Just got your GCSEs and not sure what to do next?

First things first: I hope your results are what you’d hoped them to be…but, if they’re not, keep calm and don’t panic!

Whether you know exactly what you want to do, or even if you don’t know where to start or what subjects you want to study, it is absolutely essential that you seek out advice and look at all your options. I’d also say this applies whether your results are lower or even better than you’d hoped for: you’d regret it if you found out too late that you were on the wrong course and could have done something different, that you would have loved, “if only I’d looked at a few other options first!”……

I told my own children this when they were facing the ‘what next choice’: you wouldn’t pick a holiday or buy a car by choosing the first thing offered, or by doing what everyone else is doing – you’d do your research, possibly using some sort of comparison site, or speaking to others, having a look yourself etc. Do the same therefore with the thing that is far more valuable, your education and training and your choice of career path: look at all the options and weigh them up, speak to advisers from a number of different places – your school, the College – and get a real view of the broad range of options available to you.

Coventry College offers free and impartial advice and will give you an honest appraisal of what you could do next, so why not drop into the College over the enrolment period, which starts today and finishes in September. We have advisers who are ‘Matrix ‘accredited (which is the industry standard for providing impartial careers advice). We’ll talk to you about what we can offer but also about your other options. Anyone who is serious about providing a good education for you will take the time to talk to you and give you clear information that can help you decide what’s the best next step you could take to get you where you want to be. Don’t be pushed into making a decision – courses typically start in the first week of September so, if you’re organized, you can get round to all the places you are thinking of over the next week and have time to ‘sleep on it’.

You should be considering all options – staying on at school and doing A levels, going to college to do a technical qualification, starting your career with an apprenticeship or even retaking your GCSEs or a foundation course to get the basics right.  Click here to see a few of our successes in GCSEs this year.

Studying at a college gives you a fresh new perspective in a new, more diverse, adult environment. At Coventry College there are a huge range of courses on offer, from catering to engineering, gaming to digital skills, art to sport, childcare to construction…the choice is quite staggering. We have high quality, industry standard facilities and expert tutors. You’ll often do work experience as part of your course to give you experience in the career you ultimately want to get in to. You’ll also find a wide range of support available to cover financial matters, including access to a range of learner support funds to help fund travel, materials, trips, tuition fees and childcare; mentor support to help with personal challenges, learning and emotional support; a vibrant Student Council; and individualised additional learning support for students with learning difficulties and disabilities. And it’s not just about getting the skills that will help you into work, College can provide you with a route to University too.

Continuing full-time education at a school or sixth form college has often been seen as the natural route for many students aiming for university and wanting to study A levels. It is certainly a strong route for those that like and thrive in a structured, full time academic environment and A levels provide a good basis for anyone wanting to study an academic degree at university.

If you’re looking to start your career now, then apprenticeships are the fastest growing route for young people – many choose this option because it involves real employers and real work, getting paid whilst also including an element of ‘off the job’ training, getting a qualification at College or with a training provider. Another attraction for some is the huge range of apprenticeships – around 300 different subject areas – many of which allow you to progress right up to degree level. It’s also seen by many as a great way to get qualified without accumulating the debt going to University can now involve!

Whatever you choose, remember to do yourself justice and invest in the time to find out what each option will give you: how it will operate, what your career pathway will be as a result, how it will meet your aspirations, what the facilities and environment is like……..find out as much as you can and check out all the options, speak to a number of different advisers rather than assuming you will get the full picture from the first one you speak to.
It’s a big decision, there are lots of possibilities open to you, so don’t rush into the first thing someone tells you about, or simply follow the crowd – make sure it ‘fits’ and works for you. Good luck!

Peter Brammall
Principal & Chief Executive of Coventry College

For further information about seeking advice at our enrolment events, click here