As thousands of young people across the North West prepare to receive their GCSE and A Level results, Manager of North West Regional College’s award winning Careers Academy, Finneen Bradley, has advice for all those making that next step on their future path.
Finneen and her team, who recently were awarded the prestigious Beacon award, recognising the college as providing the best careers advice in the UK, will be available at NWRC’s three campuses for anyone needing advice on their future.
“Results Days for GCSEs and A Levels bring a wide range of emotions,” explained Finneen. “Some students will be ecstatic that they have achieved the results they need to go on to the next part of their education, others may not have achieved the results they want. However if you are a student that hasn’t received the results you wanted please remember that exam results often reflect a student’s performance on that particular day and often do not show the students true ability. There are always options, so move forward with a positive mindset.
“The most important advice I would give to anyone is not to panic. Do not rush into making a course choice, come in and speak to our specialist careers advisers who can help you make an informed decision about the best way forward.
“There are a huge range of options available post GCSE and A Level, however it is essential that students seek out ethical professional careers advice and guidance on progression routes.
“A decision made in the next few weeks can be the most important of your life, so it’s essential that you take time to make sure it’s the right one.
“In the past we have had occasions where students have made rash decisions to move away from home to study without fully examining the options available to them locally
“For a number of reasons this has not always worked out and can leave the individual in limbo or unsure of what to do next.
“Taking advice now can safeguard against this happening. Our Careers Academy was created with this ethos. There is a two prong approach to the student journey at NWRC; Firstly, fully supporting students to successfully achieve their academic qualification and secondly, growing their soft skills throughout their time here. Planting the seed of employability at induction and growing it, enabling students to successfully progress into Higher Education or entering the world of work.”
North West Regional College offers a huge range of courses open to students aged 16 and over, from Level 1 to Level 6, in Further and Higher Education.
Students who have attained 4/5 or more GCSEs can enrol on a Level 3 Further Education course (the equivalent of three A-Levels) at NWRC in a range of subject areas which include Art and Design, Business, Care and Health, I.T., Hospitality and Catering, Media, Science, Sport, Music, Performing Arts. Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy, Early Years, Construction and the Built Environment, Engineering, Administration and Travel and Tourism.
One year courses at Level 1 and 2, cater for students who want to increase their current GCSE profile and perhaps haven’t successfully achieved as many GCSEs as they would have liked, and can help them get back on track. Successful completion of a Level 2 course allows students to progress to a Level 3 course (the equivalent of three A Levels) and on to Higher Education, University or Employment.
In addition, the apprenticeship route is becoming more attractive for young people. As an apprentice, young people gain nationally recognised qualifications whilst earning a wage, combining practical ‘hands-on’ experience with academic knowledge. Apprentices typically work four days a week and are released by their employer one day a week to attend College.
Apprenticeships are work-based training programmes designed around the needs of employers, and can be used to train both new and existing employees who are moving into a new or changing job role, and need to learn new skills
For students who have already completed their A-Levels or Level 3 course, the attraction of a University equivalent course at their local Further Education (FE) College has never been more appealing.
At NWRC students can choose from a range of Higher Education courses, across a number of curriculum areas in levels such as Higher Level Apprenticeships, Higher National Diplomas, Higher National Certificates and Foundation Degrees. Completion of these vocationally led courses often result in direct employment, continued education and training, or they serve as a stepping stone to a Full Honours Degree.
Foundation Degrees (completed in 2 years full time, or 3 years part time) combine hands on practical learning with academic study which can later be topped up to a full degree. Foundation Degrees are also widely recognised as providing a robust platform for candidates seeking employment.
Higher National Diplomas and Higher National Certificates are a popular option and focus on 'learning by doing' providing skills that can be used in a particular job. HNCs take one year to complete full-time and two years part-time. HNDs take two years full-time and can also be taken part-time, which takes longer.
Most recently, NWRC been part of a new wave of learning through the introduction of Higher Level Apprenticeships (HLAs). Open to Post ‘A’ Level students and those who have undertaken Level 3 qualifications, HLAs allow students to jointly study and work in paid employment in their chosen profession. Courses are funded by the Department for the Economy so students never have to worry about tuition fees.
There are many reasons why studying locally makes sense. As well as the extensive range of courses available, students are also attracted by a number of other benefits from opting for College over University. Many students prefer the smaller class numbers, and the benefit of added individual hours with lecturers and tutors.
Further Education Colleges are the more affordable option, with much lower tuition fees. Students also have to option to live at home, reducing the substantial living and maintenance costs that come with moving away.
With exam results soon to arrive, your next step is just around the corner. There are so many options to choose from, and, if you have still to decide on what’s next and have not yet applied to NWRC, then we are ready to help!
Our courses are designed to set you on the right career path for you – we have courses that prepare you for employment, as well as those designed to progress you to higher level study. The best way to discover if we can help you achieve your ambitions is to visit our 2019 RESULTS DAYS.
These will be held in our Strabane, Limavady and Strand Road, Derry, campuses:
Thursday 15th August (Strand Rd campus only): 10 am – 4:30pm
Friday 16th August (Strand Rd campus only): 10 am – 4:30pm
Thursday 22nd August: 10 am – 4:30pm
Friday 23rd August: 10 am – 4:30pm
Tuesday 27th August: 10 am – 4:30pm
More detail here: http://www.nwrc.ac.uk/event/nwrc-august-clearing-days/