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The definitive guide to where your child should head after school

Leaving college is a big step for your teenager
Leaving college is a big step for your teenager
Promoted by Blackpool Sixth

Choosing a career path can be daunting: here’s a rundown on the options available

Leaving college is a big step for your teenager and the choices they have to make can seem daunting. There are more options than ever available for young people so how do you help your teenager to pick the one which is right for them? “The main destination is definitely still university but we are finding an increasing number of students are looking at alternatives,” said Jon McLeod, head of admissions at the Blackpool Sixth Form College.

Apprenticeships are becoming increasingly popular as they combine work and study as well as a range of qualifications.

Apprenticeships are becoming increasingly popular as they combine work and study as well as a range of qualifications.

“We have got some good examples of students getting really high-quality apprenticeships with top companies like BAE Systems, Rolls Royce and Unilever.” We round-up some of the most popular options, the type of learners they suit and what they can expect.

University life

Studying for an undergraduate degree is still a hugely popular option for young people leaving sixth form college.

University suits learners who are drawn to academic study or looking at careers which require higher education qualifications. Campus life can also be a great way to gain independence in a safe and supported environment.

Higher and degree apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are becoming increasingly popular as they combine work and study as well as a range of qualifications.

Higher apprenticeships go from levels four to seven and are equivalent to a foundation degree and above – for example, a professional qualification. Degree apprenticeships are available at levels 6 and 7 and are equivalent to a full bachelor’s or master’s degree. “People may think at 16, ‘I have got to do an apprenticeship now’ but actually some of the better apprenticeship options are later when they have better qualifications,” said Mr McLeod.

“They can get a degree-level qualification without the fees and get paid.” Apprenticeships suit emotionally mature students who feel ready to enter the work place but still want to gain a qualification. They can allow young people to get immediate experience of their chosen career.

Straight to work

Some young people simply don’t feel further study is right for them and there is nothing wrong with that. If your teenager wants to go straight to work, they will have to be driven and self-motivated as they may well be competing against candidates who have more qualifications. However, they can also work their way up and start earning straight away.

Take a gap year

There are three main reasons young people take a gap year – travel abroad, volunteering opportunities or working to save money for university. A gap year can be a fantastic way to broaden your teenager’s horizons and give them a taste of life after education. Most students planning a gap year will apply for their chosen higher education route while still at college and simply defer for a year. That way they still have the support and advice of college staff during the application process.

Ninety-nine per cent of students surveyed after leaving Blackpool Sixth had successfully progressed to university or their chosen higher training. To find out if it could help put your child on the path to success visit blackpoolsixth.ac.uk