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Parental Guides

Post 16: A Parents Guide 


As a parent or carer you will want to help your child succeed. It may not always feel like it, but research shows that parents have a key influence on their child’s careers choices! Whatever your child decides to do they will need lots of support. This guide aims to ensure you have information at your fingertips about some of the key elements.

The Importance of Skills and Qualifications

Between the ages of 14 and 18 your chid will be starting on an important career journey. It will be useful for them to explore a range of different learning and work options to construct a future that makes the most of their strengths and interests. Their active involvement in this process is crucial so that they are happy with the decisions they make.

Skills and qualifications are going to be very important for your child’s future. Most jobs will require qualifications at a minimum of level 2/3 in the future. (See the link below for an explanation of qualification levels). Therefore, qualifications and skills are an important foundation for future success.

Encourage and support your child to research the careers they are considering thoroughly and the likely future trends. There is a wide range of printed and online material available to  help them do this. Check out some of the websites we suggest in the ‘useful sources of information’ section of this guide and encourage your child to seek expert and impartial advice and guidance.

Post 16 Qualifications

The law now requires that all young people continue in some kind of education or training until the age of 18. So what are your child’s options at the end of year 11?  They can attend college and study A levels or one of a range of work-related qualifications. Alternatively they could do an Apprenticeship or Internship, or start a job or voluntary work with training.

College prospectuses set out details of the qualifications they offer. Have a look at these with your child so that you understand the entry requirements, the size of the qualification, how students will learn, and where the qualifications can lead. Full-time qualifications at school and college are classified as follows:

Academic Qualifications – allow young people to study more than one subject in depth. They include GCSEs and A levels and the International Baccalaureate.

Vocational Qualifications –often relate to a broad employment sector such as Health and Social Care or a specific sector such as Engineering.

Apprenticeships and Traineeships:

Traineeships – include work preparation, work experience, Maths and English study and prepare young people for Apprenticeships.

Apprenticeships - are available to anyone aged 16 and over, who has clear career ideas and wants to start a job with structured training. They provide the opportunity to work for an employer, earn a wage and gain qualifications alongside workplace skills. They take between one and five years to complete and are available at different levels.

Intermediate Apprenticeships – usually require GCSE’s at grade 3 (D) or above.  Please check with providers for exact entry requirements.

Advanced Apprenticeships – usually require four GCSE’s at grade 9 - 4 (A*- C) or the equivalent.  Please check with providers for exact entry requirements.

Please see local and national businesses or training providers for their exact entry requirements.

Higher Level Qualifications - there are a wide range of higher level qualifications open to young people who have a level 3 qualification, including over 37,000 different degree courses. There are also foundation year courses if your child does not meet the requirements for direct entry to a degree. The UCAS website provides comprehensive information about higher education courses.

Higher Level and Degree Apprenticeships – are available to young people who are 18 or over with a level 3 qualification. They provide a new route to the professions allowing young people to gain high level skills and qualifications at levels 4 to 7. They provide access to jobs that only graduates could do in the past. Higher apprentices can do a foundation degree (level 4) and possibly a BSc/BA/BEng (level 6) or even an MSc/MA/MEng (level 7), depending on the employer.  Higher level apprentices get paid at the same time and at a higher rate than intermediate or advanced apprenticeships. 

Levels of Education and Training

Whatever your child chooses to do in life, there is likely to be a qualification to help them do it. Encourage them to look at the options available and choose the one that will help them succeed. The link below provides an overview of qualifications at different levels. It is important to remember that qualifications at the same level have similar demands and degrees of difficulty. 

See What Different Qualifications Mean

Parents' Guide to T-Levels 

Support for parents and guardians Information 

Click here for the Support for parents and guardians.

Parents’ Guide to Careers and Next Steps