Getting your career off to a flying start

GCSE Results Day 2015

20 August 2015

After months of revision and hard work, hundreds of thousands of young people in the UK will finally get their long-awaited GCSE results on 20 August 2015.

The question for many is ‘what next?’ Until now most young people’s education has been mapped out for them but post GCSE there are suddenly a dizzying array of choices and it’s quite often difficult to know what the best choice is for them.

Kirstie Donnelly MBE – Managing Director of City & Guilds UK said: “Whilst many young people will go on to study A-Levels after their GCSEs, this isn’t the right choice for everyone. There is often a lot of confusion around what other choices are available, or what type of course to do to help set you on the path to the career of your dreams.

“There is also a real lack of good careers advice available in the UK and it can leave people feeling confused about the types of jobs available and the steps they need to take to land a rewarding career. Many young people, and their parents, might be surprised to learn, for example, that many of the UK’s best paid jobs don’t require A-Levels or a degree but can be accessed via an apprenticeship or a work-based course such as an NVQ.”

Examples of some of the high-paying careers which can be accessed via a vocational course are; Electrical, mechanical and electronic engineers, IT and telecoms professionals who can all expect to earn in excess of £40,000 and pipe fitters and garage managers almost £38k per year.

And of course money isn’t the only thing to consider when selecting a career. Job satisfaction is also really important. The City & Guilds career happiness index found that the UK’s happiest employees were florists and gardeners (87%), followed by hairdressers and beauticians (79%) and plumbers (76%).

Becoming an apprentice or a trainee or studying for an NVQ or a technical baccalaureate or similar can be the first step on the ladder in all of these careers. The great thing about these types of courses is that they are really hands on giving young people the workplace skills and experience that employers look for. An apprenticeship will also allow the young person to earn a salary whilst they learn.

22 year-old Danielle Curtis, ex-apprentice and Trainee Resident Engagement Coordinator for housing association, B3Living22 year-old Danielle Curtis is an ex-apprentice and Trainee Resident Engagement Coordinator for housing association, B3Living. She said: “My advice to anyone thinking about their future is that there isn’t just one option when you leave school – although ‘A’ Levels are really good and going to university is good to get a degree, there are other options that you can consider based on who you are.

“It’s really key – before you make a decision, look on the internet, go online and see what you can do. You’ve got to do the kind of learning that makes you happy – everyone has different learning styles. If you’re a hands-on person and prefer being in a real life situation on the job then apprenticeship are the way to go. You get to work in a team, be in a business environment while learning – and it’s not like learning while you’re at school. When you’re in an apprenticeship you feel part of something more.”

And studying for a skills based qualification doesn’t only have to lead straight to work. Students studying the new City & Guilds TechBac will not only develop the skills to land a job after studying but it will also earn them UCAS points that allow them to go onto university if they wish to pursue that option.

To find out more about apprenticeships, TechBac and the huge array of other technical and professional courses available from City & Guilds visit the City & Guilds website


Our research reveals that three quarters of young people demand skills-based training to achieve their ambitions Read full research article