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at 17/18?

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In Year 12 or 13 at school or at college and deciding what to do next?

A Levels? Foundation Degree? Honours Degree? Masters Degree? Vocational Course? Certificate or Diploma of Higher Education? NVQ? Apprenticeship? Job?...

Do you need to know about:

Just what should you choose?

If you're in Year 12, or the first year of an Advanced level course, you may be wondering if you should carry on to the second year of the course.

If you're in Year 13, doing the final year of your Advanced level course, you may be deciding on higher education - should you go on to a degree course?  If so, which subject to take and where to go?

Maybe you know what you want to do for a career and you're planning to get started on a vocational course, for example a degree in nursing or engineering, or an Apprenticeship, as soon as you've finished your course?

Or maybe you've no idea yet and you're planning to do a general course like a degree in a subject you're good at? 

Whatever you're thinking about doing next you do need to start planning for your future:

  • If you're looking for work after your current course, you need to find out just what the job and Apprenticeship vacancy situation is in the Black Country.
  • If you're not sure about your career plan, you need to start getting some job ideas together.

Remember, too, that the world of work is always changing. There will be jobs around in a few years that just don't exist at the moment, and jobs that are around now that may not be around for ever - so it pays to find out as much as possible about the job market when you're planning your career.  

Starting points for Career Planning

Your Connexions Personal Adviser/Careers Adviser will continue working with you until you are 19 - and up to 25 if you have a learning difficulty or disability. Personal Advisers (PAs) can help you with a whole range of issues including help with career choice, choosing your next step at the end of year 12 or 13, and planning for your future. Ask for help if you need it.

Fast Tomato - Ask your school or college for a login for this career matching program. It includes quizzes to help find out more about you, and uses this information to suggest ideas for courses, careers and jobs that may suit you.

National Careers Service job profiles - With information on over 700 different jobs you should be able to get lots of ideas, and may just find the right one for you! You can find all about your job ideas including the pay, the training, and how to get a first foot on the ladder. 

icould.com - why not look at this site which has videos of people doing real jobs?

Starting points for finding out about the World of Work

This World of Work Black Country site provides information on the job market - locally, nationally and globally, as well as all the different job sectors to help you think about the areas of work you are interested in.

So why not find out all about: 

  • Different job sectors to help you find out which areas of work sound interesting. Go to job sectors and start exploring.
  • The job market to help you find out about the range of industries and type of work available. Go to the job market and find out more.
  • The skills that employers are looking for - to help you develop the right skills for the future. Go to employability skills.
  • Where the jobs will be in the future - to help you find out where the opportunities may be in the future. Go to future jobs.

Finding out about learning opportunities

For more information about the courses and work-based training, up to Advanced level, on offer locally for 14-19 year olds, why not check out your local area prospectus?

For Apprenticeships where you are employed and paid a wage, you can also look at:

  • Your local Connexions websites where you'll find a Job Search facility, which has details of any available Black Country Apprenticeships to apply for. Select either Sandwell, Walsall or Wolverhampton sites.
  • The national Apprenticeship Vacancy Matching Service, allows you to search, apply and then manage applications, for Apprenticeships and Advanced Apprenticeships offered by employers anywhere in England.

For Degree level courses:

Go to the UCAS* website, Updated hourly, this has an online database of 50,000+ HE courses on offer at 324 universities and colleges. You'll find information about subjects, courses, where they are offered, what the entry requirements are and the cost of fees. You can also fast-link to the websites of universities and colleges that interest you.

*UCAS is the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service. It provides a central application service for full-time undergraduate courses in the UK.