By Emma Bagnall, Level 6 Careers Practitioner for EBP South and Basingstoke Consortium.

On Wednesday 18th March is was announced that Friday would be the last day of school for most year 11 and 13 students.

Now they are having to cope with huge changes from missing out on taking their GCSEs/A Levels or Vocational qualifications and being able to earn their grades.

Whilst students’ grades will now be calculated by a mixture of teacher assessment and performance to date, there is still a lot of uncertainty around the fairness and distribution of grades to the students.  This leaves many feeling apprehensive about their future.

EBP South, an educational charity that usually provides in school career information, advice and guidance alongside a range of career programmes to 100’s schools in Hampshire has adapted their business to now provide this online.

A key focus for them is to ensure that students still feel they have ongoing support and somewhere to reach out to for career information, advice and guidance.

The key message to all students and parents is that there are plenty of options still available!

Those looking to go to college can access their local colleges via the websites, look at the types of courses that might suit them from A Levels to T Levels or vocational qualifications.  Many are still accepting applications online. 

Colleges have adjusted their processes to interview remotely and engage with the students to support them in making good decisions that work for them.  Encourage your young person to stay positive and motivated maybe looking at online courses in their areas of interest, thinking about their communication skills and adapting to talking on the phone and via video calls for their interviews.

Students interested in apprenticeships may have already applied and be concerned about their place, the best advice is to contact the companies direct and ask what the current position of their apprenticeship application is and the next steps they need to take. Remember this is a very challenging time for employers and things could change so having a backup plan is highly recommended.

For students who are starting to explore options for apprenticeships there are still opportunities out there; positions may become very competitive with fewer on offer than usual - this is likely to change as business resumes.

Being proactive exploring their options via all pathways will be key and will support their success.  For instance:

  • Contact companies and research their websites.
  • Talk to colleges or training providers about apprenticeships.
  • Have a great CV in place.
  • Continue to develop employability skills.

Many students may consider this a time of loss as they are missing out on vital schooling.  However, there are many opportunities to demonstrate motivation, resilience, continual learning and develop communication and teamwork skills remotely during this time. These skills are critical to any business or further/higher education offers and will support their continued success and achievement.

Our guidance to all students is to try and remain positive, focus on their goals, understand who they are, their skills, qualities and values.  Use this to plan and organise their time to best develop themselves for whatever future path they desire.

To aid parents and students in planning for and exploring their next steps, EBP South have:

  • Made their resources free and accessible on their website
  • Are continuing to provide online careers information with an experience career practitioner
  • Have developing a series of short videos about a to provide a quick overview of common questions.

To access these resources and services visit: www.ebpsouth.co.uk

Online Careers Support and Resources.