Parent Talk

Parent Talks are designed to help Parents, Guardians or Carers of 14 – 16 year olds gain further information about what Coventry College can offer perspective students looking for their next steps in education.

As part of the session, you’ll be able to take a tour of the College campus and find out more about:

  • Funding options
  • Destinations
  • College hours
  • Facilities at our campuses

Student Service Advisers will be on hand to answer any questions you may have.

The next Parent Talk will take place during our Open Event on Thursday 17th January, 5pm – 7:30pm at both our Henley and City Campuses.

A young person’s options

The law states that young people in England must stay in education or training until at least their 18th birthday.

Many young people decide to stay at school but there are alternatives:

  • Home Education
  • A Traineeship
  • An Apprenticeship
  • Full-time employment or volunteering (at least 20 hours a week) which is combined with part-time education or training
  • Continuing full-time education at a sixth form college or Further Education (FE) College


For Free and Impartial Advice, please leave your details and our team of experts will contact you with the next available slot:


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There is a lot of information on the internet about Apprenticeships. It is a good idea to spend some time understanding how they work.


What is an Apprenticeship?

On an Apprenticeship young people study for qualifications at the same time as working. They divide their time between an employer and typically a FE college, although occasionally the Apprenticeship training is also delivered in the workplace.

Typically an employer will offer an Apprenticeship and young people apply in a similar way to a normal job. Competition is often strong so applicants will need to show determination, aptitude and commitment.
To start an Apprenticeship they must be aged 16 or over and not in full time education. There are three levels of apprenticeships, starting with those designed for young people with average GCSE grades working up to those with A levels or an Advanced Diploma.

  • Intermediate Apprenticeship (Level 2; equivalent to five good GCSE passes): This level provides the skills and qualifications needed for their chosen career and allow entry (if desired) to an Advanced Apprenticeship. To be accepted applicants need to be enthusiastic, keen to learn and have a reasonable standard of education
  • Advanced Apprenticeship (Level 3; equivalent to two A-level passes): To start at this level, the applicant should have five GCSEs (at grade 4-9 or A*-C) or have completed an Intermediate Apprenticeship. This will provide the skills and qualifications needed for their career and allow entry (if desired) to a Higher Apprenticeship or degree level qualification
  • Higher Apprenticeship (Level 4/5; equivalent to a Foundation Degree): To start at this level, applicants should have a Level 3 qualification (A-Levels, Advanced Diploma or International Baccalaureate) or have completed an Advanced Apprenticeship.

There are lots of benefits to doing an apprenticeship. Apprentices learn while they earn and they learn in a way that is best suited to them. As an apprentice they will:

  • Earn a salary (though not usually the same as a full-time employee)
  • Get paid holidays
  • Are paid while attending college
  • Receive training and gain qualifications
  • Can progress to degree level

Apprenticeship training can take between one and four years to complete, but the length of an apprenticeship depends on it’s level, the industry in question and the skills the Apprentice already has.

There is no official upper age limit but government policy means that Apprentices who start their training when they are 19 or older attract less funding to cover the training costs. In reality, this means that fewer Apprentices are aged over 19 and even less are over 24.

It is also harder to get an Apprenticeship if the applicant already holds a Level 4 qualification or if they have lived in the UK for less than 3 years. Although, the new Apprenticeship Levy means that Businesses are receiving more help towards the cost of funding an Apprentice at any age.

How much do Apprentices get paid?

The National Minimum Wage for an Apprentice is dependent on age. Apprentices in their first year of study or under the age of 19 are entitled to the apprentice rate:

Age Rate until April 2019
Apprentice £3.70 per hour
19-20 £5.90 per hour
21-24 £7.38 per hour
25+ £7.83 per hour

Some employers pay more than the minimum wage, but this is entirely their decision, they don’t have to.

What can I do to increase my son/daughter’s chances of getting an Apprenticeship?

  • You can find your own employer to employ an Apprentice, this could be with a family or friend’s business, or a local business
  • Encourage them to phone, email and walk in to give in a copy of their CV to businesses to show interest. Many companies will get a lot of CVs emailed to them, so calling ahead and visiting the company will increase their chances of being successful
  • Approaching companies in a professional manor  creates a good first impression
  • Offer to do work experience in their chosen industry. This gives the employer a chance to see them working, whilst your son/daughter get valuable experience to add to their CV

If I find an employer, how can Coventry College help?

We can deliver Apprenticeships in a range of subjects, once you have found an employer come and speak to us. We can talk to the employer about what they need to do next and support them through the process of employing an Apprentice.

Finding out more

We offer an Advice shop where anyone can drop in for impartial advice on careers. If your daughter or son has a query about apprenticeships they can find out more from the GovApprenticeship webpage, ask a careers adviser who comes into their school or speak to a careers adviser from the National Careers Service on 0800 100 900. The National Careers Service also offer webchat, texts and other means of getting in touch as listed on their Contact an Adviser webpage for young people.

Important things to consider

Starting an apprenticeship can affect the families’ benefits.

  • It’s counted as full time, paid employment as part of the household income
  • Parents will no longer be able to claim Family Allowance if the apprentice is 19 and under
  • Apprentices have to pay for their own sight tests, prescriptions and glasses although everyone under 18 still gets free dental treatment.

There is help available for apprentices on a low income, for example:

The NHS low income scheme
Apprentices NUS discount card:


If you need any further information then please contact us here.

Staying on at school

Historically, staying on at school is seen as the natural route for students with good qualifications and higher aspirations. It is certainly a strong route for those that like and thrive in a structured 5 day week environment.

However it’s not for everyone and you might want to consider other options especially if a student:

  • Didn’t get the English and Maths results they were hoping for. For example FE colleges now teach these essential subjects alongside the main study programme so that students learn with different tutors and in different ways. Many students go on to greatly improve their results and open up new training and employment possibilities
  • Enjoy less structured, more self-managed forms of learning. All Apprenticeships and college courses have an expectation that the student manages their own learning and sets their own stretching targets. Many find this a big difference from school and find moving on to higher study, for example at University, to be a smoother process as a result
  • Wants to study within a specialist profession for example Hairdressing, Catering and the construction trades as it is often difficult for schools to provide the specialist facilities required to deliver these courses

Students with good grades should certainly consider school sixth forms however there are many different routes to University, to good employment and to career satisfaction and its worth making sure the student understands them all before making a final choice.


Find out about that courses and learning options we offer here.

College courses

Studying at a college often means entering a more diverse, adult environment. Some students are ready for this, others might find it a challenge. All colleges want students to succeed and prepare for fulfilling future careers. You’ll therefore find a wide range of support available to cover financial matters, learning and emotional support.


Pride in the college, pride in the city

Coventry College was formed when City College Coventry and Henley College Coventry merged on Tuesday 1st August 2017.  We have two campuses, the City Campus and the Henley Campus which are situated on the previous sites of the former colleges. We are the largest Further Education college in the city and surrounding area. Our mission is to serve this area, improving skills, retaining excellence and enjoying this wonderful city.

Learning for all stages and all ages

From entry-level qualifications, through to degree-level and specialist professional courses there’s something for students with little or no formal education right up to career high-flyers.

Expect a vibrant environment where you can meet people from different backgrounds and cultures.

Excellent facilities

The City Campus was completed in 2008 and is easily accessible from the town centre and bus routes. Once inside you’ll see fantastic facilities from the outdoor construction areas to the media and recording centres. Dance studios live alongside IT suites and relaxing common rooms. City campus supplies places to eat, study, meet and create for students on all courses.

The Henley Campus new redevelopment was completed in March 2014. The £8m facilities at Henley includes a atrium with an exhibition space to display student work, a new block with 14 large classrooms and state-of-the-art conference facilities, four new hair and beauty salons, a lively restaurant, a sports and fitness centre and a nursery.




Giving advice

As a parent or carer, you are likely to be the single biggest influence on your child’s thoughts and feelings about their future career. You are reading this because you care deeply about them having a happy and productive life. It is really important that you are aware of the influence you have and that you try your best to give positive, supportive and empowering advice rather than negative, restricting and disempowering.

A good parent helps their child the most when they:

  • Have a good general understanding of the options available
  • Listen carefully to their child’s views without being judgmental or critical
  • Are open to new ideas and possibilities
  • Encourage them to explore all their options

How can I help my child with their career plans?

  • Talk to them about careers they might be interested in and why they appeal to them. Don’t make a big deal out of it
  • Ask them about the help available in their school. Is there a careers library? Are there online careers programs they can access? Are there careers and employability tutorials delivered at school?
  • Some schools arrange for their students to complete a career interests questionnaire. Check whether this will happen with your child. If so, it is an excellent opportunity to start a conversation about their future options
  • Help them to explore the possible opportunities available in your local area. You should be able to find lots of useful information on the web site of your local council. Keep an eye out for things like open days (at colleges and training organisations) and careers fairs held locally
  • Encourage them to participate in out of school activities. These are valuable in themselves and will help greatly later on in giving a good impression to people like employers or course tutors
  • If a careers adviser attends parents evenings take advantage of this opportunity to gather useful information and broaden out your child’s career thinking
  • Check whether the school has a formal work experience programme during Key Stage 4 or in the sixth form. If not, check out the possibility of arranging something yourself with work colleagues or friends. Half terms provide a great opportunity for school learners to get into a work experience placement

To supplement the support offered by schools the government has created an organisation called the National Careers Service, which offers online support for young people aged 11-19 via text/email, a free phone telephone advice line, web chat and on their web site found here.

Encourage and support – but don’t dictate!

Support from parents is very important when key decisions such as subject choices are being made. While it may not always feel that way, young people do take notice of advice offered to them by their parents or carers. Just keep in mind that your child’s decisions should be based on their personal interests, aspirations and abilities.

The more you know about the information, advice and guidance that is available and where it can be accessed, the better. Don’t be afraid to contact the school or local college if you have any questions.

Please feel free to get in touch with us if you have any questions. You can call us on 02476 932 932 or fill in our enquiries form found here.

Parents’ ProPortal

Students are much more likely to be successful in their studies if they’re supported by their parents and families as well as their tutors.

Parent ProPortal allows parents and other legal guardians to see a student’s progress at college via a password-protected webpage. You’ll be able to see the Individual Learning Plan (ILP), including key information such as attendance records, targets and progress against learning aims.

Parents of under 18s have always had the right to see this information, the online service simply makes it more accessible and more up-to-date.

You’ll need to apply, as this service is available on request only. If your son / daughter is 18 or over we’ll need their permission to share that information.

Request a login or login to ProPortal