School leaver blog: results day special

With results days for certain vocational qualifications, A levels and GCSEs just around the corner, this week’s blog will provide you with your usual round-up of news and all things school-leaver, but with a focus on the big day that’s coming up. Read on for opportunities you may not have considered and for useful tips ahead of results day.

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Weekly news digest

UK universities’ last minute fight for new recruits to be the most competitive yet

It is expected that this year’s round of clearing will be the most competitive yet, with universities vying to attract students to thousands of unfilled courses. Courses with vacancies include law, medicine, English and maths, with universities such as Bristol, Exeter and Leeds posting vacancies before results day. Richard O’Kelly, the head of data and analysis at Ucas, said: “We don’t think it’s unreasonable to see more than 70,000 students get their place through clearing this year, 80,000 even.”

Russell Group universities set to admit students with CDD grades

Russell Group universities >will admit students with grades as low as CDD, offering them an extra “foundation” year to prepare them for their undergraduate courses. Foundation-year courses at universities charge the full £9,250 in tuition fees, and they have been criticised as worse value to taxpayers than further-education colleges, which can prepare students for university at a lower cost. A recent government review into further education recommended that funding for foundation years should be scrapped.

Top universities set aside thousands of clearing places for international students

Almost 1,000 courses at Russell Group universities are reserved for overseas students, who pay higher fees than British and EU undergraduates. International students can pay double or treble what home students pay, making them a lucrative source of revenue for universities. Universities UK, which represents 136 universities, said: “We are pleased that the global reputation of UK higher education sees continued high demand from international students who contribute a huge amount to the UK.”

Exam Results Helpline partners with Mental Health UK ahead of results day

Ahead of results days for some vocational qualifications, A levels and GCSEs, the National Careers Service’s Exam Results Helpline has partnered with Mental Health UK to help students make the best choices after their results come in. The National Results Helpline will be available from August 14 to help students manage their emotions and decide what steps to take next, even if their results are unexpected. Before then, both of these organisations will be releasing all sorts of useful articles and videos for students and parents alike.

“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.” —Nelson Mandela

Career insight of the week: being flexible and aware of your options

This week we’re taking a look at a skill that will help you on results day and beyond: doing your research. While hard work often pays off, it’s just as important to be aware of the opportunities available to you and flexible to change.

Hopefully, results day will only bring positive surprises. But even if it doesn’t, it’s a great opportunity to start practising flexibility when it comes to your career. You might look for a different university course through clearing or take a gap year to gain work experience or reconsider your options. You could also look into degree apprenticeships (read about Ben Moffatt’s degree apprenticeship below) or look into other apprenticeships if you didn’t secure the one you wanted.

It can be disappointing at first, but learning how to troubleshoot when things don’t go to plan is an invaluable skill that you’ll likely have to use multiple times in your career. If you’re stuck for what to do next, check out our advice section to learn more about the many options available to you.

Weird and wonderful apprenticeships: chocolatier

You’ve probably been told quite a few times that the choices you make now will not determine the rest of your career. But it’s true—life takes unexpected turns, and there are plenty of opportunities out there that you’ve probably never considered. Cue our weird—and certainly wonderful—apprenticeship of the week: the chocolatier apprenticeship.

A chocolatier’s work consists of experimenting with chocolate to create all sorts of treats. While the job is competitive and requires numerous technical skills, it’s many school leavers’ dream job. Paul A. Young, an artisan chocolatier at the forefront of the industry, takes on apprentices at his business and was once an apprentice himself. He describes apprenticeships as “a brilliant way to learn” and the job of a chocolatier as one that “never ceases to be exciting”.

Spotlight on: Ben Moffatt, degree apprentice

Instead of following the “traditional” university or apprenticeship path, Tes’ #InspiringApprentice Ben Moffatt decided to embark on a degree apprenticeship—a programme which combines paid work with part-time study for a university degree (with its cost covered by the apprentice’s employer and the university). 

Moffatt is working as a hazard evaluation laboratory scientist at Sterling Pharma Solutions at the moment, and he hopes his apprenticeship will help him become a laboratory manager later on. He enjoys his work “immensely”, and he’s convinced that a degree apprenticeship is an excellent school-leaver option which has provided him with an “amount of experience [...] which allows [him] to stand out” compared to other university graduates.

Recommended reading

  1. Things don’t always go according to plan, but it’s not the end of the world. Here’s everything you need to know about the clearing process and how to make the most of it. 
  2. University degrees are not the only option for school leavers, and results day can be the perfect time to consider a variety of different paths. Here are some alternatives to university degrees that will get you the best jobs
  3. Are you considering deferring your entry to university or another school leaver programme? Read up on some of the pros and cons to make the best decision.
  4. Eve Bennett—one of the most influential student Youtubers in the UK—opens up about her experience and shares some excellent tips to help you prepare for results day in her new video. 
  5. Finally, after results day, it’s likely that you’ll still have a long stretch of summer to go (if not a gap year)—and plenty of time to experience boredom. Why not kill time by reading about how boredom can make you a more interesting person?

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