How You Can Help

bigstock-mother-helping-daughther-with--9521750 When it comes to a young persons career choice generally it is parents who have the most influence. Ideally, supporting a childs career plans should involve the child, their parents, the school and their careers adviser all working together to help them  achieve their career aims and ambitions.

This is why I wanted a separate section for parents so that you can understand what your child needs to be doing now and how you can support them. I have broken this down into the different year groups and stages but a lot of the information does overlap.

If you have a child in years 11-13 then please encourage them to regularly check the blog for their year group as I’m adding information and details of opportunities there on a weekly basis.

Please also visit the Useful Websites section where there are links to websites aimed at helping parents support their child.

 

YEAR 8/9

CHOOSING GCSE OPTIONS.

Bishop Walsh teaching staff will give you all the information you need about subject choices – which subjects are compulsory and which ones are optional. Your child will need to start thinking about the future a little as looking ahead at possible career areas that interest them can help with the decisions that they need to make now.

CAREER PLANNING

Career planning is about choosing a career that most closely matches a person’s skills, interests and abilities and what they want from work. As a Careers Adviser this is how I encourage all young people to plan their career.

When making decisions about which subjects to study it can be really useful to start by looking ahead to the future to think about what kind of work they might like to do.

When thinking about careers that might suit them it’s important to have a good understanding of 2 things-

* What they have to offer  work – their skills, interests, abilities, personal qualities, work experience etc

* What they want from work – what would make a job rewarding and enjoyable for them? They also need an understanding of their values and motivations.

They don’t have to choose the specific job they want to do now but having an understanding of the career sectors that interest them and then finding out about the different jobs within that sector can help with the decisions they need to make in year 8. This also helps to broaden their knowledge of the career opportunities available to them in the future, the National Careers Service is a good website to help with this – see the Useful Websites section.

RESEARCHING CAREER IDEAS

You might think it’s too early for them to start researching careers but looking ahead to what they might like to do in the future makes choosing subject options a little easier.

A good way to plan is to look ahead to the future and then  ‘work backwards’

eg: for that career I need a degree in…..for that degree I need A level ….. / a BTEC level 2 / level 3 Diploma in …..to study that A level / BTEC subject I need GCSE grade C in…….’

If they have no career ideas at all then a sensible option would be to choose subjects that they enjoy and/or are good at. They can also find out about the kinds of careers that these subjects can lead to by looking at some of the websites that are linked to school subjects – see the Useful Websites page for these.

THINGS YOUR CHILD SHOULD CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING

Good reasons for choosing a subject or course include:

* you know you’ll need it for your future career plans

* you enjoy the subject

* you think you’ll be good at it

* you think you’ll like the way the course is taught

* it will give you lots of options when you leave school

Not-so-good reasons include:

* it’s what your friends are doing

* you’ve heard it’s an “easy option” — you’ll have to work just as hard whatever subject you choose!

SPECIALIST VOCATIONAL COLLEGES

There is now the option to study at an academy that specialises in a vocational area. These academies are open to 14 to 19 year olds and your child could apply for a place in year 9 to start in Year 10.

These academy schools are each sponsored by a university and combine academic studies with specific vocational subjects. They have been set up for young people who are keen to study the specialist subject the college offers and who show a real interest in the vocational area as a career.

Along with practical and technical qualifications in the specialist area, you would still study the compulsory English, maths and science subjects. Currently there are 3 of these academies in Birmingham, one focusing on engineering and science ( AUEA ), one on creative, digital and performing arts (BOA ) & a University Technical College specialising in construction & I.T. (both growth areas in the Midlands) based in the Wolverhampton area.

Aston University Engineering Academy,                    

Aston Triangle                                             

Birmingham B4 7ET                                     

Tel: 0121 204 4266                                          

www.auea.co.uk       

Birmingham Ormiston Academy

1, Grosvenor St

Birmingham B4 9QD

Tel: 0121 359 9300

http://www.boa-academy.co.uk                                  

West Midlands Construction UTC

www.westmidlandsconstructionutc.co.uk

HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT YOUR CHILD IN YEAR 8 & 9.

* Help them to think about the subjects they are good at and the things they enjoy

* Talk with them about the kind of work they might want to go into in the future and help them to do some research – it’s important to check the entry requirements for any career that they’re interested in so that they can make the right choices now.

* Look at how they can keep their options open, if they’re not sure what kind of job they want to go into

* Encourage them to choose for the right reasons — not just because it’s what their friends are doing or they think it will be the easier option

* Suggest they have an alternative back-up plan, for example if they can’t get their first choice of course or subject

YEAR 10

WHAT YOUR CHILD SHOULD BE DOING THROUGHOUT YEAR 10.

Career planning is about choosing a career that most closely matches a person’s skills, interests and abilities and what they want from work, to the opportunities available.

This is what I encourage all young people to think about when planning their career.

Before researching their career ideas they need to have an understanding of  two things:

1. What they have to offer work – skills / interests / abilities / personal qualities / experience

2. What they want from work – what would make a career enjoyable / worthwhile / rewarding for them? What are the priorities – pay / hours / prospects /  working environment / gaining higher qualifications / travel opportunities etc.

Once they have a better understanding of these then they can start researching any career ideas they have and/or subjects they enjoy/are good at.

* Researching their ideas helps to broaden their knowledge and understanding of opportunities and gives details of entry routes, training, prospects, related careers etc.

* While researching I suggest making brief notes under the headings ‘LIKE’ & ‘DISLIKE’ as this ensures they are relating the information to themselves and they can see at a glance how well this career would suit them. It also stops them feeling overwhelmed by too much information. They could also set up a careers folder where they can save information, articles etc.

* When planning their career they should work backwards – look at the careers that interest them and then find out what they need for that career – degree? A levels? vocational  / job related qualifications? Apprenticeship?

* It’s important to look at entry routes in year 10 because this can help your child to decide whether that career is a realistic choice for them or not.

(Please note, more detailed information about options will be covered in year 11.)

* If they are considering going to university it can be useful to look at the UCAS  website to research possible degree courses as this can help them find out which A level subjects / BTEC courses they’ll need to study. At this stage all they really need to find out about is the entry requirements and the career opportunities open to graduates with that particular degree. This can also help to broaden your child’s knowledge of careers available to them and act as a catalyst for further research.

* If they are interested in an Apprenticeship they can look at the  National Apprenticeships website for more information about these.

* They should be asking their tutor for a careers interview if they feel they need one or just want to talk over their plans with me.

* Use this website for careers news, job & apprenticeship opportunities,  information and links to useful websites.

* They can email me with any questions or concerns

NO / FEW CAREER IDEAS?

* If they have no career ideas at all they could look at careers related to subjects they enjoy or are good at – Prospects is good for this – see below.

* They could try completing ‘The Game’ on the Plotr website – a psychometric quiz that asks questions about likes, interests, abilities etc then suggests careers based on the answers given.

* Ask for a career interview if they need help getting started.

HOW YOU CAN HELP.

* Talk to them about their career ideas and aspirations. You know them better than anyone and are best placed to help them to understand what their skills, abilities and personal qualities are.

* The National Careers Service website has careers information and Job Market Information on over 750 jobs. This is a good starting point for research so encourage them to use this site.

* Work experience is becoming more important than ever. Encourage them to do some paid / unpaid work, ask your family, friends or neighbours if they know of any opportunities. Volunteer work always looks good on a C.V. or Personal Statement.

* Encourage them to ask for a careers interview or email me if you feel they need advice.

YEAR 11

WHAT YOUR CHILD SHOULD BE DOING.

AUTUMN TERM

* Researching their ideas – helps to broaden their knowledge and understanding of opportunities and gives details of entry routes etc

* When planning their career they should work backwards – look at the careers that interest them  and then find out what they need for that career – degree? A levels? vocational (job related) qualifications? Apprenticeship?

* At this stage they should  find out about all the options open to them – college, 6th form & apprenticeships to find the best route for them & their chosen career.

* They should be going along to 6th form and college open days / evenings and finding out as much as they can – talk to tutors and other students, pick up course information. Check school / college websites for details of open events / taster days – I usually advertise these on noticeboards & on the year 11 blog.

* Applying to any other school 6th forms or colleges as many prefer applications in by Christmas. They can apply to as many places as they want and don’t need to make a decision until next August when the results come out. They are not really committed to anything until they enrol next September.

* Applying for Apprenticeships if this is a possible route for them

* It can be useful to look at the UCAS HE website to research possible degree courses as this can help them find out what A level subjects / BTEC courses they’ll need to study.

SPRING TERM

* Making any more applications to schools / colleges.

* Checking the Apprenticeship website for vacancies and applying if interested

* Chasing up college applications

ALL YEAR

* They should be asking their tutor for a careers interview if they feel they need one or just want to talk over their plans with me.

* Looking at the relevant sections on this website for careers news, information and links to useful websites for year 11.

* They can email me with any questions or concerns

HOW YOU CAN HELP.

* Encourage them to ask for a careers interview or email me if you feel they need advice.

* Talk to them about their career ideas and aspirations. You know them better than anyone and so are best placed to help them to understand what their skills, abilities and personal qualities are.

* The National Careers Service website has careers information and Job Market Information on over 750 jobs. This is a good starting point for research so encourage them to use this site.

* Work experience is becoming more important than ever. Encourage them to do some paid / unpaid work, ask your family, friends or neighbours if they know of any opportunities. Volunteer work always looks good on a C.V. or Personal Statement.

* Search for school / college courses on the UCAS Progress website.

* Go along with them (or separately!) to school / college open events as you may think of questions to ask that they wouldn’t.

* Ensure they have a back up plan.

YEAR 12.

WHAT YOUR CHILD SHOULD BE DOING.

* Researching their career ideas – helps to broaden their knowledge and understanding of opportunities and gives details of entry routes etc

* When planning their career they should work backwards – look at the careers that interest them and then find out what they need for that career – degree? Apprenticeship?

* At this stage they should  find out about all the options open to them – University, Apprenticeships, jobs with further training / qualifications.

* A good place to start researching degree courses is www.ucas.com. They need to do a search for Undergraduate Courses, this takes them to a search tool page whewre they can put in their chosen subject / area of study. UCAS provides a list of degree courses in the chosen subject and by university alphabetical order. Select the course & it will take you to another page – click on ‘view course details on providers website’ and it will take you straight to the university degree course to find out full course details. They should then start to draw up a shortlist of potential courses / universities.

* They should be going along to university open days and finding out as much as they can about the university, the facilities, accommodation, living costs, degree courses on offer and where these degrees could lead. Check university websites for further information.

YEAR 13

WHAT YOUR CHILD SHOULD BE DOING

* If they’re not sure about going to university they could look at doing an Apprenticeship. They need to look at Advanced – level 3 (equal to A levels) or preferably Higher – level 4 (equal to 2 years of a degree / HND) as these can be a good alternative to going to university. Although, bear in mind that not all careers are available through an Apprenticeship. Have a look at the website www.apprenticeships.org for further information, there is also a section for parents.

* If there are any companies / organisations that they would like to work for then they could go on to their website, scroll down to the bottom of the page where you’ll usually find a ‘Careers’ section. Any vacancies should be advertised there. They could also make a speculative approach to an employer – see the ‘Applications & Job Search’ tab for advice on how to do this.  

YEARS 12 AND 13.

* They should be asking their tutor for a careers interview if they feel they need one or just want to talk over their plans with me.

* They can email me with any questions or concerns.

* Employers expect young people to have some evidence of work experience, either paid or unpaid. Encourage them to do some paid / unpaid work

THE UCAS TARIFF EXPLAINED.

When it’s time for your young person to start searching for a university course, the entry requirements are a key consideration. Universities will often indicate a typical offer that they expect from applicants, either in the form of particular grades or a specific number of points.

If the university asks for points, then it’s time to get to grips with the UCAS Tariff. If you understand how the points-based Tariff works, you can make sure that your son or daughter is applying for courses with attainable entry requirements.

The UCAS Tariff enables institutions to easily make offers to applicants with a wide range of academic or vocational qualifications. It isn’t used by all institutions because some prefer the accuracy of making offers using grades. As a general rule, the Tariff has been accepted more widely by new universities. According to UCAS, around one-third of all entry requirements make reference to the UCAS Tariff.

Essentially, the Tariff gives points depending on the qualification and grade achieved, so:

grade A* at A level equates to 140 points

  • grade A to 120 points
  • grade B to 100 points
  • grade C to 80 points
  • grade D to 60 points
  • grade E to 40 points

Students studying a BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma will find that the points achieved from this qualification match those gained from a single A level, with a distinction* from BTEC providing 140 points, a merit 80 points and a pass 40 points. An AS level is allocated exactly half the points of an A level, from 20 points for a grade E up to 60 points for an A grade (note that there is no A* grade at AS level). 

In addition to the number of points required, the institution will also indicate the subjects required and the type of qualification they will accept. For example, 320 points from A2 levels or BTEC National qualifications, including at least 100 points from a natural science or social science, but excluding general studies.

It is sometimes assumed that qualifications that don’t appear on the Tariff are not accepted by universities: this isn’t necessarily the case. If your son or daughter’s qualification doesn’t appear as part of the listed entry requirements, they should contact the university’s admissions department to check.

It’s also worth remembering that getting a university place does not only depend on the grades or points achieved from A levels or equivalent qualifications. There may be additional requirements including specific GCSE grades and subjects, admissions tests or experience needed. Some students don’t pay sufficient attention to the additional requirements and then waste one of their five choices.

The system looks set to change soon with UCAS proposing the introduction of a new Tariff from autumn 2017. This should affect students starting A level, or equivalent qualifications, from autumn 2015 onwards. The proposals for the new Tariff suggest that a wider range of qualifications could be included. Another key change is that AS levels will only be considered as 40% of an A level, rather than the current 50%. Watch this space and the UCAS website to find out when the new Tariff is given the go-ahead.

Find out more about the current system and view the full Tariff tables on the UCAS website

at http://www.ucas.com/how-it-all-works/explore-your-options/entry-requirements/tariff-tables

© Cerys Evans, July 2014