Welcome to Barr Beacon School’s Careers Webpage. This webpage is intended for all students from Year 7 to Year 13 who are seeking to make informed choices about their future. All of the advice is also useful for parents, carers and teachers. For more information about our Careers Programme and our Plan for 2019-2020, please follow the link below.
Our Provider Access Policy for employers can be found by clicking the link below. For additional advice, phone the National Career Service: 0800 100 900.
If you are unsure about your future career, a good starting point is to identify your skills and interests.
Take the BuzzQuiz on www.icould.com
What does your personality predict about your future career: www.bbc.co.uk/guides
Take a Skills Health Check. This takes a few hours but gives in depth advice: www.nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk
Work Experience: When you know what type of job you want, getting experience is vital. You must make sure that this is the right career for you. Work experience can help confirm that the career is what you want or it may be you hadn’t considered certain aspects of the role and it isn’t for you after all. It is better to discover this on a temporary placement, rather than when you start your actual job, after all the hard work it takes to get there.
The big benefit of work experience is that most employers will want it. Some universities too will specify you must have had a work placement before applying to their courses: for example for teaching. As well as this, the skills you gain on your placement can be applied to many different careers; these transferable skills are valued by every employer. It is also an excellent way to network, making links with prospective employers and getting your foot in the door in a hard to crack work area or university course.
Volunteering: Taking part in voluntary work is a wonderful way of giving back to your community but the benefits to you are also huge. You can gain all sorts of valuable transferable skills that will help your personality flourish and prepare you for the world of work. Here are a few ideas of where to get started:
- Ask your tutor or Head of House if there are any roles or clubs you can join in school.
- If you have your own idea for a new extra-curricular club, speak to your Head of House.
- Year 11 and 12 students can take part in NCS (National Citizens Service), an excellent fun filled project: www.ncsyes.co.uk
- Think about joining a local Cadet Force. Barr Beacon School offers its own RAF cadet force.
Starting a business can be a scary prospect but don’t be put off. There is a lot of local support wherever you live to help steer you through the initial stages and keep you on trackMany young people run successful businesses.
Setting up in business and sustaining it, especially in its early stages, is a real challenge. Young people can find it particularly hard to translate business ideas onto a working reality but with the right approach, guidance and support, young entrepreneurs can succeed. This guide looks at the first steps of setting up a business, choosing a legal structure and the rules and regulations you need to be aware of. It also has information about organisations that offer support and finance to would-be entrepreneurs under the age of 30.
People who work for themselves are usually:
- - Creative and imaginative.
- - Good at getting things done.
- - Ambitious and original.
- - Risk takers, but sensible.
- - Good at getting their point across.
- - Hard working and committed.
- - Persuasive sales people.
- - Tough when things go wrong.
If this sounds like you, working for yourself could be an option. These are some points for you to consider:
- You must be prepared to work long hours — self-employed people often end up working from the moment they get up until they go to bed, especially in the early years of a business.
- You will need appropriate skills e.g. self-discipline, initiative, flexibility and administrative skills.
- You will need to choose and research a product or service. Is there a market for it? Who are the prospective customers? Are there enough of them to make a successful business?
Use the following websites to find out how to set up a successful business.
‘Are you a young entrepreneur? If the answer is yes then read on’
If you are interested in setting up your own business then go to the link below. Shell LiveWIRE, the UK’s biggest online community for young entrepreneurs aged 16-30. Established in 1982, the Shell LiveWIRE programme offers free online business advice and start-up awards of £1,000 and £10,000 funding to young entrepreneurs in the UK (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland). Join our community now to help launch your business idea into the world!
Our Careers Adviser is available for appointments Wednesday to Friday. Pupils can book these via their tutor or through the Careers Office. Parents can call the school to book. There is also a drop-in session every Wednesday from 3.00pm until 4.00pm.
Career and Apprenticeship Advice
- www.apprenticeshipguide.co.uk – Information about apprenticeships, what you can study, how to apply, who offers apprenticeships and more.
- www.apprenticeships.org.uk – Information about apprenticeships.
- https://www.careersbox.co.uk/- Useful careers advice videos
- https://www.allaboutschoolleavers.co.uk/ -Support finding a job after school
- https://www.getmyfirstjob.co.uk/ Support finding a job after school
- https://www.notgoingtouni.co.uk/ - Lots of great advice on alternatives to university
- https://www.shaw-trust.org.uk/ - Careers advice specially tailored for disabled pupils
- https://nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk/ - Take a Skills Health Check to help you decide on a future career
- icould.com- Take the Buzz Quiz to discover new careers suited to you and explore different career profiles
- https://www.milkround.com/school-leavers/jobs/ Careers advice for school leavers
- https://www.prospects.ac.uk/ - Fantastic overall careers advice, with job profiles giving lots of information of different careers
- http://www.futuremorph.org/ - Carer opportunities in science and maths
- www.ucas.com – Contains official information on all undergraduate courses including course search, applying and tracking your application.
- https://univeristy.which.co.uk – Fantastic university advice and course search
- www.opendays.com – List dates to university open dates and gives the opportunity to book a place online.
- www.skill.org.uk – National bureau for students with disabilities.
- www.guardian.co.uk/education/higher-education – University ranking tables and subject profiles.
- www.cukas.ac.uk – Conservatories UK admissions service. applicants to most practical music courses in specialist conservatories will need to use this website.
- thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk – Excellent overall advice about university
- www.bmat.org.uk – Biomedical admissions test (BMET) applies to medicine, veterinary medicine and related courses at certain institutions.
- www.lnat.ac.uk – National Admissions Test for Law (LNAT) applies to all applications to undergraduate law degree at certain universities.
- www.ukcat.ac.uk – UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT) for medical and dental schools.
- www.admissionstests.cambridgeassessment.org.uk - Thinking Skills Assessments for applicants to computer science, economics, engineering and natural sciences at cambridge universities (not all colleges).
- https://www.gov.uk/student-finance – Government website giving information on student finance for university and higher education.
- http://www.nus.org.uk/ – Student rights, finance advice, links to other organisations. Also provide NUS card for special student discount offers.
- https://www.myunidays.com/GB/en-GB/content/about - Special student discount offers
- www.yini.org.uk – year in industry provides talented young people with paid degree relevant work placements.
- www.yearoutgroup.org – Association of gap-year providers offering information on opportunities in the UK and overseas.
- www.gapwork.com – Information about gap year jobs, volunteer placements and seasonal work abroad.
- www.erasmus.ac.uk – European study opportunities as part of a UK degree course.
- www.fulbright.co.uk – Information and advice about studying in the USA.
- www.acu.ac.uk – Website for the association of commonwealth universities – provides information on studying abroad.
- www.hotcoursesabroad.com – Details of part-time and holiday jobs aimed at students.
Entry into university is competitive and there are many different options to explore. The school works with many local universities to help keep you informed but a great starting point is to take a look at the following websites and begin searching for different courses and universities that may interest you. Remember universities are trying to attract you, where you go is down to you – no-one else.
- UCAS is the leading website. Universities keep UCAS regularly updated about changes to their courses: www.ucas.com
- Which is another great website to help you explore university. It also includes lots of useful guidance articles: www.university.which.co.uk
- What A levels do you need for the degree you want to study? www.university.which.co.uk
- Attending Open Days is crucial to really get a feel of a university and if it is right for you. Click here to Browse the Opendays.com calendar of university and college open days: www.opendays.com/calendar
It is important to check the entry requirements of each course carefully. Drop into the Sixth Form Office if you need advice: www.ucas.com
- Unistats uses data from entry requirements, student destinations and national student surveys: www.unistats.ac.uk
- Education Guardian focuses on the quality of teaching and what students think: www.theguardian.com
- Push Guide uses a wider variety of factors including money, ease of entry and student life: www.push.co.uk
The personal statement is the most difficult part of your application and will take a lot of thought and redrafting. The school will give you lots of support with this.
These are the main areas that you should include in your personal statement:
- Why do you want to study this course? What interests you the most about this course? Show off your subject knowledge- be geeky. Talk about the super-curricular activities you have engaged with. (This will form the largest part of your statement).
- How are your current subjects/studies relevant to your chosen degree?
- What relevant work experience have you taken part in? Reflect on what you learnt from this experience that will help you on this course.
- Extra achievements/experiences inside and outside of school that will help you succeed on this course.
At Barr Beacon School, we will often encourage you to take part in extra-curricular activities or apply for roles in school, as employers and universities want to see that you do more than just show up for your lessons. Believe it or not, attending lessons and getting good grades is the bare minimum- and we know how hard those grades are to secure. Employers and universities will look at your grades first and if they are high enough, they will then read your application, personal statement and reference and will want to learn a lot more about you from there. However, here is where the crucial difference comes into play.
Employers will love to see as much extra-curricular activities as possible- anything that is ‘extra’ to your studies e.g. Sports Clubs, roles as a Prefect, voluntary work outside of school, School Council etc. Universities however only want to see a little bit of this. They are mostly interested in your super-curricular activities- anything you do above and beyond your learning that is directly linked to the subject you are applying for. For example, if you applying for a Physics course, universities want to hear about the wider reading you do beyond your studies; they want to know about the physics taster lecture you attended at a local university; they are interested in your thoughts on the Ted Talk you watched on astronomy; they want to hear about the MOOC course or EPQ you are completing on quantum mechanics. Be geeky about your subjects. Show how interested you are by going above and beyond what your teachers ask you to do. Ask your teachers for recommended wider reading. This is crucial for success at university and all those extra-curricular activities will pay off when you apply for your first job.
Follow these links to get started:
Student debt should never be seen as a barrier to university, but you definitely need to consider whether you are happy to take on a student loan or if you would prefer going straight into an apprenticeship and earning while you learn. Will you regret not having the student life experience? There is a lot to consider.
Yes, you will have a lot of debt after university, but this only has to be repaid when you are earning enough to start repaying and only a very small percentage of your wages are paid towards your student loan each month. It goes straight out of your bank account too, so it is hassle free. There will be nobody coming to your home to repossess your belongings or chase up your payments, and if you are unable to pay back the loan after 30 years then you won’t ever have to. Think of it more like graduate tax.
These websites have more detailed information to help you decide:
- Direct Gov explains everything in detail and is where you will apply for your student loan: https://www.gov.uk/student-finance
- Student Finance England: https://www.slc.co.uk/
- Money Savings Expert give an excellent, well-informed overview: https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/students/student-loans-tuition-fees-changes/
Working to save money has outgrown the traditional Gap year activities.
If you are an IT, Science, Technology or Business student try the Year In Industry and get a salary of £8,000 – £12,000 before going off to University.
Taking A Year Out is still a popular way to spend a year before going to Uni. This link will take you to 35 specialist providers with UK-based, support and information from the not-for-profit ‘Year Out Group’ organisation.
How to plan a gap year:
Getting your qualifications is the first step onto the road of work. Trying to find a job can be a daunting task. This area will help you and guide you through trying to find a job. It lays out all of the options available to you once you have qualified.
Knowing where to look for a job is vital. Most organisations advertise in a variety of ways:
- Recruitment websites often hold many jobs, such as www.reed.co.uk , www.monster.co.uk and www.jobs.theguardian.com . There are many more.
- Local newspapers will have a jobs section.
- Radio/TV - Local radio stations sometimes run job advertisements.
- In the community and in shops - Check out your local supermarkets and local shops for job advertisements.
- Most available jobs are not posted in any newspaper or on any job website. They are posted on the individual company websites. So check the “career opportunities” on local companies’ websites for job openings.
If the job count in your local area is low or there are no jobs relating to your field, move outwards to a larger scale area e.g a city rather than a local community or even a county rather than a city. Some jobs are unique or so rare that you may be required to search nationally or even internationally to find them. If you are required to travel nationally or internationally, make sure you are able to.
When you start work it is important to be aware of the different rates of pay you may be entitled to.
The National Minimum Wage (NMW) is a minimum amount per hour that most workers in the UK are entitled to be paid.
Current NMW rates
There is a Pay and Work Rights Helpline for help and advice on minimum wage: contact 0800 917 2368.
Most workers in the UK over school leaving age are legally entitled to be paid at least the NMW and all employers have to pay it to you if you are entitled to it. It makes no difference:
- - if you are paid weekly or monthly, by cheque, in cash or in another way
- - if you work full time, part time or any other working pattern
- - if you work at your employer’s own premises or elsewhere
- - what size your employer is
- - where you work in the UK
The word Curriculum Vitae literally translated means the story of your life. Your CV is a very important document; with it rest your hopes and dreams for the future – that next step up the career ladder, a better position, more money and new challenges. Your CV therefore has to represent the best you have to offer if you do not want to miss out on that job you saw which was ‘perfect’ for you. These days employers often receive hundreds of CVs for each advertised position. So your CV has to be just that little bit special to stand out.
You may also need to include a covering letter
You may find the following websites helpful to write your CV:
These websites will give you advice on how to write a cover letter:
Once you have secured your interview, it is very important to prepare. Mock interviews can be provided by our Careers team; just drop into the Sixth Form office to request one.
- Find out about the organisation. Read their website inside out so you understand what they do, what they pride themselves on and what values they expect in their workers. Ask questions via their social media links so they get to know you before the interview.
- Think about yourself. What skills, qualities and achievements have you got that would interest the interviewer. Note down examples of where you have shown and developed these skills. Read your application again and pick out the things you’d like to come out at interview.
- Plan your journey – make sure you know exactly where and when the interview will be. Aim to arrive at the reception area of the company at least 15 minutes before the interview. If possible, have a dry run beforehand and an alternative plan in case something goes wrong.
- Dress appropriately – choose clothes that suit the type of work and fit in with the organisation’s image. Aim to look clean, neat and tidy. Get your clothes ready the day before.
- Always take a pen and something to write on and read your interview instructions carefully in case they have requested that you should bring anything else along.
Use the following websites to help you find out how to complete a successful interview:
- www.collegegrad.com/tough-interview-questions An American website, but a good basis for you to prepare some possible interview answers. This article features tough questions you may be asked at interview.
What are Apprenticeships?
As employees, apprentices earn a wage and work alongside experienced staff to gain job-specific skills. Off the job, usually on a day-release basis, apprentices receive training to work towards nationally recognised qualifications. Anyone living in England, over 16 years-old and not in full-time education can apply. Apprenticeships can take between one and four years to complete depending on the level of Apprenticeship, the apprentices’ ability and the industry sector. The minimum salary is £3.70 per hour; however, many apprentices earn significantly more.
Who are they for?
Apprenticeships are open to all age groups above 16 years-old whether you are just leaving school, have been working for years or are seeking to start a new career. There may be different entry requirements depending on the Apprenticeship and the industry sector. However competition for places with employers can be fierce, so you will need to show that you are committed, and aware of your responsibilities to both yourself and the company who would employ you. You also need to be happy to work as both part of a team and individually, and be able to use your own initiative.
For some jobs a university degree is the only pathway e.g. vet, doctor, architect, etc. and there is no apprenticeship pathway.
Apprenticeships are designed with the help of the employers in the industry, so they offer a structured programme that take you through the skills you need to do a job well. There are targets and checks to make sure that your employer is supporting you and you are making progress. As an employee you will be in employment for most of your time as most training takes place on the job. The rest usually takes place at a local college or a specialist training organisation. You can complete this off-the-job training on day release or over a number of days in a block. The amount of time you spend varies according to your Apprenticeship. It could be anything from one day every other fortnight to two days every week. So all the things you study will be useful in your job and help you succeed in your future career. Your employment will be for at least 30 hours per week. There may be a small number of circumstances where the learner cannot complete the full 30 hours. In these cases employment will be for more than 16 hours per week.
Job Offer + Training Offer = Apprenticeship
Apprenticeships combine employment with work based qualifications such as an NVQs which are assessed by carrying out tasks in the work place.
Commonly asked Questions and Answers
- Will I get holidays? Annual leave is accrued over service.
- Are there any entry requirements? There are different entry grades for different occupations. Some employers may ask for GCSEs at C grade or higher including Maths and English, but you do not need formal qualifications.
- When should I apply? Applications take place between November and April/May each year.
- Will I be employed? Most are ‘employed status’.
- How do I apply? Online application, paper based form, approaching employers directly.
- Do I have to go for an interview/assessment test? You will be asked to attend an interview with the employer & training provider, while some occupational areas will set an assessment test e.g. electrical installation.
Advanced Apprenticeships offer work-based experience alongside training at Level 3
Completing an Advanced Apprenticeship is the equivalent to gaining two A-level passes
Higher Apprenticeships are the next step up, leading to a Level 4 (or above) qualification; in-between A level and Degree level.
Degree level Apprenticeships are essentially a full time job, alongside completing a Degree in your spare time. There will be a few days at university, but most of your time will be spent on the job in training. Your Degree work will therefore need to be completed in addition to a full time job, in your spare time. A lot of hard work is required, however the benefits are huge: not only will you be getting a good wage for the apprenticeship, the employer will also fund your degree. No student loans, no debt and a good salary.
What level should I be working at?
It is ok to start at a lower level. Some companies will want you to start lower and work your way up, especially if you have no experience of the industry. This is normal and it may be you can complete this quicker. It is important to keep your aspirations high. Apprenticeships are a great option for everyone, and more than ever, the highest achieving students are taking an apprenticeship route, securing Higher and Degree level apprenticeships at some of the top employers in the country.
Apprenticeship vacancies for the summer after you finish your qualifications are advertised throughout the year and the closing dates can vary. You need to regularly check on the National Apprenticeship Website: www.gov.uk/apply-apprenticeship or you can search hwww.future-talent.com.
You can also search for Degree Apprenticeships at: www.ucas.com/alternatives
- Search out local employers you could apply to
- Talk to friends and family
- Use the Internet
- Look at LMI information and the local companies in need of employees
- Follow up contacts made on work experience.
- Read the local papers, job section and classified ads for trades.
- Speak to the school’s Careers Adviser
- Check your school emails for opportunities and open days
Apply to Training Providers who have lots of apprenticeship opportunities, such as Performance through People, Rathbone Training and Juniper. These providers can offer you training but you may still need to find an employer to complete the work place assessments required. They can help with this.
Approaching Employers Directly:
First impressions count, make sure they are positive ones. You will need to be proactive to make contact with employers. You could:
- Send a Letter and CV
- Ring them up
- Turn up in Person and leave a CV
- Attend Careers fairs/recruitment fairs
- Be keen, flexible, polite and presentable.
Parent/Carer - Careers Newsletter Summer 2020 - HERE
Parent/Carer Guide to University - HERE
Parent/Carer Guide to Apprenticeships - HERE
Student Finance Guidance
What is Labour Market Information (LMI)?
Labour Market Information (LMI) tells us all about what is happening in the world of work, or the labour market.
What can LMI tell us?
- The number of job vacancies in each job sector.
- The type of vacancies — if they are part-time, full-time, temporary, seasonal or permanent.
- General trends in the world of work — such as which types of business are doing well or failing.
- What kind of businesses are opening, or closing down, in your area.
- The skills and qualifications that employers are looking for.
- What qualification levels and subjects people have.
- How many people are looking for work.
Why do I need LMI?
- LMI can give you a clear view of what is happening in the world of work, so you can make realistic plans when choosing your career.
- Knowing about things like the number and type of job vacancies, how work is changing and what employers are looking for can make it easier to plan what to do next.
- It will also help you to find out about the qualifications and employability skills you will need for your career ideas.
- LMI can give you an idea of the job situation and help you to find out which subjects or courses you might need for your career ideas.
STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
STEM subjects are integral to the UK’s success: the UK is the world’s sixth-largest manufacturer, engineering turnover is around £800 billion per year, and whilst the UK makes up only 1% of the world’s population, we produce 10% of the world’s top scientific research. Despite this, it is remarkable to note that even though STEM graduates have the potential to earn amongst the highest salaries of all new recruits, employers are finding it difficult to recruit STEM skilled staff . Alongside our need for a skilled STEM workforce, it is crucial that all young people, regardless of their future career pathway, have the STEM knowledge and skills they need to be an informed citizen in an increasingly scientific and technological society.
There is now a greater need for science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) concepts to integrate with the arts (STEAM) across the wider curriculum. Businesses need employees to have multiple areas of expertise or at least appreciate how a range of skills fit together.
If you are interested in a career in science, technology, engineering or mathematics then you must use this website. The Future Morph website is designed to show you just some of the amazing and unexpected places that studying science, technology, engineering and maths can take you. Think of this as your base camp, your launch pad, the door is open come on in and explore.
Dos and Dont’s for using LMI
- LMI by Region
- Opportunities in Finance
- Opportunities in Food & Accommodation
- Opportunities in Manufacturing & Engineering
- Opportunities in Retail
- Opportunities in Transport & Logistics
- Profile - Aldridge
- Profile - Streetly
- Profile - Walsall
- Sector Profile - Advanced Manufacturing & Engineering
- Sector Profile - Business & Professional Services
- Sector Profile - Construction
- Sector Profile - Digital
- Spotlight - Advanced Manufacturing in Walsall
- Spotlight - Retail