School-leavers urged to choose path that ‘best suits you’ at Step Up Expo - CCCG
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School-leavers urged to choose path that ‘best suits you’ at Step Up Expo

School-leavers were urged to choose the right education and career path for them when they discovered more about their post-16 options at the first Evening Standard Step Up Expo.

School-leavers urged to choose path that ‘best suits you’ at Step Up Expo

Thousands of students descended on Olympia London where more than 100 education providers including Capital City College Group (CCCG), employers and youth organisations had stands.

CCCG is London’s largest further education college group and comprises City and Islington College, Westminster Kingsway College and the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London, and apprenticeship and training provider Capital City College Training.

Students heard more about their post-16 choices – A Levels, T Levels, vocational qualifications such as a BTECs, and apprenticeships – and the range of subjects available to them after school.

School-leavers urged to choose path that ‘best suits you’ at Step Up Expo

Adam Beral, Deputy Director at City and Islington College, and Carl Boyd, Assistant Principal at Westminster Kingsway College, shared their advice at a series of panel discussions at the show.

“There are two things I speak about when people are trying to make a decision about what they want to do when they leave school,”  he said.

“The first thing is what do you see yourself doing in the future, what’s your goal, what’s your career ambition? There are very few jobs, I would say you need to do A Levels for. We’re talking about medicine, veterinary and politics, and even in those subjects there are still students doing BTECs or T Levels who will go on to get those jobs. For any other career, you can choose whatever route that best suits you to get there.

“The second question I always ask is what do you enjoy doing? Are you someone who learns best by classroom learning from expert and taking notes and doing academic research, or are you someone who learns best by doing, using your hands and applying that knowledge?

“If you are someone who learns best by doing, then something like a T Level or BTEC or an apprenticeship is going to get you where you want to go, not only quicker but you’ll have a bit more fun along the way.”

Adam explained that A Levels results are determined purely by end-of-year exams whereas T Levels, vocational courses and apprenticeships use a mix of exam and course assessments but both are legitimate routes to university.

“Even if you go down the T Level or BTEC route and you decide you want to continue your education, you still can. It isn’t so much about A levels requiring one set of entry requirements and T Levels and BTECs requiring another, but much more about your preferred way of learning and what your aspirations are,” he said.

School-leavers urged to choose path that ‘best suits you’ at Step Up Expo

Hundreds of students visited CCCG’s stand to find out more about the extensive choice of qualifications available and its relationships with employers across London.

CCCG’s innovative tuition free coding school 01 Founders also had a stand where students had the chance to take part in some basic coding challenges including programming a drone.

Harry Gardiner, 26, joined 01 Founders eight months ago having felt uncertain about his future after working in various jobs since graduating with a degree in music technology.

He said: “I like games and seeing how things work and using maths algorithms, so I thought I would look at some bootcamps and third-party training because I didn’t want to go back to university. I stumbled upon 01 Founders. It looked really good and had a job at the end of it, and it was free.

“I’ve found it fascinating, as I have never had this type of learning style before with no teachers or set time to complete a course. It’s really down to your own self-discipline and motivation, but you also get to collaborate as you learn. When you come up against a wall and everyone has the same problem and you work together to solve it, it gives you so much confidence.

“I’ve been working with my team to create a new social network. If someone had said to me at the very start of the course in eight months you could be making something like Facebook or Instagram, I would have laughed in their face. The course leads you from project to project– once you’ve learned this you can apply it to this, and when you know that you can do this – it’s very fluid.

“I now feel confident about my future. If I work hard and nail the projects, the world’s my oyster.”

Students leaving school this summer are urged to apply now with enrolment taking place in August.

Find out more about course and apprenticeships with CCCG and apply here.


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