Learning and career planning

Learning and career planning go together

Thinking about your career options now will help you make good decisions at the right time. It really isn’t too soon to start looking ahead! 

Year 7 - start secondary school (Key Stage 3)

In Year 7 you usually start at secondary school. Studying new subjects, making new friends, and finding your way around a new school might seem difficult at first, but you will probably find that you get used to everything more quickly than you expect. Towards the end of Year 7, it might be useful to start thinking about subjects you do and don’t like. You could also start looking into different careers - just to give you some ideas. It’s never too early to start your career planning, even if you change your mind several times.

Year 8/9 - choose courses and subjects for Key Stage 4

By the end of Year 8 or 9, you might have to decide which subjects you are going to study up to Year 11, this is known as ‘choosing your options’. It is important because if you want to go into a particular job in the future, you might need to choose certain subjects for your options.

When choosing your options, it’s good to think about subjects you enjoy, are good at and any that you need for future career plans.

Year 9/10 - Key Stage 4

Key Stage 4 is the final part of secondary school. This is when the work you do at school really counts towards your GCSE grades. If you haven't already chosen your options (deciding which subjects you are going to study up to Year 11) then you will be doing so before the end of Year 9. If you have already chosen your options, you will now be studying the subjects you picked, which may include some new subjects. Hopefully, you are enjoying them and thinking about where they may lead you in the future.

If you need help thinking about jobs that might suit you and where your school subjects may lead, you could try a careers quiz. 

If you’re in Year 10, you may have already started to think about your post-16 options - deciding what you want to do at the end of Year 11. You have to stay in learning until you are 18, but you don’t have to stay at school - so you need to research all your options and decide which is best for you.

Choices include studying full-time or getting an apprenticeship. You can also choose to work full-time, run your own business or do voluntary work, as long as you also do education or training alongside this, until you are 18.

Year 11 - research and apply for what you are going to do after Year 11

Year 11 is an important year! As well as submitting coursework or preparing for exams, you’ll also be finalising your plans for when you finish Year 11.

During Year 11 you could be attending college or sixth form open days and careers events as well as applying for courses.

If you are interested in getting an apprenticeship after Year 11, you will need to write your CV and start making applications. If you need some help, you can get in touch with the Progress Team.

Year 12 or age 16/17 - invest in your future

You may now be studying at a college, in a sixth form or with a training provider. You may be on an apprenticeship, or you may still be looking for a course, job or an apprenticeship.

If you are still looking, or are not happy on your course or apprenticeship, contact the Progress Team for help. If you are on a one year course or apprenticeship and wondering about your next steps, you can apply for options such as college courses, jobs or apprenticeships.

If you are on a two year course and thinking about higher education (HE) in the future, you can start your research. You can find lots of information on HE websites, but if possible, try to visit some university open days or fairs too.

Year 13 or age 17/18 - research and apply for what you are going to do after Year 13 or when you have completed your apprenticeship

If you are on the second year of a two year, level 3 course, and are thinking about higher education (HE), you can submit your application to UCAS from the beginning of September. If you haven’t started writing your personal statement yet, then this is something you need to be doing. The deadline for a few courses and universities is 15 October. For most courses, the deadline is the last Wednesday in January. If you have missed this deadline, don’t panic, you can still apply! 

If you are considering a higher level apprenticeship as an alternative to full-time higher education, you can start to look for apprenticeship vacancies. Prepare your CV - having an up to date CV will help when making applications. It will also help you to identify your skills and qualities and provide a record of your qualifications.

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