What next? Higher Level Education, Advanced or Higher Apprenticeship, a Job, University?
Remember those ambitions and aspirations we talked about in the Further Education section? May be you knew the Career Pathway you wanted to follow at 16+ and 18+ a while ago? Or maybe you wanted to take more time, try different things, improve your qualifications, or further develop your English, Maths and communication skills before deciding which direction to go in at age 18? Still not sure? Look at the National Careers Service website www.nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk for loads of help with an action plan. This will help you focus the good ideas you already have, give you key facts about a variety of jobs, help you carry out a skills health check, and show you how to build your CV!
Don't forget, aiming higher in education or training doesn't just mean going to University. The term 'Higher Education' describes courses of study within the 'Framework for Higher Education Qualifications' - so you can achieve a higher education qualification such as a Higher National Certificate (Level 4), an intermediate Higher National Diploma (Level 5) or Foundation Degree (Level 5) at local FE Colleges. If you do think University is the right place for you, 'A' levels aren't the only way of getting there to do an Honours degree (Level 6) - all of the above, as well as BTEC Level 3 Diplomas, Level 4 NVQs and Advanced and Higher Apprenticeships, are routes into University because they credit you with a number of UCAS points. You can count points built up from a mixture of these different qualifications to apply through UCAS - (more about UCAS later).
Writing your Personal Statement
Your Personal Statement is your vital opportunity to tell the Admissions Tutor about your suitability for a course. You need to demonstrate your enthusiasm and commitment - you need to stand out from the crowd! That doesn't mean you should use inappropriate language though, don't try to be 'quirky' and absolutely do not cheat - Admissions Tutors can recognise copied texts and will not consider you at all if it isn't yours. So what do they want?:
- A clear, concise well written statement, no spelling mistakes, no repetition, a beginning, middle and end, interesting, varied vocabulary
- Say why you have chosen this course
- Demonstrate an understanding of your chosen subject
- Talk about your current studies with interest
- Yes again - talk about Ambitions and Aspirations
- Tell them about your work experience , volunteer work, extra curricular activities
- Describe examples as evidence of relevant skills, talk about your strengths and interests
- If you have overcome adversity in some way by being in care, maybe you have a disability or learning difficulty, may be you have learnt English very quickly, explain how that has made you a stronger person - be proud of your achievements
University websites provide guidelines to help you. Draft, redraft, proof read and ask your Carer and teacher to read it and give constructive comments.
Not sure about continuing full time study at 18+? Really want to get a job?
It's not too late to do a higher level apprenticeship training scheme. Advanced Apprenticeships are Level 3 and Higher Apprenticeships are Level 4 and 5. You can apply to a local college and become 'employed' by them. They sort of act like a recruitment agency and match you with a suitable employer through the Apprenticeship Training Agency. Or, you can find an employer yourself and work directly for them while training as an apprentice. Some employers send their apprentices to college for part of the week, but sometimes they have their own specialist training centres or have links with Universities who carry out the training programme for them.
'But I just want to get a job, I've been in education all this time, I'm 18 now, I've got some qualifications, I don't need any more and want to be independent!'. So - update your CV with your latest qualifications, work experience, interests, sporting or other achievements; do some voluntary work while you're job seeking; look at https://www.gov.uk/jobsearch, www.thisisleicestershire.co.uk; buy the Leicester Mercury; register with recruitment agencies and be pro active - don't wait for vacancy adverts - send your CV to companies with a covering letter! Minimum wage for 18 -20 year olds is £5.60 and age 21+ is £7.05.
Open Days and Useful Contacts
Local University Open Days:
- DMU - DeMontfort University have several Open Days throughout the year. Their current dates and how to book on to them can be found here.
- Loughborough University - Their current dates and how to book on to them can be found here.
- There are also Student Union Campus Tours every Wednesday afternoon during term time. Full details can be found here.
- University of Leicester - there are open days throughout June, July, September and October. Full details and the booking form can be found here.
- Advanced and Higher Apprenticeships - check the websites of companies you're interested in, look out for adverts in local papers, and look at the OPEN DAYS list for FE Colleges on the Information and Guidance section
Useful contacts are:
http://propel.org.uk/ (Provides comprehensive information about what each University across the Country is able to offer a care leaver)