Career Guidance, for 15 year olds?

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  • Career Guidance, for 15 year olds?
  • Premier Icon Andy_B

    More seriously, get as much work experience between education as she can. It’s invaluable in helping you understand what your choices are and distinguishing herself from a bunch of other freshly qualified graduates. It’s worth more than a well paying summer job in something irrelevant which might pay £3000 over each summer. Compare that to getting a relevant job immediately after uni or struggling in a call centre for a year trying to get something to talk about on your cv or at interview

    Premier Icon Andy_B

    And if you run your own business get her to do the book keeping and see how easy it is to make sure you get the money rather than an employer


    Do things you’re interested in. Don’t do things because of career opportunities or money that you’re not interested in, as you won’t be very good at them.

    As a computer specialist at a university, i’d say don’t do a level IT subjects, one of the few subjects really no one is in favour of – if you’re interested in computers, do maths. A Level IT is no use for further academic study, and won’t teach you anything you need for any interesting job either.

    If you have any idea of subjects that might interest you at uni, research the requirements and make sure you don’t miss them – eg. If you are science-curious, you need science and maths.

    I always knew I wanted to program computers, but didn’t necessarily need a computer science degree for it. When I started my a levels, I was torn between uni in maths, french or music, so I did double maths, french and music. Turned out I was rubbish at music, and in the long term more interested in numbers than in linguistics or history, so that made the choice for me, but I’m glad I had the subject range to be able to make the choice.

    Be aware that like people say above, you don’t necessarily have to come to uni after a levels, and if you don’t know what you want to do by then, waiting a bit doesn’t have to put you at a disadvantage, and you obviously don’t have to go at all if you don’t want to.

    Take advice from careers service at school, but be aware sometimes they don’t have a clue – I knew I wanted to go to a top university, they did at one point suggest a btec in it, which wouldn’t be recognised by any good uni unfortunately.

    Oh yeah, vocational qualifications. While the courses may be fine, whatever they say about being a level equivalent is rubbish in terms of both employment and university, so be careful of them. They may be good for you, but they limit future routes a lot.

    when i was 15, in ’81, and attended the obligatory schools career interview, the career’s specialist being the PE teacher, he said what do you want to do. i said i’m good at english, best subject, i love windsurfing, and i want to write for a magazine. i can still remember the guy being stumped, his best advice was a-levels which really was not much use to me because i really was not academically talented and just wanted to get on a plane and go to hawaii.

    so i did 2 years catering college, the rationale being that i would be able to get a job anywhere in the world. and i did all through the 80’s.

    years later its the late 90’s, i’ve grown up, went to uni as a mature student, have a well paid job with an upcoming agency in london. so i’m on a plane coming back from the states and a few hours out of heathrow wake up with a stinking hangover and realise that i had what would have been my dream job when i was at school (press and media for the pro windsurfing tour, basically making tv shows and writing for mags around the world) and i hated it.

    less than a year later i’m in cornwall doing marketing for an fe college, 2nd largest one in the UK. traded a pressure cooker london job for easy work, regular 08.30-5pm/4.30 on fri, hours, never ever working on weekends.

    i have done many many careers events, and my advice, based on my own life experience and also seeing first hand hundereds if not thousands of kids leave schhol and go to college, their experiences, challenges and where they end up, is this…

    unless you are specifically dead set on a certain career path, or your goal at 18 is university, seriously consider vocational courses.

    the range these days is phenomenal, far from the catering/plumbing/building only option when i was 16, and, when you leave it will have prepared you to get a job. if you do a-levels, and you decide at 18 enough education is enough, you will not have a specific skill.

    in a few years time, should you decide you want a degree, there are great options to get on as a mature student either with direct entry dependent on what vocational qualification you have or via a pre-entry course.

    op, trust me i have spoken to tons of parents and kids like you and your daughter, in fact the vast majority of people who attend a college open session are just like you its actually rare to get a kid come forward and say exactly what he wants to do.

    i would say go to your local colleges, all of them are now starting to have open sessions, and see what they are offering. be wary of academics ‘selling’ you ‘their’ course, you do get many who just care about hitting their unit quota, but there are also some great people in FE who really do want to help kids get on.

    main point is though, the days of jobs for life are long gone. i truly believe that 16 is way too young to be setting a course, great if you are dead set on a path, but for most its better to be fluid. get some work skills, get some cash, see what the big bad world is about, then if you want to change down the line you can.



    Premier Icon teamhurtmore

    Generally: choose subjects that your daughter finds interesting, that she may read at Uni (if that’s an option) and that may be useful to her future career.

    First and foremost, study subjects that she is interested in. A levels are very different to GCSE and require a genuine e interest if you are going to do well.

    is you daughter more of a scientist or a humanist? Essays or calculation etc? That should be reasonably obvious. Maths is a subject that straddles both but remember its a big step from GSCE to A level. Good teachers should ensure an A at GSCE, but a genuine maths skill and interest are required for the step up. Ditto languages.

    Languages are a great idea, if they suit your daughter, as fewer and fewer students study them. It may not get her better/ easier offers for Uni, but it will increase the chances of getting them in the first place.

    If she is an artist/humanities person be careful not to over burden with too many heavy reading subjects eg, history and english

    Does a likely career require certain subject? Does a likely degree require them eg economics and maths? Check Uni admission centres to see how they compare different subjects as they are becoming more discriminating about softer subjects (“studies” in the name 😉 )

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