Congratulations, You’ve Finished School. Now What?
25 September, 2020
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How does it feel to be a school leaver? It’s a big accomplishment, so hats off to you! Keep celebrating by taking control over the next step…
Making a decision may sound like an easy box to tick… but you want to get it right, right? It’s important to know that there is no one decision that will suit everyone. Some school leavers are planning to go onto further education, while some college graduates are applying to universities. But these are not the only options available. What you decide depends on what you want to do in the future. That is the right decision. Taking into account the current situation is important too. It may feel like options are limited due to recent news about blended learning alternatives at universities and employers cancelling work placements, however; there are still strong opportunities on the horizon for school leavers, especially with T-level industry placements:
“A Department for Education spokesperson said: “Industry placements are at the heart of our pioneering new T-levels and will give young people first-hand experience of the world of work and the opportunity to develop the skills that employers need.
We are really pleased that the vast majority of 2020 providers remain on track to deliver T-levels from September. We are working very closely with T-level providers to identify challenges, and will continue to monitor the impact of Covid-19 throughout the autumn term and whether further support is needed.”
With this in mind, the burning question is still now what? It’s OK if you’re still undecided or weighing up your options – especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Take a look at the next potential steps you can take on your career path to help you decide…
Next steps for school leavers…
Going to college → Choosing to study further education, such as A-level, NVQ, BTEC National, HNC and HND courses, is a common next step if you want to build upon your experience in a specialised field. After 2-3 years, this can be a logical stepping stone towards higher education or to apply your experience to jobs.
Off to university → When taking an academic direction, the common question right now is: defer or not to defer? If you’re considering higher education, most UK universities are offering a ‘blended learning’ approach, with online lectures alongside seminars and tutorials conducted in-person – adhering to the safety processes. In May 2020, the Guardian reported that one in five UK students across the UK were likely to defer their place at university due to the alternative online teaching method, disrupting students from experiencing a traditional campus lifestyle.
Taking a gap year → Due to the A-level exam results fiasco and the spike in university applications, school leavers are considering deferring their university place to take a gap year. The idea of going travelling is an exciting idea – seeing new sights and experiencing different cultures. Despite current flight and travel restrictions in certain territories, you can travel to a wide-range of countries from Australia to Vietnam – with safety measurements in place. However, regularly check the UK travel corridors to confirm the countries you can safely visit or countries that require you to self-isolate when returning to the UK.
Getting a job → Thinking of making some money? This is another option for school leavers taking a gap year to earn a salary and saving up some money. With temporary, summer, part-time and full-time jobs, you can continue studying soft skills and career skills online during your spare time.
Applying for internships → Internships can easily be slotted into summer holidays, Reading Weeks and placement years for college and university students. As most internships are unpaid or only cover lunch/travel expenses, these are ideal for gaining workplace insights and experience in short periods of time that you can add to your CV.
Be a volunteer → Like most internships, volunteering work is unpaid but affords you with other benefits. While you’re deciding what you want to do, supporting individuals and communities is a worthwhile cause that will make you and other people around you happier. Plus, this can improve your confidence and personable skills, which are useful for the workplace.
Learning new skills → This option is entirely inclusive – everyone can do it! Whether you’re working, interning, volunteering, taking a gap year, or deferring college/ university – you can make the most of the time you have by balancing it with online learning. As a direct result of the pandemic, learning new skills online has made it easier and more accessible for school leavers and graduates to enhance their current skills and learn new ones – all without putting their career on hold.
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