what to do next - you are not alone! 

Use this page to: 

  • Work out where your favourite subjects could take you 
  • Find out about schools or colleges in your local area  
  • Discover what apprenticeships or jobs are on offer that suit your personality and strengths 

What are my options?


GCSEs

GCSEs are general qualifications you will do usually in Y10 and Y11 but some schools start in Y9. You choose your GCSE subjects in Year 9 (Y8 in some schools) and then study these subjects until Year 11. GCSEs are assessed by exams taken at the end of the two-year course. English, Maths and Science are compulsory but you choose the other subjects to suit your interests and skills. It’s important to get help and advice when choosing your subjects. 

More information can be found through the following links: 

Choosing your GCSE’s
Dorset Council Website
BCP Council Website
My Career Choices
Youth Employment UK


AFTER YEAR 11 / POST 16 OPTIONS

A good place to start planning your post-16 options is to think of these three questions, 'Where am I now?', 'Where do I want to be?' and 'How will I get there?'. At 16, many young people don't necessarily know the answers to these questions, but now is the time to start exploring information about careers, jobs and courses. 

If you are not sure about what you want to do in the future then you should choose a broad range of subjects and you can decide later. It is good to get advice from people who know you well, like parents and teachers, or ask your school careers adviser. 

More information can be found through the following links: 

National Careers Service Advice Post 16
Choices at 16
6th Form Schools and Colleges
Colleges
Dorset Council Website
BCP Website
T-Levels
Youth Employment UK


APPRENTICESHIPS AND WORK

If you have already decided on a job, industry or career or are trying to decide, then an apprenticeship can be a great choice, as you will learn about a job area through both work and study. You get paid a small salary, and importantly, there is a good chance of getting a permanent job at the end of your training. There are different levels of apprenticeship, depending on the level of your GCSE qualifications. 

If you are keen to get straight into the world of work, you will need to do research into the companies, industries and job types that interest you, that are local and are hiring. You can search vacancies online through sites such as Indeed and LinkedIn, Government resources, contact a recruitment agency or apply directly to the HR department of a business. Keep an open mind and use your networks of friends, family and teachers/carers who can sometimes hold the key to a good opportunity. 

Be prepared for the application and interview process (and rejection possibly), which means knowing about the company, being able to answer questions about yourself and your skills, and why you would like to work for the company.  

More information can be found through the following links:  


UNIVERSITIES

Carrying on your studies post-18 isn’t for everyone, but if you are on this page, you are probably curious. With more qualifications you will generally have a wider choice about what job you want to do, so you’re more likely to find a job you enjoy. Also, research shows that better qualifications can mean you earn more money. 

Many employers seek people with the higher-level skills that degrees develop. Some careers require a specific degree such as law or engineering so you will need to the right qualifications to get a place on that degree course. It’s important to know that the subjects you take at 16-18 affect your choice of degree course. Look at course entry requirements on university websites.  

Remember that going away to university can also mean living away from home, developing independence and new skills such as budgeting and cooking, not to mention meeting new friends. Consider the whole environment of university alongside the learning aspects. 

Sun University Guides
UCAS University Guide
My Uni Choices
Degree Apprenticeships


AGED 16-18 AND NOT IN EDUCATION, EMPLOYMENT OR TRAINING (NEET)

We are proactively working with young people, parents and carers to ensure they are ready to tackle the future. We create awareness of all options and potential career paths as well as providing information and advice on current employment, training and education opportunities. We adopt a personalised approach that helps young people build trusted relationships with peers and role models who offer positive, aspirational influences. Working with dedicated, professional teams, we aim to identify skills and experience gaps, remove any barriers, change perceptions and create opportunities in the local community. Through engaging and motivating our young people we aim to ensure that they have the best chance to progress well in life and their careers. 

The links below offer advice and guidance to young people in years 12 and 13 who are Not in Education, Employment or Training: 

Youth Employment UK Careers Guidance
Up In BCP
Dorset Council Website
BCP Council Website
Career Pilot Advice for people in Care
Icould Careers Guidance