We encourage all students to consider the full range of options before making a decision about their choice of higher education. Many of our students opt to attend university but a growing number of employers offer high-quality school leaver schemes, sponsored degrees and apprenticeships. Students who are interested in learning more about these opportunities are offered ongoing support from our careers staff. Some students choose to keep their options open by applying for employment as well as university or college. They then make their decision once offers of university places have been received.
Students who are unsure about what type of career they would like to go into are encouraged to consider their skills and interests and explore different careers using the wide range of information available online and at college. Once students have narrowed down their choices they are able to explore their ideas in more depth through work experience and discussions with professionals who work in their chosen field.
Those students who decide to apply to universities should consult the UCAS section of the website for information and guidance. In addition to A-Level entry requirements, students should check well in advance of their application whether they need to fulfil additional requirements. For example, many medical and dental schools require applicants to take the University Clinical Aptitude Test or BioMedical Admissions Test as part of the admissions procedure.
An increasing number of universities, including Oxford and Cambridge, have their own admissions tests for specified subjects. Some law schools require students to take the National Admissions Test for Law, while students applying for music and performing arts courses may be asked to attend auditions. Those applying for art and design related courses may be asked to email a mini portfolio, as well as providing a full portfolio of work if they are selected for interview.
Degree apprenticeships are a new type of programme offered by some universities. Students can achieve a full bachelor's or master's degree as part of their apprenticeship. These programmes are being developed by employers, universities and professional bodies working in partnership. Degree apprenticeships combine working with studying part-time at a university. Apprentices are employed throughout the programme and spend part of their time at university and the rest with their employer. This can be on a day-to-day basis or in blocks of time, depending on the programme and requirements of the employer. They can take between three to six years to complete, depending on the course level. Degree apprenticeships are still quite new, so there are a limited number of vacancies. It’s anticipated that the number of vacancies will grow over the next year or two. More information can be found at:
Work while you study – an apprenticeship is a way to gain the skills, knowledge and experience students need to get into many careers. They combine work, training and study, letting students 'earn while they learn'. There are many different apprenticeships available across a wide range of industries and for a wide variety of job roles. As a paid employee, each apprentice works alongside their studies. There are no student fees – training costs are funded by the government and the employer. It is an ideal option if students have a clear idea of the career path they want to follow, providing them with practical, on-the-job training and classroom-based instruction. How to apply and which apprenticeships are available will depend on where students live. Our careers staff offer help and support with these applications and have formed close links with local businesses and organisations who offer apprenticeships. More information is available at: https://www.ucas.com/apprenticeships-in-the-uk
There are a number of useful websites where additional information may be obtained:
https://www.gov.uk/what-different-qualification-levels-mean/compare-different-qualification-levels – summary of the different qualifications and level of study (comparison)
- ucas.com – for university applications and information
- thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk – information on choosing universities
- which.co.uk/University – can give you universities with entry requirements that meet your grades
- prospects.ac.uk – a graduate careers website, can help you look at what jobs your degree will lead to
- https://nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk/advice/planning/jobfamily/Pages/default.aspx – to help you find out about different jobs and the entry requirements
- https://www.thescholarshiphub.org.uk/ – information about scholarships to help fund your degree
For general information, have a look at:
- etrust.org.uk A Year in Industry: a great site for applying for paid work experience
- yearoutgroup.org organisations providing gap year projects are carefully vetted and provide annual confirmation that they continue to abide by a code of practice and operating guidelines which are described on the website