With thousands of North East school leavers considering their futures after receiving their GCSE results, Judith Doyle, principal and chief executive at Gateshead College, is urging young people to carefully consider their future options…
“Having received their GCSE results, hundreds of young people in the North East will now be faced with a multitude of options as they plan their next steps.
“This can be a scary time for teenagers, particularly those who perhaps haven’t got the grades they were looking for. It can be an equally as confusing time for those who have done better than expected and aren’t sure which step to take next. Even if this is the case, help is at hand and a variety of academic and vocational options are available – regardless of the circumstances.
“GCSEs are just the first step in a long, winding road that will hopefully lead to a rewarding, career but it’s important that students make the right choice now to give them the best chance of success.
“For many, staying on at school to study A-Levels would seem to be the natural thing to do. Taking the traditional academic path will work for some, but others may feel they could benefit from a different way of learning in another environment.
“Apprenticeships and other forms of vocational training can also lead to higher level qualifications or a sustainable job. They equip students with the creative, practical and entrepreneurial skills and ambition needed by employers. With English and mathematics integrated into every programme, students also acquire the numeracy and literacy skills that are essential to every job.
“There’s no one size fit all approach to education and skills development. Apprenticeships and vocational learning shouldn’t be viewed as a poor alternative to the traditional academic route of A-Levels.
“Our students are evidence of this. Young champion boxer Brodie Stephenson, on an Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence (AASE), is now enrolled on the England Boxing Talent Pathway Programme which helps budding boxers fulfil their potential and compete on the national stage. Or take Corben Jones, who has used a live events production course at the college as the springboard to progress to the prestigious London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA), where he is studying for a production and technical arts degree.
“Sometimes it can be easy to stay on at school because that seems to be the “right” thing to do. While this may hold true for some people, for others it won’t be a natural fit. Making the smart choice, rather than the obvious choice, is vital.
“Whatever happened on results day, it’s not the end of the world if the outcome is disappointing or not as expected. Young people should remember that good quality careers advice is available. For those who need some guidance, our careers advisors – who are part of a Beacon award-winning careers advice service – are available to talk through the options.
“With the right level of support and guidance, there is every chance that students can embark on an education route that’s right for them – one that puts them firmly on the path to a rewarding career.”
To find out more about Gateshead College and the courses on offer, visit www.gateshead.ac.uk/employer