Careers

 

Post-16 Options

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Your main options are further education, apprenticeships and jobs .

Traineeships  are an option if you want to work but need extra help to gain an apprenticeship or job. Traineeships will give you the opportunity to develop the skills and workplace experience that employers require.

For more information about your options after Year 11, check out the Icould videos. The Icould videos include people talking about their own choices at 16 and has articles about your options.

When to apply?

 If applying to colleges, aim to apply by Christmas at the latest as some colleges fill up quickly! Check the course entry requirements and it is advisable to attend open days/evenings. Many places have online applications; check their website for details.

If you are planning to apply to grammar schools or another school, check their website for application deadlines. There is more information about applying to schools and colleges in the Further education section, including links to college websites.

Most apprenticeships and jobs are looking for “immediate starts”; so, the majority of the opportunities you can go for will be advertised later in Year 11 (such as April onwards). However, some employers recruit early, such as Jaguar Land Rover.

Use the apprenticeship website to create an account and to search and apply for vacancies. You can also set-up alerts for opportunities that interest you. If you have an employer in mind you can also check out their own website. The Apprenticeships section also gives details of other useful websites you can use to search and apply for opportunities.

If you’re looking for a job, check out the Jobs and voluntary work section 

The official school leaving date is the last Friday of June of the school year in which you turn 16. 

 

However, the government has increased the age you must continue in learning. This means that you must be in some form of learning until you are 18 years old.

 

You can choose from the following:

 

·    Full-time study (for example, in a college or school).

·    An apprenticeship or traineeship

·    Full-time work (including working in a family business) or volunteering, combined with part-time education/training.

 

Go to the government website for more information.  

16 to 19 Bursary Fund:

 

The 16 to 19 Bursary Fund is aimed at students who need financial help so that they can stay in learning. The Bursary Fund can help pay for costs like equipment you might need for your course and transport.

You could get up to £1,200 if at least one of the following applies:

  • You are in or recently left local authority care.
  • You get Income Support or Universal Credit because you are financially supporting yourself.
  • You get Disability Living Allowance (DLA) in your name and either Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit.
  • You get Personal Independence Payment (PIP) in your name and either ESA or Universal Credit.

If you’re not in one of the above groups you may still get a discretionary bursary depending on your personal circumstances. You need to check with your school, college or training provider to see if you are eligible.

 

More information is also on the government website .

 

Care to Learn:

 

If you’re studying and aged under 20 at the start of your course, Care to Learn can help pay for your childcare costs while you’re learning.

 

More information is on the government website .

 

 

Apprenticeships

Higher/degree Apprenticeships

Traineeships

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Benefits include:

  • Earning a salary.
  • Getting paid holidays.
  • Receiving training.
  • Gaining qualifications.
  • Earning job-specific skills.

There are hundreds of job roles and types available and examples include accounting, animal care, teaching assistant, healthcare support worker, dental nurse, pharmacy technician, plumber, engineer, mechanic, ICT, retail, hair and beauty, plus lots more!

In the West Midlands, the following 5 apprenticeship types had the most opportunities last year:

  1. Business, Administration and Law

e.g. accounting technician, finance assistant, legal secretary, office junior, market researcher, salesperson, social media assistant, web designer, customer service adviser, HR assistant.

  1. Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies

e.g. car body repair, vehicle maintenance, tool maker, welder, software engineer.

  1. Health, Public Services and Care

e.g. early year’s worker, care assistant, nursery nurse, healthcare assistant, dental nurse, pharmacy assistant.

  1. Information and Communication Technology

e.g. database administrator, junior network security officer, website designer, software developer, software tester, helpdesk professional, network engineer.

  1. Retail and Commercial Enterprise

e.g. hairdresser, barber, shop assistant, junior beauty therapist, cook/chef, hospitality assistant, housekeeper, waiter, warehouse operative, customer service adviser.

The rates are usually updated every October. The current minimum wage rate for an apprentice is £4.15 per hour. For the latest information go to the Government website

It is worth noting though that many apprenticeship opportunities pay much more than the minimum wage.

The following are the levels of apprenticeship you can apply for depending on your current skills and qualifications:  

  • Level 2: Intermediate level apprenticeships. These are generally considered to be the same as five GCSE passes.
  • Level 3: Advanced level apprenticeships. These are generally considered to be the same as two A level passes.
  • Level 4-7: Higher and degree apprenticeships. These can lead to NVQ Level 4 and above, a foundation degree, a full bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree.

If you are just finishing Year 11 you can apply for level 2 and level 3 opportunities.

 

If you have level 3 qualifications, such as A levels, you can also consider Higher and Degree apprenticeships:

Higher apprenticeships:

The UCAS website conveys that higher apprenticeships provide an opportunity to gain a higher education qualification, such as an NVQ Level 4, HND or foundation degree. They can take from one to five years to complete, and involve part-time study at a college, university or training provider. 

Degree apprenticeships:

In March 2015 these were launched by the government. They have been developed by businesses, universities and colleges. Apprentices will split their time between university study and the workplace and will be employed throughout – gaining a full bachelor’s or master’s degree from a top university while earning a wage and getting real on-the-job experience in their chosen profession.

The UCAS website  has lots of useful information about degree apprenticeships, including what types are available.

You can also use the apprenticeship website to check out the latest apprenticeship vacancies. 

Entry requirements vary. An apprenticeship is like a job and students need to demonstrate a strong interest in their chosen apprenticeship area and be ready to start a job!

Check apprenticeship vacancies to see if there are any specific subjects and/or grades you need to have. For example, some may want 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9-4, others may ask for a Level 2 qualification in English and maths (such as GCSEs at grades 9-4). Others may ask you to take a numeracy and literacy test before you are accepted onto the apprenticeship.

Higher and degree level apprenticeships may require level 3 qualifications, such as A levels and BTEC equivalents.

You need to search and apply using the apprenticeship website.

You can also check out employer websites if you have a particular employer in mind.

Other useful websites for applying for apprenticeships include:

Traineeships are an option if you want to work but need extra help to gain an apprenticeship or job. Traineeships will give you the opportunity to develop the skills and workplace experience that employers require.

You can search and apply for traineeships using the apprenticeship website

 

 

 

Further Education

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The first decision you need to make is what to study.

There are lots of different subjects and courses to choose from.

Options include general qualifications and vocational qualifications.

General qualifications include GCSEs and A levels. These qualifications prepare you for a range of different careers, rather than focusing on a specific job.

In contrast, vocational qualifications are work-related and can give you the skills needed for a broad area of work or train you for a specific job. Courses are usually practical and involve hands-on projects. Examples of vocational courses include engineering, childcare, hair & beauty, motor vehicle, health & social care and business (plus there are lots more!).

For more information about general and vocational qualifications, click on the sections “Choosing A levels” and “BTECs”.

 What to study will also depend on your GCSE results as, for example, level 3 options will usually require 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 4-9, usually including maths and English.

 Level 3 options available include the following (all can lead to university and other options, such apprenticeships, including degree apprenticeships):

  1. A levels (you usually study 3 subjects, some places may allow 4). Assessment is 100% exam. You usually need a minimum of 3 subjects for university degrees. For some A level subjects you may need a grade 6 at GCSE (for example, schools and colleges would expect you to get a 6 or higher at GCSE maths to take the subject at A level). Grammar schools may even want a grade 7 or 8 to study particular A levels.
  2. Mixing A levels and BTECs. For example:
  • Take 2 A levels plus a BTEC level 3 National Extended Certificate (which is equivalent to 1 A level).
  • Take 1 A level and 2 BTEC level 3 National Extended Certificates.
  • Take 1 A level and a BTEC National Diploma (which is equivalent to 2 A levels).
  • Take 3 BTEC level 3 National Extended Certificates.
  1. Taking a BTEC National Extended Diploma. This is equivalent to 3 A levels and you usually only study one vocational area, such as science, engineering, business, health & social care and performing arts. Assessment is a mixture of exams and coursework.

Level 2 and level 1 courses:

If you are predicted lower than 5 GCSEs at grades 4-9 (or equivalent), including maths and English, you can apply for level 2 or level 1 courses. Level 2 courses include GCSE re-takes and vocational courses, such as BTEC. These usually last for one year and could lead to level 3 courses.

For example, if you got mainly grade 3s in your GCSEs and wanted to study health & social care, you could study the one-year BTEC level 2 health & social care course (and you would also re-sit your maths and English GCSEs). If successful, this could then lead to the two-year BTEC level 3 extended diploma in health & social care (equivalent to 3 A levels).

Note 1: If you don’t get a grade 4 or higher in maths and/or English, you will have to re-take them alongside your level 2/level 1 course.

Note 2: For some courses, you may have to start at level 1 or level 2 as you have to learn the basics first e.g. motor vehicle courses.

The second decision you need to make is where to study. For example, at another school that has a sixth form, a college or a specialist college.

It will also depend on what you want to study. For example, if you want to do A levels you’ll need to find a school or college that offers all the ones that interest you. Please note, not all colleges offer A levels (for example, Solihull College) and some colleges may offer A levels at a particular campus (for example, BMET only offers A levels at their campus in Sutton Coldfield).

If you wish to do a practical vocational course, such as motor vehicle studies, you will find that these courses are usually offered by colleges that specialise in vocational courses, such as Solihull College and South & City College (and not, for example, at sixth form colleges such as Joseph Chamberlain College, Cadbury College and Solihull 6th Form College).

It’s therefore really important that you first decide what course or courses you want to do and then find out which schools and colleges offer them.

Then check the school or college out. Start with their website but make sure you go to an open day/evening to ensure you like the school/college and to check course entry requirements, what you will study on the course, how it is taught, how the course is assessed, the results students achieve, what students do after the course and what facilities are available (such as a library and access to computers).

You should also consider travel arrangements. How far are you willing to travel and how would you get there?

There are also newer specialist colleges to consider, such as Aston University Engineering Academy that specialises in engineering and science courses and Birmingham Ormiston Academy that specialises in creative, digital and performing arts courses.

The website addresses for local colleges are:

You could also consider applying to local grammar schools as they offer opportunities to students to join their sixth forms. For example, details about the grammar Schools of King Edward VI in Birmingham can be found on their website. This provides a link to the individual grammar school websites where you will find details of each school’s entry requirements and application process.

You could additionally consider applying for a post-16 bursary fund to attend an independent school. Bursaries are a form of financial assistance to help families meet the costs of school fees. For example, Solihull School awards bursaries to students who have performed well in their examination but whose parents cannot afford full fees. They offer many full bursaries which cover 100% of the tuition fees, but other awards are also made which cover a percentage of the tuition fees. They are awarded on the basis of a means test. As a guide, households in receipt of income up to £75,000 are likely to be eligible for a bursary.

Solihull School additionally awards scholarships at the discretion of the Headmaster and are typically to the value of between 10-15% remission on tuition fees.  Any additional funding required would be by way of a means tested Bursary. It is possible to be awarded both a scholarship and a bursary.

Interestingly, over 20% of pupils at Solihull School are in receipt of some financial assistance.

You will find further details about Solihull’s bursaries, including key dates, on their website. Details of their scholarships are additionally on their website.

We are also looking to develop a partnership with the Royal National Children’s Springboard Foundation to provide a pathway to boarding schools. This is a boarding school bursary charity that provides opportunities for disadvantaged and vulnerable children and young people in 90 state and independent boarding schools. You can find further information on their website.

Once you have done all your research you should aim to apply by Christmas (especially for popular schools and colleges).

Many places have online applications; check their website for details.

If you are planning to apply to grammar schools or another school, check their website for application deadlines.

The website addresses for local colleges are:

These will vary depending on the level of course you are applying for:

 Level 3 courses:

These last for two years and will normally require 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 4-9, usually including maths and English.

Options to consider (these can lead to university and other options, such apprenticeships, including degree apprenticeships):

  1. A levels (you usually study 3 subjects, some places may allow 4). Assessment is 100% exam. You usually need a minimum of 3 subjects for university degrees. For some A level subjects you may need a grade 6 at GCSE (for example, schools and colleges would expect you to get a 6 or higher at GCSE maths to take the subject at A level). Grammar schools may even want a grade 7 or 8 to study particular A levels.
  2. Mix A levels and BTECs. For example:
  • Take 2 A levels plus a BTEC level 3 National Extended Certificate (which is equivalent to 1 A level).
  • Take 1 A level and 2 BTEC level 3 National Extended Certificates.
  • Take 1 A level and a BTEC National Diploma (which is equivalent to 2 A levels).
  • Take 3 BTEC level 3 National Extended Certificates.
  1. Take a BTEC National Extended Diploma. This is equivalent to 3 A levels and you usually only study one vocational area, such as science, engineering, business, health & social care and performing arts. Assessment is a mixture of exams and coursework.

 Level 2 and level 1 courses:

If you are predicted lower than 5 GCSEs at grades 4-9 (or equivalent), including maths and English, you can apply for level 2 or level 1 courses. Level 2 courses include GCSE re-takes and vocational courses, such as BTEC. These usually last for one year and could lead to level 3 courses.

For example, if you got mainly grade 3s in your GCSEs and wanted to study health & social care, you could study the one-year BTEC level 2 health & social care course (and you would also re-sit your maths and English GCSEs). If successful, this could then lead to the two-year BTEC level 3 extended diploma in health & social care (equivalent to 3 A levels).

Note 1: If you don’t get a grade 4 or higher in maths and/or English, you will have to re-take them alongside your level 2/level 1 course.

Note 2: For some courses, you may have to start at level 1 or level 2 as you have to learn the basics first e.g. motor vehicle courses.

Reasons for choosing A levels include being good at a subject, enjoying a subject and needing it for a future option/career.

To make an informed choice you need to do your research. Check what you will be studying (especially important if it’s a subject you have not studied before) and make sure your A level subjects keep open any career or university course ideas you have.

Advice about choosing A levels from the Russell Group Universities (they represent 24 UK universities) is that some university courses may require you to have studied a specific subject or subjects prior to entry. This means the subjects you study at sixth form or college will influence the degrees which are open to you at university and potentially your future career. Different universities can have different requirements so you should always check the specific subject requirements for degrees you are interested in.

However, there are also a number of degrees that don’t usually have subject choice requirements.

Use the Russell Groups Informed Choices website to explore how A level choices link to future degree options, particularly at Russell Group universities.

Use the section “I don’t know what degree I would like to study” to explore degree options based on possible A level subject combinations.

Use the section “I know what degree I want to study” to find out what subjects you may need to study at school or college for a particular university course.

Informed Choices has been written by admissions directors from the 24 Russell Group universities and provides information on why subject choice matters. Remember, this is general guidance only. For detailed and up-to-date information you will need to contact individual universities or look up courses on the UCAS website.

BTECs are general work-related qualifications which can lead to further study at college or university, apprenticeships or employment. They combine practical work with academic learning.

They do not train you for a specific job, but they focus you on a particular vocational area, so you need to have decided on the general area of work you would like to do.

A wide range of subjects are available, such as art and design, engineering, business studies, travel & tourism, public services and health & social care.

BTECs can be taken on their own or with GCSEs and A Levels.

Level 3 BTECs are equivalent to A levels and can lead to university. You will need 4/5 GCSEs at grade 4 or above to do a level 3 BTEC.  

BTEC levels available:

There are 3 levels:

The government website  conveys that technical qualifications, known as T levels, will be phased into the education system in the next few years and will be equivalent to 3 A levels.

T levels are new courses starting in September 2020. These 2-year courses have been developed in collaboration with employers and businesses so that the content meets the needs of industry and prepares students for work.

T levels will offer students a mixture of classroom learning and ‘on-the-job’ experience during an industry placement of at least 315 hours (approximately 45 days). They will provide the knowledge and experience needed to open the door into skilled employment, further study or a higher apprenticeship.

The first 3 T levels are available at selected colleges, schools and other providers across England from September 2020. These will be in:

  • Design, surveying and planning for construction.
  • Digital production, design and development.
  • Education and childcare.

A further 7 T levels will be available in September 2021. These are:

  • Building services engineering.
  • Digital business services.
  • Digital support and services.
  • Health.
  • Healthcare science.
  • Onsite construction.
  • Science.

The remaining courses will then start in either 2022 or 2023.

Full details of all courses that will be available are listed on the government website

Examples of local colleges that will be offering T levels:

  •  UCB: Education and childcare (from September 2020) and Health (from September 2021).
  • Solihull College: Digital Production, Design and Development (from September 2021).

 To check what other local colleges and schools will be offering, go to https://www.tlevels.gov.uk/students/find (enter your postcode and it will list colleges and schools and which T Levels they will be offering).

The 16 to 19 Bursary Fund is aimed at students who need financial help so that they can stay in learning. The Bursary Fund can help pay for costs like equipment you might need for your course and transport.

You could get up to £1,200 if at least one of the following applies:

  • You are in or recently left local authority care.
  • You get Income Support or Universal Credit because you are financially supporting yourself.
  • You get Disability Living Allowance (DLA) in your name and either Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit.
  • You get Personal Independence Payment (PIP) in your name and either ESA or Universal Credit.

If you’re not in one of the above groups you may still get a discretionary bursary depending on your personal circumstances. You need to check with your school, college or training provider to see if you are eligible.

More information is also on the government website 

Additionally, if you’re studying and aged under 20 at the start of your course, Care to Learn can help pay for your childcare costs while you’re learning. More information is on the government website

 

Year 8 Options

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Our ambitious curriculum is designed to engage and stimulate our learners and develop their knowledge and skills to achieve high quality outcomes. 

Subject choices are made in the spring term after a parents evening. You will be given full details of the options available to you and the school will provide support and guidance to help you make informed subject choices.

Tile Cross KS4 Curriculum:

At Tile Cross, students study a core programme of GCSE English Language and Literature, GCSE Mathematics and Physical Education. Students also have opportunities to study GCSE Triple or GCSE Combined Science. Where appropriate, students are encouraged to continue with a GCSE Modern Foreign Language and a GCSE Humanity subject. In addition, students choose up to four additional subjects from a wide range of options.

For the majority of our students studying GCSE courses for three years enables them to deepen their skills and knowledge while continuing to access a range of subjects. There are many opportunities for students to revisit, consolidate and apply their learning.

Each curriculum area has developed an overview of course content for KS4 and this can be accessed on the school website. Here you will also find details of the school’s enrichment activities.

Reasons for choosing a subject include:

  • Enjoying it.
  • Finding it interesting.
  • Being good at it.
  • Teachers indicating that you will do well at it.
  • The subject is needed or useful for future career ideas.

You should not choose a subject just because your friends are doing it! It is advisable to discuss the courses available with parents/carers, family, subject teachers and careers staff.

The Government has recently introduced changes, including a new 1-9 grading scale to replace A* to G grades. For example, grades 4/5 will be equivalent to a grade C, grade 6 is equivalent to a grade B and grades 7-9 are equivalent to A/A*.

For further details, please refer to the DfE information below:

The EBacc is not a qualification in itself. It is a particular group of GCSE subjects looked on favourably by universities. The subjects are English, maths, science (including computer science), history or geography and a modern foreign language.

You do not need to have studied all these subjects to go to university but having your GCSE mix steered towards the English Baccalaureate will help keep options open.

Check out BBC Bitesize  and UCAS  to see where subjects could take you.

Alternatively, use the National Careers Service (provide a link to https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/explore-careers) to explore and check out careers.

It is also possible to transfer at the start of Year 10 to a specialist vocational college, such as Aston University Engineering Academy (which specialises in engineering and science courses) and Birmingham Ormiston Academy (which specialises in creative, digital and performing arts courses).

 

 

Jobs and Voluntary Work

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Check out the following:

  • Job search sites, such as fish4jobs and Get my first job 
  • Jobcentre Plus (your local job centre).
  • Universal jobmatch. This government site enables you to search and apply for full or part-time jobs.
  • Newspapers. For example, the Birmingham Mail has jobs on a Thursday.
  • Employment agencies. They can help you to find temporary and permanent jobs.
  • Personal contacts. Ask your friends and family if they know about any vacancies.
  • Local high streets. You can often find part-time or holiday work advertised in shop or restaurant windows.
  • Online directories, such as yell.com to find employers and employment agencies. Check employer websites to see if they are advertising any jobs, or consider sending them a speculative letter or CV.

You will first need to come up with a realistic idea that you can turn into a product or service. You will then need to test the market and develop a business plan. You’ll also need funding to set the business up.

Advice about starting your own business is available on the government website

The Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme can help you decide whether self-employment is right for you. It offers help to 18 to 30 year olds who are either unemployed or working less than 16 hours a week.

Although the work is usually unpaid, there are lots of good reasons to become a volunteer, such as doing something useful in your spare time, making a contribution to your community, meeting new people, making friends or learning a new skill. It’s also a great way to gain experience, which may also help you with your future career plans.

Check out these useful websites:

  • Birmingham Voluntary Service Council (BVSC)  offers local volunteering opportunities.
  • National Citizen Service is open to all 16 and 17-year-olds in England. It helps you build your skills for work and life, while you take on new challenges and meet new friends. Participants develop a social action project to deal with a local issue they’re passionate about and spend 30 hours putting the project into action in their community.
  • Volunteering Matters. This was formerly called CSV (Community Service Volunteers) and they offer a range of volunteering opportunities.

You can use the National Careers Service Job Profiles  to check out careers and qualifications needed.

Other websites worth checking out are BBC Bitesize and UCAS.

You can use the National Careers Service Job Profiles   to check out careers. For example, choose a job category from those listed to explore related careers.  

Other websites worth checking out are:

  • BBC Bitesize. You can search by job sectors or see where your favourite subject can take you.
  • UCAS . You can explore careers by job family (job sectors), by subjects and by skills (for example, pick a skill you have to explore jobs that need that skill).

The job market is constantly changing. You can use labour market information (LMI) to research job trends in different career areas.

Use the following websites to research LMI and to check what future trends are predicted for your chosen career:

  • LMI for all: Provides easy access to labour market information, including an indication if a particular job is increasing or declining in numbers.
  • Career Companion: Independent and impartial gateway to careers information on the internet.
  • Prospects: Graduate job sector information.
  • National Guidance Research Forum: Has job trend information for 25 different job sectors.
  • Nomis: Provides a labour market profile of an area (e.g. search for Birmingham). Includes data on population, employment, unemployment, qualifications, earnings, benefit claimants and businesses.

The National Minimum Wage rate per hour depends on your age and whether you’re an apprentice.

The rates are usually updated every October. For the latest information go to the Government website.

The youngest age you can work part-time is 13, except if you are involved in areas such as television, theatre and modelling (children working in these areas will need a performance licence).

You can start full-time work once you have officially left school (you can work up to a maximum of 40 hours a week). Once you reach 18, adult employment rights and rules apply.

More information is available on the government website .

There are restrictions about what part-time work you can do and when you can do it.

You must be at least 13 years old and you are not allowed to work in places like a factory or industrial site.

You are also not allowed to work:

  • During school hours.
  • Before 7am or after 7pm.
  • For more than one hour before school (unless local bylaws allow it).
  • For more than 4 hours without taking a break of at least 1 hour.

There are also special rules which only apply during term times and school holidays. For example, during term time you can only work a maximum of 12 hours a week. This includes:

  • A maximum of 2 hours on school days/Sundays.
  • A maximum of 5 hours on Saturdays for 13 to 14-year-olds or 8 hours for 15 to 16-year-olds.

During school holidays, 13 to 14-year-olds are only allowed to work a maximum of 25 hours a week. This includes:

  • A maximum of 5 hours on weekdays/Saturdays.
  • A maximum of 2 hours on Sundays.

During school holidays, 15 to 16-year-olds can only work a maximum of 35 hours a week. This includes:

  • A maximum of 8 hours on weekdays/Saturdays.
  • A maximum of 2 hours on Sundays.

Full details are available on the government website.

Careers Ideas,

Careers Information

Careers Advice

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You can use the National Careers Service Job Profiles  to check out careers. For example, choose a job category from those listed to explore related careers.  

Other websites worth checking out are:

  • BBC Bitesize. You can search by job sectors or see where your favourite subject can take you.
  • UCAS. You can explore careers by job family (job sectors), by subjects and by skills (for example, pick a skill you have to explore jobs that need that skill).
  • Buzz quiz: In under five minutes, discover your strengths and what makes you tick and which celebrities share your personality type. There are 16 possible results, each connected to an animal. Which animal are you?

In addition to the resources included in the different sections of these careers web pages, you can use the following to research career ideas:

  • National Careers Service Job Profiles: These provide detailed information about different careers, for example, what the job involves, salary details and entry requirements.
  • Careersbox: This is a free online library of careers related film, news and information. Provides online case studies that show real people doing real jobs and gives an insight into careers across all sectors.
  • Icould: Free online careers videos showing the career journeys taken by a wide range of people.
  • Buzz quiz: In under five minutes, discover your strengths and what makes you tick and which celebrities share your personality type. There are 16 possible results, each connected to an animal. Which animal are you?
  • BBC Bitesize: Use to check out where your favourite subjects could take you and to search job sectors and to explore links between skills and jobs.
  • Career Companion: Independent and impartial gateway to careers information on the internet.
  • UCAS – Explore Jobs : Use to explore job families and where your favourite subjects could take you.
  • Heath Careers (NHS): Helps explore hundreds of NHS careers.
  • Tomorrow’s engineers: Helps explore engineering options.

The school’s Careers Leader is Mr Neil Mackintosh. If any student or parent would like to discuss career choices then please do not hesitate to contact Mr Neil Mackintosh on 0121 566 6406 or n.mackintosh@tilecrossacademy.com 

Mrs Manjit Johal provides independent and impartial professional careers advice one day a week in school.  She is available at lunchtime and breaks for ‘drop in’ support or for longer guidance interviews. During Careers interviews students are also given information to enable them to register on the apprenticeship website. 

Mrs Sham Akhtar, Careers Co-ordinator, additionally provides advice and support two days a week in school; helping pupils to choose and apply to the post 16 pathway that best suits their aspirations and ability. 

Additionally, support is available from the National Careers Service. Their careers advisers can talk to you about your choices online or over the phone on 0800 100 900. Advisers are available from 8 am to 10 pm.

  • You have left school.
  • Are aged 16 to 19 (up to 25 if you have a learning difficulty or disability).
  • Are unemployed and looking for a college course, job, training or apprenticeship.

This service is available at their Birmingham Careers Service outreach venues.

 

Post-18 Options

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Your main options are higher education, doing an apprenticeship , finding a job, further education or taking a year out.

 If you wish to study art at university you may need to study an art foundation course first, so you must check the specific entry requirements for your chosen universities.

Reasons for taking a gap year vary. For example, you may want to use the time to review your future plans, go travelling, do work experience (possibly linked to your chosen course or future career plans), develop new skills, earn money to fund your university place or volunteer in the UK or abroad.

For more information, check out useful websites, such as Prospects.

It is also possible to study abroad and an increasing number of students are considering this option due to the cost of UK university tuition fees. Use the following websites to carefully research your options and the financial implications:

  • A Star Future: Use to search for courses taught in English abroad.
  • The Student World: This gives guidance about where to study, why, the process and financial implications.
  • Eunicas: Enables UK and Irish students to apply to degree programmes, taught through English, in universities across Europe.
  • Fulbright Commission: Use to explore studying in the USA.
  • Study in the USA: Use to explore studying in the USA.
  • Study options: Use to explore studying in Australia and New Zealand.
  • Study portals: Provides a database of courses around the world.
  • StudyLink: Information and guidance about studying abroad.
  • Medical Doorway: Free advice to students aiming to study medicine, dentistry or veterinary medicine in Europe.

If you are ready to start work, then an apprenticeship could be worth considering.

There are lots of opportunities available and benefits include earning a salary, getting paid holidays, receiving training, gaining qualifications and earning job-specific skills.

There are different levels of apprenticeship you can apply for depending on your current skills and qualifications. These are: 

  • Intermediate level apprenticeship. These are generally considered to be the same as five GCSE passes.
  • Advanced level apprenticeship. These are generally considered to be the same as two A level passes.
  • Higher apprenticeship. These can lead to NVQ Level 4 and above, or a foundation degree.
  • Degree apprenticeships. These enable apprentices to achieve a full bachelor’s or master’s degree as part of their apprenticeship.

For further information and to search for opportunities check out the following:

 

If you have level 3 qualifications, such as A levels, you can also consider Higher and Degree apprenticeships:

Higher apprenticeships:

 The UCAS website conveys that higher apprenticeships provide an opportunity to gain a higher education qualification, such as an NVQ Level 4, HND or foundation degree. They can take from one to five years to complete, and involve part-time study at a college, university or training provider. 

Degree apprenticeships:

In March 2015 these were launched by the government. They have been developed by businesses, universities and colleges. Apprentices will split their time between university study and the workplace and will be employed throughout – gaining a full university bachelor’s or master’s degree while earning a wage and getting real on-the-job experience in their chosen profession.

The UCAS website has lots of useful information about degree apprenticeships, including what types are available.

For further information and to search for opportunities check out the following:

 

 

 

 

University Applications

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There are thousands of courses available, so research is the key to making an informed decision about what to study and where.

Brian Heap writes in his book University Degree Course Offers that deciding your degree on the basis of your current studies is a “reasonably safe option since you are already familiar with the subjects themselves and what they involve” and that for many occupations “the degree subject is often not as important as the degree itself”. He also adds that a large number of graduate jobs are open to graduates of any degree discipline and specialist training for many careers starts once you have your degree.

You can choose up to five university courses. There’s no preference order and your universities won’t see where else you’ve applied until after you reply to any offers you get.

However, you can only choose a maximum of four courses in any one of medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine or veterinary science. Also, you can only apply to one course at either the University of Oxford or the University of Cambridge.

After you’ve sent off your application you can see how it’s progressing by logging in to the UCAS system called Track.

Consider the following to help narrow down your degree course choices:

 You could decide to:

  1. Continue with one of your present subjects.
  2. Combine two or more of your current subjects.
  3. Combine a subject that you are studying now with a new one.
  4. Take a completely new subject or subjects.
  5. Take a general vocational course linked to a broad occupational area. Examples include art & design, business/finance, computing/IT, construction, education, engineering, health & social care, media, hospitality, public services (e.g. links to police, fire, armed forces), retail, science, sport and travel & tourism.
  6. Choose a course related to a specific job. Examples of degrees linked to particular jobs include accountancy, acting, primary teaching, social work, speech & language therapy, audiology, medicine, veterinary science, pharmacy, optometry, nursing, midwifery, dentistry, radiography, optometry, physiotherapy, sport therapy, quantity surveying, journalism, architecture, archaeology, design (e.g. furniture, graphic, textiles) and agriculture.

You then need to research your chosen degree course ideas and which universities offer them. Use the UCAS website, check out university prospectuses, go to open days/conventions, contact admissions tutors and use the useful websites in this section.  

In particular, research the following:

  • The specific university course entry requirements to make sure you have the right subjects and the right UCAS Tariff points needed/grades.
  • Type of qualification on offer: For example, is it academic, vocational, single honours, joint honours, combined honours, modular or sandwich? (sandwich means it usually includes a year working)
  • Reputation: What is the quality of teaching and research? What do recent students say about it?
  • Student satisfaction.
  • Academic facilities.
  • Course teaching methods: What is the balance between lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical or work-related activities?
  • Course assessment: Is it all examination-based or partly based on coursework?
  • Tuition fee costs.
  • Graduate destinations: How many find employment? What kind of careers do they go into?
  • Location and distance from home: Do you want to live in a big city or somewhere quieter?
  • Costs: Some places are cheaper to live in than others!
  • Accommodation: Are all first-year students offered accommodation?
  • Is study or employment abroad part of the course?
  • Part-time and holiday work: Does the university help and encourage this and do they have a student employment service?
  • Social activities: What clubs, societies and sporting facilities are there?

University league tables can be used to compare universities. There are a number of different league tables available to use, although it’s worth knowing that they calculate their tables using different criteria and weighting. However, all should include student satisfaction scores, student to staff ratio, graduate prospects and entry grades.

Although they are a useful source of information, they do have their limitations! For example, not all indicators are updated yearly and student feedback may not be objective.

Just because a university is at the top of a league table doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right one for you.

League tables are often closely bunched together at the top, middle and bottom, so don’t read too much into universities placed five to 10 places apart. A university in 20th place can be separated by the one in 30th place by only a few percentage points. This is also why some universities and courses fluctuate from year to year – small differences in the score can mean big differences in the ranking order.

League tables don’t always tell you the full story as certain university courses may be well regarded by employers in specific career areas, even though the universities may not feature in the upper reaches of the tables.

Here are two sources of league tables to check out:

Remember though, you need to choose the right course and university for you, based on factors that are important to you! You therefore need to decide your priorities – create your own list of key factors and do your research.

If you wish to study art at university you may need to study an art foundation course first, so you must check the specific entry requirements for your chosen universities.

You need to use the UCAS website to apply for most undergraduate courses.

The UCAS website provides detailed information to help you with your UCAS application. It also provides lots of useful videos, such as a step-by-step guide to applying.

You make your application via the UCAS online system, Apply. You don’t need to do it all at once – you can save your progress and sign back in anytime.

You apply for performing arts courses at conservatoires through UCAS  Conservatoires.

The usual UCAS deadlines are 15 October for the universities of Oxford, Cambridge or any professional course in medicine, veterinary medicine/science and dentistry; 15 January for the majority of courses.

Some course providers require additional admissions tests to be taken alongside the UCAS application, and these may have a deadline.

UCAS Conservatoires: The usual application deadline for music courses starting the next year is early October. For most undergraduate dance, drama or screen production courses the deadline is 15 January. However, there are exceptions, please check with individual conservatoires for full details as dates do vary.

More information is available on the UCAS website.

 If you miss a deadline your application will be classed as late. Most universities will still look at your application if they have vacancies left on the course you apply for, but there are no guarantees! Late applications can be made up to 30 June. Contact universities direct to see if they would consider a late application (less likely for competitive courses).

The UCAS Tariff is a means of allocating points to compare post-16 qualifications used for entry to higher education. However, it’s worth noting that only one-third of universities make tariff offers; meaning two-thirds of offers request specific grades.

For example, the tariff points for A levels are:

  • A* = 56 points.
  • A = 48.
  • B = 40.
  • C = 32.
  • D = 24.
  • E = 16.

The tariff points for a BTEC subsidiary diploma (equivalent to 1 A level) are:

  • Distinction* = 56 points.
  • Distinction = 48.
  • Merit = 32.
  • Pass = 16.

For more information about the Tariff go to the UCAS website.

It is possible that you may need to take an admissions test. This will depend on what course you have applied for (e.g. law, medicine) and where you have applied (e.g. Cambridge and Oxford).

Most admissions tests take place early in the school year, so if you do need to take one you’ll need to register for it early, possibly before you’ve sent your application off.

UCAS add that many of the courses that use admissions tests are also the courses that have the 15 October application deadline, so it’s worth checking these details in advance.

More information is on the UCAS website.

Course tutors use personal statements (plus estimated grades and references) to compare applicants, so make sure you sell yourself so that your application stands out from the rest!

UCAS advise you not to mention universities by name as you need to use the same personal statement for all the courses you apply for.

The UCAS website gives useful tips for writing your personal statement. 

It is possible that you may have to attend an interview, especially if you have applied for a competitive course or to certain universities.

To prepare for an interview use the UCAS website.

A conditional offer usually means you are required to get certain grades or points in your A levels (or equivalent). This will mean waiting for results day in summer to see if your exam results meet the conditions.

An unconditional offer usually means you’ve already met the entry requirements, so the place is yours if you want it! By accepting an unconditional offer you are committing to go to that university, so you can’t make an insurance choice or be entered into Clearing.

An increasing number of universities are making unconditional offers to students before they take their A levels (or equivalent). Sometimes universities require students to put them as their first choice for the unconditional offer to stand (sometimes referred to as a “conditional unconditional offer”). You should only accept an unconditional offer if it is the right course/university for you.

You can accept a maximum of two choices – one firm and one insurance. You can only have an insurance choice if your firm choice is a conditional offer. If you accept an unconditional offer as your firm choice then the place is guaranteed, so you cannot have an insurance choice.

You will only attend your insurance choice if you don’t meet the conditions of your firm choice but you do meet the conditions of your insurance offer. So, make sure your insurance offer is somewhere you would be happy going to.

You also have the option to decline offers. If you decline all offers, or are not made any offers, you can use UCAS Extra and/or Clearing. 

It is also possible to study abroad and an increasing number of students are considering this option due to the cost of UK university tuition fees. Use the following websites to carefully research your options and the financial implications:

  • A Star Future: Use to search for courses taught in English abroad.
  • The Student World: This gives guidance about where to study, why, the process and financial implications.
  • Eunicas: Enables UK and Irish students to apply to degree programmes, taught through English, in universities across Europe.
  • Fulbright Commission: Use to explore studying in the USA.
  • Study in the USA: Use to explore studying in the USA.
  • Study options: Use to explore studying in Australia and New Zealand.
  • Study portals: Provides a database of courses around the world.
  • StudyLink: Information and guidance about studying abroad.
  • Medical Doorway: Free advice to students aiming to study medicine, dentistry or veterinary medicine in Europe.

1. What and where to study, applications and year out:

  • UCAS: The key website. Search and apply for courses. Lots of other useful and helpful information e.g. choosing what to study, the applications process and student finance.
  • UCAS Offer Calculator:This is designed to help you see what your chances are of receiving an offer to study a course of your choice, at a university of your choice, based on your predicted grades.
  • UCAS Conservatoires: Application process if you are applying for performing arts courses at conservatoires.
  • The UniGuide: Has an easy to use search facility.
  • UK CourseFinder: Includes a questionnaire and course search. You need to register to use the questionnaire.
  • PUSH: “Guide to UK universities, student life, gap years, open days, student finance and all things studentish”.
  • Apply to Uni: Has a range of advice and information e.g. applying, finance, personal statements and course finder.
  • The UniGuide – A level explorer:. See where your A-level choices will take you.
  • Pure Potential: Has lots of useful information relating to higher education and includes a very useful section called “Events and Opportunities”, which includes details of opportunities that may interest you, such as masterclasses and conferences.
  • Prospects: Guide to taking a gap year. 
  • Independent Gap Advice: Useful advice about gap years.
  • Getting in: Has a range of useful information, such as applying, open days and personal statements.
  • The Guardian: Links to league tables.
  • The Complete University Guide: Links to league tables.
  • My Student Events: This portal has details about open days, study days and tasters.
  • Informed Choices: Russell Group universities guide that helps you explore how A level choices link to future degree options, particularly at Russell Group universities.
  • Career Companion: Independent and impartial gateway to careers information on the internet.

 2. Considering studying abroad?

  •  A Star Future: Use to search for courses taught in English abroad.
  • The Student World: This gives guidance about where to study, why go abroad, the process and financial implications.
  • Eunicas: Enables UK and Irish students to apply to degree programmes, taught through English, in universities across Europe.
  • Fulbright Commission: Use to explore studying in the USA.
  • Study in the USA: Use to explore studying in the USA.
  • Study options: Use to explore studying in Australia and New Zealand.
  • Study portals: Provides a database of courses around the world.
  • StudyLink: Information and guidance about studying abroad.
  • Medical Doorway: Free advice to students aiming to study medicine, dentistry or veterinary medicine in Europe.

 3. Graduate careers:

Prospects: Graduate careers website e.g. go to “Careers advice” and then “What can I do with my degree”.

4. Alternative options to university:

 Not going to uni: Advice and support on alternative options.

Extra is a way of making a further course choice. If you’ve used five choices and weren’t accepted or you decided to decline any offers you received, you can use UCAS Extra to apply for more courses (one at a time). It is open between 25 February and early July.

More information about Extra is available on the UCAS website.

 

Clearing helps universities fill any places they have left on their courses and is available July to September each year. So, you can use it if you have no offers or didn’t meet your conditional offers.

More information about Clearing is available on the UCAS website.

Each year some applicants pass their exams with better results than expected. So, if you’ve met and exceeded the conditions of your firm choice, Adjustment gives you the chance to potentially swap your course for another one. It’s available from A level results day to 31 August.

If you try Adjustment but you don’t find anything, you’ll still keep the course you gained on results day.

More information about Adjustment is available on the UCAS website.

 

 

 

Student Finance

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You can apply for a Tuition Fee Loan. The loan is paid directly to your university or college. Full-time students can apply for up to £9,250 per year. Part-time students can apply for up to £6,935.

You have to pay it back, but only after you have finished your course and earning over £26,575 a year. You pay back 9% of any income over £26,575.

Further information is available on the government website

You can also find useful information about student loans written by Martin Lewis on his MoneySavingExpert website. Includes loan myth-busting information and advice from Martin Lewis.

This loan helps to pay for your living costs while studying at university, such as accommodation, food, travel and clothes. The loan is paid directly into your bank account at the start of each term.

The amount you get depends on where you are living (you get more in London) and whether you are living at home. Some of the loan is available to all eligible students and part of it is means-tested, so this part is dependent on household income.

Further information is available on the government website

For details of how much loan you can get, use the Student finance calculator

You have to pay it back, but only after you have finished your course and earning over £26,575 a year. You pay back 9% of any income over £26,575.

You can also find useful information about student loans written by Martin Lewis on his MoneySavingExpert website. Includes loan myth-busting information and advice from Martin Lewis.

Extra money or support may be available. For example, if you have children,  dependent adults or if you have a disability. Further details are available on the government website.

Also, the government has announced that all nursing students on courses from September 2020 will receive a payment of at least £5,000 a year which they will not need to pay back. Students will receive at least £5,000 a year, with up to £3,000 further funding available for eligible students.

Many universities also offer extra money directly to students. These bursaries, scholarships and awards don’t have to be paid back. Each university has its own rules about who qualifies, how much you can get and how to apply. You get your bursary directly from your university or college.

You should check university websites early and ask at open days for information on support available and how to apply.

You need to apply for student finance using the government website. You don’t need a confirmed place at a university to apply.

 Your repayments are linked to your income and you only make repayments when your income is over £26,575 a year. If your income drops below this amount, repayments stop. Each month you pay back 9% of any income over £26,575.

You can also find useful information about student loans written by Martin Lewis on his MoneySavingExpert website. Includes loan myth-busting information and advice from Martin Lewis.

Eligibility for a student loan depends on factors such as what course you’ve applied for, whether you’ve lived in the UK for 3 years before starting your course and nationality/residency requirements, such as being a UK/EU national or having ‘settled status’ (no restrictions on how long you can stay). However, you may also be eligible if you meet other residency requirements.

Full details are on the government website.

For the standard student package you can use the Student finance calculator to check what you could get.

Check out the following:

  • UK: It gives an overview of finance available and enables you to apply for financial support.
  • YouTube: Student Finance England videos.
  • MoneySavingExpert: Student loan myth-busting information and advice from Martin Lewis.

Parents and Carers

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The official school leaving date is the last Friday of June of the school year in which they turn 16.

 Also, did you know that the government has increased the age that students must continue in learning?

This means that Year 11 students must be in some form of learning until they are 18 years old.

This doesn’t mean they have to stay on their school or go to a college; they can choose from the following:

  • Full-time study in a school, college or with a training provider.
  • Full-time work (including working in a family business) or volunteering, combined with part-time education/training.
  • An apprenticeship.

For more information go to the government website.

Supporting your daughter/son with their choices:

Young people have a wide range of choices available to them and you can use these careers web pages to support your son to make an informed decision.

Additionally, The Careers Writers Association has developed a website aimed at parents and carers that you may find helpful.

Feedback and questions:

If you have any questions or wish to provide feedback on the school’s careers provision, please contact the school’s leader, Mr Neil Mackintosh: n.mackintosh@tilecrossacademy.com 

Employers

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The school welcomes employer input into the curriculum as this inspires our students and helps them to learn about the world of work.

The school therefore welcomes meaningful collaboration with employers.  We have strong relationships with Arconic Manufacturing UK, Birmingham Airport, the Royal Navy and the Mercian Regiment.  These organisations regular provide work experience opportunities and/or support careers events in school. 

In addition, we always seek opportunities to take pupils to the workplace for bespoke careers events. 

Any employers wanting to collaborate with the school should contact Neil Mackintosh: n.mackintosh@tilecrossacademy.com

Teachers

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This section aims to support teachers to make links between subjects they teach and careers and to support teachers with careers questions they may be asked by students.

  1. What are the benefits of making links between subjects and careers?

Students are more engaged with subjects when they see how they relate to the real world. Linking subjects to careers and pathways can make subjects more meaningful and relevant for students.

It can also encourage students to be more aspirational and to realise that there are numerous pathways to success.

  1. Are teachers required to link subjects and careers?

 The DfE and Ofsted expect schools to be working towards the 8 Gatsby Benchmarks that set out a framework for schools to deliver good career guidance (see table below).

Benchmark 4 conveys that all teachers should link curriculum learning with careers.

  1. How do I make links between my subject and related careers?

 There are lots of ways you can link subjects to careers, including:

  • Inviting employers to speak about their career to students. If you haven’t got your own contacts you can link with organisations that link schools with employers, such as Founders4schols, STEM  and Inspiring the future.
  • Employers running workshops and activities.
  • Visiting an employer or an event (such as The Big Bang STEM event at the NEC).
  • Teachers talking about their own career path.
  • Putting up a faculty careers display.
  • Setting real life work scenarios that expand students’ familiarity with different jobs. For example, a maths question about a quantity surveyor.
  • Using a newspaper or magazine article to spark discussion.
  • Taking students to a university subject master class.
  • Year 8 options: Ensuring your subject description conveys how the subject links to future opportunities.
  • Year 8 options: Running subject “tasters” and emphasising where the subject can lead (especially useful if you teach a subject that students have not studied before).
  • Students using websites to explore careers linked to subjects. For example, check out BBC Bitesize and UCAS.
  • Checking out resources on professional body and Royal Society websites, such as the Royal Society for Biology.
  • Purchasing resources that link subjects to careers. For example, check out Success at schools.
  1. How do I help students who ask me careers related questions?

 Young people have a wide range of choices available to them and they are likely to ask staff for information and advice about future options and opportunities.

Staff may therefore find it useful to refer students to the wide range of careers information available on the school website. The information is designed to help students to make an informed decision about their future choices.

There are 9 sections for students that focus on key careers matters:

 

  • Post-16 options
  • Apprenticeships, including higher and degree apprenticeships
  • Further education
  • Year 8 options
  • Jobs and voluntary work
  • Career ideas, careers information and careers advice
  • Post-18 options
  • University applications
  • Student finance

You can also make referrals to the school’s impartial careers adviser, Mrs Manjit Johal, who provides independent professional careers advice one day a week in school.  She is available at lunchtime and breaks for ‘drop in’ support or for longer guidance interviews. 

Mrs Sham Akhtar, Careers Co-ordinator, also provides advice and support two days a week in school, helping pupils to choose and apply to the post 16 pathway that best suits their aspirations and ability.