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For Pupils

When you started WKS, decisions were made for you by your parents/carers, local authorities and teachers.

You may have followed your timetable, you wore your uniform and when you could go for lunch.  Whilst at WKS we offer a more flexible approach to your learning, we will support you to step towards the adult world so that it will not be as  overwhelming. 

The biggest challenge is making decisions! How can you decide what to do?  

FIRSTLY, do your research:

Think about what you like doing and use the career quizzes and personality tests on the web links here.

Look at the type of jobs by sector by Explore Careers using the websites here

Think about where you’d like to be in two, five, even ten years' time. Sit down and create a plan of how you might get there. Why not take inspiration from people you admire? Speak to them and ask how they get to where they are?

SECONDLY, do NOT worry:

You can change your mind and change your career pathway!

No matter what age you are, you can always go back to learning, change your degree or job, do another apprenticeship, or even re-train. 

Remember, everyone's career journey is different, so only on what feels right for you.  WKS staff, family & friends can be really useful in helping you discover and decide on your next steps. 

If you don’t know what you want to do after leaving school – and even if you do – WKS will help you shape your future.  

Click on the following buttons to access more information to help you with your decision-making.  

If you have a question or need more information, please email Mrs Shallcross hshallcross@wkrs.co.uk or ask your teaching staff to arrange a meeting with Mrs Shallcross.  

Unifrog:

Helping our pupils find their future

Unifrog is an online platform that allows you to explore different careers, from Year 7 to 9, post-16 and post-18 options.  Unifrog brings all the available information into one, impartial, user-friendly platform to help students to make the best choices, provide appropriate information, and support with the submission of the strongest applications when applying for the next steps.

Explore what subjects you would be interested in studying and how these choices can lead to different career paths and higher education.

  • Discover from year 7 and sign up to online courses in areas that you’re interested in.

  • See what is needed to make a successful application for post-16/18 options.

  • Explore how to successfully apply for an apprenticeship or university course, including universities abroad.

To access unifrog, click here

If you have forgotten your password, click on Sign In, then click on Reset Password/Resend Welcome Email. Follow the instructions from there.

At West Kirby School our aim is to ensure that all students have the resources to fully explore and research their future options in order to make informed choices. For any additional information about the career guidance support your child is receiving, please contact Mrs Shallcross, Career Pathways Officer on hshallcross@wkrs.co.uk

Considering going to college or sixth form after leaving WKS?

One of the biggest decisions you need to make in Year 11 whilst you are studying for your GCSEs is whether to stay on at at WKS for Post 16 or attend a sixth form school/college or further education college.

This is a great opportunity to decide what is right for you.  In the UK there are three types of further education:

  • School Sixth forms
  • Sixth Form Colleges
  • Further Education Colleges or Vocational College

It’s a tough choice, so you’ll want to know the difference between the three. They are all great options for getting where you want to go in your career.  There are differences to keep in mind, not just studying, but also the culture and environment.  It’s important to know about these differences, so you can make your mind up about which direction suits you best.

School Sixth Form

School Sixth forms offer a variety of AS & A-level and BTEC qualifications and they are attached to a secondary school, which is why they are often referred to as school sixth forms. Sixth form is often the most natural choice for academically minded students wishing to go through to university. 

Many aspects will be the same as secondary school. You may have to wear a uniform or adhere to their clothing policy. 

Depending on the school policy, you will still call the teaching staff 'sir' or 'miss'.  They are meant for young people aged 16 to 18.

The school will offer a range of Level 3 qualifications, which can help with getting into university, apprenticeships or employment.

Why not look at the local college offered in your local area in the useful links section here

Sixth Form College

Sixth Form Colleges offer the same type of qualifications as a school sixth form, A and AS-level and BTEC courses however, sixth form colleges offer a wider variety of subjects to students.

Being larger campuses, sixth form colleges have a much larger and more diverse population of students. This can provide students with a greater sense of independence and can also offer opportunities for socialising and making new friends.

Sixth form colleges tend to sit somewhere in the middle between traditional school sixth form and further education vocational colleges.

Most students have a timetable that includes lessons 4–5 days a week, with plenty of private study time included throughout the week.  

Students wear their own clothes and would normally refer to staff by their first name.

Further Education/Vocational Colleges

Most colleges offer A-levels, similar to school sixth forms, but they also offer other qualifications and subjects at a variety of levels, from entry level to higher level qualifications,  including vocational courses.  Vocational qualifications offer practical learning programmes that relate to specific job roles or job sectors.

There are many different types of vocational qualifications in a wide range of subjects at all levels. Vocational courses are designed to help students learn in a practical about a specific job area, helping them to get the skills needed to start a job, progress in a career or go on to higher education.

The choice of vocational courses, T-Levels or even apprenticeships at college could open the door to more options in the future, because you will have the opportunity to make connections with the companies which the college is in partnership with.  Colleges often have more extensive resources than school sixth forms, including state-of-the-art equipment and facilities. This can be particularly relevant for students studying technical or scientific subjects who may need access to specialised equipment and resources to complete their coursework.

The environment at a college is generally more ‘adult’, and students are expected to take more responsibility for themselves.   

Most students have a timetable that includes lessons 3–4 days a week.

Students wear their own clothes and would normally refer to staff by their first name.

So in a nutshell, what is the difference?

In summary, some of the main areas of differences between college and sixth form to consider are:

  • Curriculum – as mentioned above, colleges tend to offer a wider range of options whereas the sixth form focuses on a more structured academic route.
  • Structure – sixth form will be part of a secondary school building with a lot of the students staying on after doing their GCSEs. Colleges tend to be stand-alone campuses which welcome students from various secondary schools in the local area.
  • Age range – sixth form caterers for 16-19 year olds, whereas college is open to students both below and above the age of 18.
  • Focus – sixth form prepares students for university/higher education, colleges have a broader focus and cater to both academic and vocational pathways.
  • Environment - Colleges tend to be slightly more relaxed when comparing them with school sixth forms, and students usually address their teachers on a first-name basis.

Which is best for me?

The choice depends on your interests, career aspirations, preferred learning environment, and personal circumstances. 

Ok so, I know I want to go to a sixth form or college. What do I do now?

  1. Research - all the local college websites, consider what you want to study, does the college offer the course and qualification you want to study, how far is it from home?, does the college offer the support you need.  You probably have so many questions. Remember, if you can't find what you are looking for, ask Mrs Shallcross.
  2. Attend - going to as many open days as possible to help find the best option for you.  Open events can be busy, though all the staff are there, showing their courses and offering advice.  We have prepared a list of questions you may consider asking at the events.  Or if you think the open event will be too busy for you, speak to Mrs Shallcross and she will arrange a time for you to go when it is quiet.  
  3. Eligibility criteria - most courses have a minimum grade that you have achieved or what you are likely to achieve, to be accepted on the course. Consider what your predicted grades are or what qualifications you have.   Do not panic if you don't have the right subjects, the college may offer you a course that you can do to step towards the chosen course.
  4. Talk - when you have decided what you want to do, speak to family and friends.  Ask family and friends to share their college experiences. Invite them to go with you to an open event or a visit. Show them the college prospectus (course catalogue!).  Speak with your teachers, support staff and Career Connect. 
  5. Apply - Most college applications are online and are fairly easy to complete.  The colleges are looking to know why you want to do that course and if you have the qualifications to study that course (eligibility criteria).  They may want to know if you have any support needs and have an Education Health Care Plan.  Mrs Shallcross can help you with your applications, ask your staff to arrange an appointment or email her on hshallcross@wkrs.co.uk.

What happens after I submit my application?

You will typically follow these steps:

  • Make an application - Once you've found your ideal course you can apply to the relevant institution by submitting an online application, which typically includes a personal statement. The college will then confirm it has received your application within a few days.
  • Formal Consultation - This stage is between the COLLEGE and the LOCAL AUTHORITY.  The college reads your Education Health Care Plan (EHCP), along with supporting reports from WKS and then the college decides whether they can meet your needs.  When they make their decision, they let the local authority and WKS know.
  • Attend an interview - The college may then invite you to interview so you can meet your prospective tutors and discuss your career plans. This chat can help you to decide whether this really is the course for you and whether you would enjoy the programme. You may even have changed your mind and so the college can work with you to find a more suitable course.
  • Take some skill tests - You may be asked to take a number of short online tests to gauge your current abilities in core subjects such as English, maths and possibly information and communications technology (ICT). These are nothing to worry about and you'll be provided with full instructions on what to do.
  • Receive an offer - If your application is successful, the college can meet your needs and they believe it's the right course for you, you'll receive a conditional offer along with further information on how to enrol. All you'd need to do is meet the grade requirements for the course.  By accepting the offer you'll be provided with an enrolment date to register at the college in person.
  • REMEMBER - even if you have you've done your research, sometimes the college you want cannot meet your needs (from your EHCP) so you have a back-up option.  It is always better to have a choice than not have any choice.

If you want to know more about the colleges in your local area, click here:

Learn what jobs and skills are needed in the region, now and in the future

Knowing what’s happening in the labour market can help you plan your career.  You can learn what jobs are available now and in the future, and what skills employers want. This will help you think about career ideas and finding work in the future.

Growth sectors are areas of work identified for priority r development in the region. They are priority because of:

  • New developments and changes that are affecting the industry, such as technology or meeting green targets
  • New skills required
  • An industry that is growing and developing
  • Skills shortages in the industry

These areas of work are important to help grow the economy and provide more jobs for the future.

Growth Sectors in Merseyside

There are job opportunities in many careers in the UK, but there are more openings in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM).  The areas listed below are very important to the Liverpool City Region:

Advanced Manufacturing sector and sub-sectors includes diverse areas such as: Automotive Manufacture; Aerospace; Pharmaceutical; Chemical; Food and Drink; Engineering and Machining. 

Construction and the Built Environment is vital to delivering the infrastructure and buildings. Sustainable development and the emergence of new technologies and construction techniques will see different roles emerging and the need for current roles to adapt and change accordingly. 

Digital and creative sector is one of the driving forces for change and evolution of businesses and our society. For businesses to flourish and succeed – developing new products, services and new markets, they will need to attract and retain talented individuals. There is therefore a wealth of opportunities to access it across a wide range of digital disciplines.

Professional and Business Services (PBS) sector consists of financial, real estate, legal and insurance activities.  In addition, business support functions that include employment agencies, administration, security and rental form a key part of the sector. 

Maritime and Logistics sector is a key employment and wealth generating sector for the Liverpool City Region. As with many sectors, automation and technological change will have an impact on the Maritime and Logistics sector and the different job roles within it, and the sector is increasingly becoming more complex with a shift to higher value job roles. The adoption and use of technology in warehousing and logistics continues to increase – especially in areas such as stock control and retrieval.

Health and Life Sciences sector, sometimes called bioscience, covers all those roles which are linked to healthcare but don’t involve delivering it directly – research positions, laboratory staff, development specialists, innovators, and similar.

Visitor Economy is a major driver of economic growth and prosperity in the Liverpool City Region The visitor economy comprises a whole eco-system made up of museums, theatres, venues, restaurants, hotels, bars, shops and transport operators.

Innovation is taking place across the City Region within all sectors and industries but particularly in the areas of Advanced Manufacturing and Big Science; Low Carbon and Renewable Energy; Digital and Creative; Maritime and Logistics and Health and Life Sciences.

For more information about the above growth areas, please look on the BE More website, click here.

Growth Sectors in Wales

The areas listed below that are very important to North Wales are:

Advanced Manufacturing - The region has advanced manufacturing companies that use new technologies in aerospace, automotive, food manufacturing and research.

Health and Social Care - Health and Social Care is one of the largest employers in the region. Demand for care workers and nursing staff is high.

Tourism and Hospitality - There is a high demand for people to work in Hospitality, Retail and Tourism in North Wales.

Construction - Jobs in construction will include building greener housing, schools and hospitals, and road projects.

Digital and Creative - North Wales has creative hubs in film, TV, media and digital technologies. Demand for workers is high.

Energy and Environment - North Wales has expertise in energy generation, including offshore wind, hydrogen and nuclear technologies.

Financial and Professional - There is demand for financial and professional roles to support businesses in other industries. Jobs like accountants, managers, and business executives.

Food and Farming - Food manufacturing and Agriculture are strong areas for growth in the region.  Jobs in demand include food production operators, farmworkers and HGV drivers. 

Public Sector - These are the jobs that support everyday life in the region. Jobs like Police Officer, Firefighter, and local government workers.

For more information about the above growth areas, please look on the Career Wales website, click here.

What are T-Levels?

T Levels are an alternative to A-levels, apprenticeships and other 16 to 19 courses (higher if you have an EHCP!). Equivalent to 3 A-levels, a T Level focusses on vocational skills and can help students into skilled employment, higher studies or apprenticeships.

T Level students spend 80% of the course in their learning environment, gaining the skills that employers need. The other 20% is a meaningful industry placement, where they put these skills into action.

Each T Level includes an in-depth industry placement that lasts at least 45 days. Students get valuable experience in the workplace; employers get early sight of the new talent in their industry.

Why do I need to know about T-Levels

T Levels were designed by colleges with leading businesses and they are now supported by employers of all sizes to give students the workplace skills they need to succeed.  Employers have worked with colleges to devise courses that will provide the employer with a work force that will help them be successful and the young person will have qualifications and the experience that employers are looking for. 

Hundreds of employers – including Lloyds Banking Group, Nestlé, Yorkshire Water, Persimmon Homes and NHS Trusts across England – have hosted T Level students on industry placements.

Plus, many employers retain T Level students on completion of their course and support progression within their business onto an apprenticeship or into another role.

What can I study and in which sectors?

The list of course studies grows each year. There are over 20 now! Here are some of the industry sectors you can 

  • Agriculture,
  • Animal Care
  • Business and Administration
  • Catering and Hospitality
  • Construction 
  • Creative and Design
  • Digital
  • Education and Early Years
  • Engineering and Manufacturing
  • Environmental
  • Health and Science
  • Legal, Finance and Accounting
  • Sales, Marketing and Procurement

What qualifications do you need to study a T Level?

Normally, you’ll need 5 GCSEs at grades 4–9, including Maths and English. You can work towards getting maths and English on your T Level if you’ve not already got grade 4 at GCSE. 

Don't panic! if you don't have the qualifications to secure a T-Level placement at college, most colleges are offering Level 2 T-Levels to help you secure a place in the future.

What can I do after doing a T-Level? 

  • University, Further Education and Apprenticeships - After studying T Levels, many students may want to further their studies at university. A Distinction* (the top grade you can achieve) is worth 168 UCAS points, the equivalent of AAA* at A Level.
  • Getting a job after T Levels - If you don’t want to go to university or take on further study, T Levels can set you up perfectly for a job in your chosen field or industry.

Where can I learn more about T-Levels?

There is so much information on the internet, we have links to websites that can provide you with more information. Click here

 

 

T Levels are an alternative to A-levels, apprenticeships and other 16 to 19 courses (higher if you have an EHCP!). Equivalent to 3 A-levels, a T Level focusses on vocational skills and can help students into skilled employment, higher studies or apprenticeships.

T Level students spend 80% of the course in their learning environment, gaining the skills that employers need. The other 20% is a meaningful industry placement, where they put these skills into action.

Each T Level includes an in-depth industry placement that lasts at least 45 days. Students get valuable experience in the workplace; employers get early sight of the new talent in their industry.

Why do I need to know about T-Levels

T Levels were designed by colleges with leading businesses and they are now supported by employers of all sizes to give students the workplace skills they need to succeed.  Employers have worked with colleges to devise courses that will provide the employer with a work force that will help them be successful and the young person will have qualifications and the experience that employers are looking for. 

Hundreds of employers – including Lloyds Banking Group, Nestlé, Yorkshire Water, Persimmon Homes and NHS Trusts across England – have hosted T Level students on industry placements.

Plus, many employers retain T Level students on completion of their course and support progression within their business onto an apprenticeship or into another role.

What can I study and in which sectors?

The list of course studies grows each year. There are over 20 now! Here are some of the industry sectors you can 

  • Agriculture,
  • Animal Care
  • Business and Administration
  • Catering and Hospitality
  • Construction 
  • Creative and Design
  • Digital
  • Education and Early Years
  • Engineering and Manufacturing
  • Environmental
  • Health and Science
  • Legal, Finance and Accounting
  • Sales, Marketing and Procurement

What qualifications do you need to study a T Level?

Normally, you’ll need 5 GCSEs at grades 4–9, including Maths and English. You can work towards getting maths and English on your T Level if you’ve not already got grade 4 at GCSE. 

Don't panic! if you don't have the qualifications to secure a T-Level placement at college, most colleges are offering Level 2 T-Levels to help you secure a place in the future.

What can I do after doing a T-Level? 

  • University, Further Education and Apprenticeships - After studying T Levels, many students may want to further their studies at university. A Distinction* (the top grade you can achieve) is worth 168 UCAS points, the equivalent of AAA* at A Level.
  • Getting a job after T Levels - If you don’t want to go to university or take on further study, T Levels can set you up perfectly for a job in your chosen field or industry.

Where can I learn more about T-Levels?

There is so much information on the internet, we have links to websites that can provide you with more information. Click here

Thinking of going to university?

What should I do?

University could be your next big step, where you’ll learn about so much more than just your subject.

It’s a big decision that you’ll need to research and WSK can help you decide whether university is the right choice for your future.

You should consider:

  • discussing your course options with a career adviser, family, friends and teachers
  • looking at the websites of different universities
  • thinking about the location and size of the university where you would like to study
  • attending an open day or arrange a visit or take part in a virtual open event

Deciding to go to university is exciting. It’s an opportunity to live and learn in a whole new way, gaining more than just a degree. It’s a life-changing experience, bringing people and possibilities together.

First thing’s first - You need to actually start thinking about your future.

Going to university as soon as you finish school or college may seem like the easiest option, but that doesn’t necessarily make it the right move for you. Without knowing where you want to go in your career, it’s difficult to determine whether higher education will actually start paying dividends.  

For certain careers, a degree will be considered an absolute necessity. For others, professional qualifications and experience might be more in demand.  Consider all your options, research, research, research so that you can make informed decisions.

If you’re not sure what to do next, always consider alternatives before making your decision because studying for a degree will come with fees.

When you have decided what you really want to be doing and then find out what it takes to get there.  Sometimes the best way to start is at the end and work backwards. 

You need to:

  • look at the eligibility criteria (grades) you need to be eligible to study that course 
  • consider various university eligibility criteria
  • then work out what GCSEs and A-level/Level 3 qualifications you need to achieve
  • are you able to achieve the grades? If YES, great! If No, look for an other course could you take to build your grades up

Secondly - Have you considered cost?

Unfortunately, university education does come at a cost. Currently tuition fees around £9000 per year (before factoring in any additional living costs), you might not want to start building up debt if your heart isn’t really in what you’re studying.

However, always bear in mind that, in the short term, the repayments are manageable and fairly small. And you won’t even start paying money back till you earn over a certain amount. You’ll only repay when your income is over £480 a week, £2,083 a month or £25,000 a year (June 2025).

Going to university is a very good investment for most students. Over their working lives, men will be £130,000 better off on average by going to university after taxes, student loan repayments and foregone earnings are taken into account. For women, this figure is £100,000. Considering the potential earnings in before making your decision could also help turn your time at uni into a long-term investment.

What are UCAS points?

The UCAS tariff is a score system to help university staff compare the different qualifications people may be applying with.

Although you might be most familiar with A-levels, there are a so many different types of qualifications people study at the same level, including the International Baccalaureate (IB), higher diplomas, and BTEC.

Why do UCAS points matter?

Most universities use the UCAS system to decide which students they accept.  The UCAS tariff is a common way for admissions staff to show entry requirements.

Don’t be worried if you come across a few universities who don’t use the tariff – it’s not compulsory for universities to use it. However, pretty much all of them do, so knowing what they are, why they matter and how you get them is really important.

How do I get UCAS points?

You get UCAS points when you pass a qualification like an A-level – the number of points you get depends on the grade you achieve.

It's easy to work out how many UCAS points you have or can expect to get because there are so many UCAS calculators on the web which will help you do just that! 

So where do I find the UCAS entry requirements?

Not all universities use UCAS points to assess applicants. When searching for a course on a university website, clicking on the "entry requirements" tab will tell you whether they are using the UCAS tariff or how many points you will need.  Typically, it will state the points, e.g. 120-168, and then explain any acceptable alternatives.

What else do I need to know about UCAS points? 

Points matter, but it’s rare that this is all a uni will ask for. There will usually be other conditions. If you’re applying for an English Language degree, yes they might want 144 points, but they will probably also want 48 of those points to be from an A-level in English.

Subject matter is important – if you’re applying for a medicine degree that asks for 144 UCAS points, it’s unlikely that A grades in photography, film studies and German are going to be accepted.

Other conditions might be that general studies grades are not included, or specifically getting your points from a BTEC qualification. Always read the small print and those extra conditions!

Once you know how many UCAS points you have, the next step is to use a course finder to see what universities and courses you are able to apply for.

Where can I learn more about going to university?

There is so much information on the internet, we have links to websites that can provide you with more information. Click here.

I want to get a job?

Great! Just so you know, a job is a formal arrangement where you will exchange your time, skills, and expertise for money, provided by an employer or client.  Here is something you may find useful in your pathway to employment:

What are the 6 types of work?

Full-time employment - This is the most common form of employment.  It is where you work a set number of hours a week and receive a fixed salary or wage. In the UK, a full-time worker will usually work 35 hours or more a week.

Part-time employees - are a type of employment arrangement that allows you to work fewer hours in a week than worked by individuals under full-time employment. In the UK, there is not an official number of hours that make up a part-time job.

Fixed-term employees - Are employees that are on a fixed-term contract and they have:

  • an employment contract with the organisation they work for
  • their contract ends on a particular date, or on completion of a specific task

Casual workers – or otherwise known as zero-hours contracts can offer you a flexible option for both employers and workers. For example, if the work is not constant or is 'as and when', the employer needs you. Your employer does not have to give you any minimum working hoursYou do not have to take any work offered.

Self-employment – If you are self-employed, you are your own boss or work as an independent contractor. You call the shots about what you do and when, but self-employment does have more financial risk and responsibility.

Child employment – In the UK there are strict rules about employing children.  They are:

  • Part-time work - The youngest age a child can work part-time is 13, except children involved in areas like television, theatre and modelling. Children working in these areas will need a performance licence.
  • Full-time work - Children can only start full-time work once they’ve reached the minimum school-leaving age - they can then work up to a maximum of 40 hours a week.

Where do I start?

First, set aside some time each week to job search or fill in applications. It may take sometime (maybe up to six months) before you receive an offer of an interview.  Don't let that put you off!  Get organised and start applying! First you need to have the tools to apply. These are:

  • A CV 
  • Covering letter
  • Information for application forms
  • A referee - a teacher who will say how great you are

On a weekly, if not daily basis, you will need to:

  • actively look on the many job vacancy websites
  • contacting an employers directly 
  • ask family and friends if they know of any jobs

Make sure you note down closing dates for vacancies and keep track of what you’ve applied for and when. 

Where do I look for a job?

There are some different places to look when it comes to job hunting.

Online - There are plenty of websites promoting hundreds of new jobs that appear online every day.  Look for job sites which are specific to the type of industry you'd like to work in. Check the sites of employers you're interested in working for and have a look at their social media accounts.  Plenty of sites offer an email alert function too, which lets you know when new jobs are added under the category you’re interested in.

Using LinkedIn - LinkedIn is a great social site to connect with employers and relevant people within the industry you're interested in. You can also set up job alerts for opportunities being advertised on your LinkedIn feed as well. 

Recruitment agencies - Find jobs you might not see otherwise with the support of a recruitment agency. Specialist agencies can also help you seek out jobs in the industry you want.  They know exactly what employers are looking for – it's their job! 

Word of Mouth - There are many jobs that will never be advertised.   Before they even post a vacancy, employers may look at who they can promote internally or ask colleagues who might fit in the job well. To uncover these hidden jobs, you need to make the first move. 

Approaching a company first - If there’s a company you really want to work for, try approaching them. Research the employer and find someone you can contact directly.   Send a cover letter and CV highlighting your strengths and explaining why you want to work for them.  Do not just leave it at that. Follow it up with a phone call. Be polite, but determined. If there’s nothing coming up, at least you’ve made a new contact and they may keep you in mind in the future.

Where can I learn more about looking for employment?

If you need support to write a CV, covering letter or an application, please speak to Mrs Shallcross and she will arrange a time during the school day to help you with this. There is so much information on the internet, we have links to websites that can provide you with more information. Click here.

Considering Apprenticeships?

What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a paid job where the employee learns and gains valuable experience.

Alongside on-the-job training, apprentices spend at least 20% of their working hours completing classroom-based learning with a college, university or training provider, which leads to a nationally recognised qualification. 

An apprenticeship includes: 

  • paid employment with holiday leave 
  • hands-on-experience in a sector/role of interest
  • at least 20% off-the-job training 
  • formal assessment which leads to a nationally recognised qualification

In England, it is a statutory requirement for an apprentice to spend 20% of their paid time 'off-the-job'. This involves essential training to help the apprentice gain the skills needed to complete their apprenticeship. 

Off-the-job training is delivered by subject experts and can include: 

  • teaching theory (e.g. classroom lessons, lectures and online learning) 
  • practical training (e.g. shadowing, mentoring, industry visits) 
  • learning support and time to write assignments 

The training can take place in or out of the work environment. Some employers will offer in-house training, others may work with colleges, universities and training providers to deliver the training for them. 

The training must equate to 20% of the overall contracted hours for the duration of the apprenticeship. It can be delivered flexibly, for example, as part of each day, once a week, or as a block release.

The employer and the training provider will decide on the most appropriate course of study. 

Who can apply for an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a great paid work opportunity for people over the age of 16 in England who are:

  • early in their career 
  • looking to upskill in their current job 
  • looking for a career-change
  • not in full-time education

If you do not live in England, check out apprenticeship options wales, click here.

What level of apprentices are available?

There are four different types apprenticeship qualification levels, they are:

What is an intermediate apprenticeship?

Intermediate level apprenticeships are Level 2 apprenticeships. These apprenticeships provide basic knowledge and skills for specific jobs and are equal to GCSEs.  They last from 12 to 18 months depending on the type of apprenticeship.  These programmes allow learners to get their foot in the door and start working towards their future careers. Intermediate apprenticeship programmes can nurture the apprentices' skills and improve their chances of employment.

What is an advanced apprenticeship?

Advanced apprenticeships are Level 3 qualifications, they offer more specialised knowledge and skills and are equal to A level and can last up to two years. Apprenticeships can be completed by both school or college leavers and are a stepping stone to higher apprenticeships.

What is a higher apprenticeship?

These apprenticeships focus on higher-level professional skills, from Levels 4 to 7 and can be equal to a foundation degree, a Higher National Certificate (HNC), or a Higher National Diploma (HND).  Depending on the level, higher apprenticeships are the equivalent to the first year of an undergraduate degree or a foundation degree. During these programmes, learners continue their education while expanding their skills and gaining work experience (but without building up student debt!). 

What is a degree apprenticeship?

These apprenticeships lead to either a full bachelor's or master's degree. Degree apprenticeships are the highest level of apprenticeship programmes which is a Level 7. Although equivalent to Bachelor's and Master’s degrees, on apprenticeships, learners work towards a degree that is fully paid for. They’ll earn a salary, build specialised skill sets and gain industry experience over the three to six years it takes to complete the apprenticeship, depending on the course level.

Benefits of becoming an apprentice:

  • Earn a salary while you train for a professional qualification 
  • Choose from a wide range of industries
  • Avoid university fees
  • Become a valuable asset to an employer
  • Achieve your career goals
  • Keep your current contract and role at your employment but use the Apprenticeship to develop your skills and career
  • Take advantage of Apprenticeship travel and retail discounts

How much will I get paid?

There is a national minimum wage for apprentices but employers may often pay more than this.

What you are paid depends on the employer.

Find out more about national minimum wages click here.

Where do I find an apprenticeship?

All accredited apprenticeships can be found by clicking here

Or look on local college's websites, for links to local college websites, click here

Or search by location or subject by clicking on here

You may need to create an account so you can sign up to be alerted of opportunities in your area of interest and desired location.

Where can I learn more about apprenticeships?

There is so much information on the internet, we have links to websites that can provide you with more information, click here

Want to know more about supported internships?

Supported internships are for young people aged 16 to 24, with an Education, Health and Care Plan, who want to get into paid employment.

Internships are based with an employer and help you to develop the necessary workplace skills and experience to go on to paid employment. Work placements are individualised and based on a young person’s strengths and vocational interests to make sure they are matched to the right placement for them.

You will also work towards the achievement of accredited qualifications, including English, maths and employability, and build skills such as teamwork, problem-solving and travelling independently to and from placements

How long does it last?

Internships normally last for around a year and include unpaid work placements of at least six months.  

What level of qualifications can I study?

Works towards a Level 1 qualification in Employability Skills along with functional maths and English at Entry – Level 1.

What are the benefits of doing a supported internship?

  • learning new skills that could be used in future employment
  • building confidence and life skills
  • support from trained job coaches to help you succeed in increasing social networks
  • travel and lunch costs covered
  • opportunities to gain accredited and practical qualifications
  • your placement may turn into an apprenticeship or you have the qualifications to apply for apprenticeships
  • the employer is more likely to be inclusive 

Ok so the disadvantages?

  • you will not receive a wage BUT you can still receive Universal Credit alongside PIP
  • you may not gain employment at end of the placement BUT you do have plenty of work experience and a reference to look for other work
  • the college may offer a limited choice of career routes BUT you may like what they offer or find your own placement

Where can I learn more about supported internships?

There is so much information on the internet, we have links to websites that can provide you with more information, click here

Labour Market Information (LMI)

WHAT IS LABOUR MARKET INFORMATION (LMI)?

Labour Market Information (LMI) is anything that describes the world of work, including:

  • Descriptions of careers and jobs
  • The promotional prospects in different careers
  • The salary you can be paid
  • The skills and qualifications you need for a particular job
  • Where to find job vacancies

More about these types of LMI can be found on the other careers pages on the school website. LMI also includes information and statistics about the national, regional and local labour markets, as well as the future of the labour market, which is particularly important for school pupils to get a picture of what the labour market in their chosen industry might look like when they leave school and start to look for work.

We encourage all WKS pupils to engage with all kinds LMI, so they can make informed career choices and decisions, which give you the best possibility to reach your potential and have a successful and happy future.

Want to know more?

Unifrog

If you log on to Unifrog click here,  you can access the Careers library which will provide you with the LMI by job sector.

LMI for ALL

The LMI for All portal provides high quality, reliable labour market information (LMI) to inform careers decisions. Click here and look up details for specific career paths or job roles

Volunteering

What is volunteering?

Volunteering is when you spend unpaid time doing something to benefit others. By offering your time, you'll get to really understand how a company, charity or organisation works, building your team working abilities and demonstrating a proactive and dedicated nature.  Volunteering is a brilliant way to gain work experience and develop the skills and qualities employers look for.

Volunteering is more flexible than some other types of work placements, and you can volunteer for as little as a day or a few hours a week.  That makes it easy to fit around your other life commitments, whilst developing some important and transferable work-related skills.  Regardless of your chosen career path, becoming a volunteer is a great option. It's a great way to build experience to add to your CV and impress potential employers while doing something really rewarding.

What type of person volunteers?

Everyone has the right to volunteer.  Volunteers can be any age and from any background. They can be studying, unemployed, employed, have health conditions or retired. Anyone can volunteer.

What could I do if I decided to volunteer?

In the UK, volunteering is well established. Most charities, community groups and voluntary organisations thrive because of the volunteers that give their time.  Here are just a few of the things that you could do if you volunteered:

  • raising funds
  • dog walking
  • play music 
  • sports coaching
  • caring for animals
  • help in a hospital and supporting the NHS
  • befriending
  • giving tours at museums and local areas
  • giving advice, guidance or information
  • providing first aid
  • campaigning
  • being a trustee (a voluntary role with legal responsibility for a charity)
  • monitoring and conserving wildlife
  • driving or transporting people
  • administrative work
  • archiving
  • retail
  • catering
  • parish councillor
  • supporting library services
  • special constable with the police force
  • coastguards for coastguard rescue services
  • supporting the library service
  • work in a shop
  • litter picking on the beach or in the local park.
  • developing websites

The list is endless. Where there is a paid job, there is a need for volunteering.

Want to know more?

There is so much information on the internet, we have links to websites that can provide you with more information. Click here.

Work experience

What is work experience?

You will spend time in a workplace environment to learn about a job role, a company or a career sector. Work experience is a great way of adding to your CV and helping you make decisions about whether that is a job you'd like to do in the future.  It is a great way to get into any career. Having some work experience can help you stand out from the crowd in applications for courses, training and jobs.

When will I do work experience?

In WKS, work experience happens in Year 11 and whilst you are studying in Post 16.  There is nothing stopping you doing it in your spare time.

Work experience can be useful for anyone of any age and at any stage of your career. It can help you to gain skills and decide what to do if you are looking for employment.

Most work experience is unpaid and there are some opportunities where you can earn money, such as internships.

Why work experience is important

Choosing what to do in your career is easy when you know what you want to do in the future. You can look for opportunities that will help you to develop skills for that career. This could be through:

  • a work placement
  • an internship
  • a shadowing opportunity
  • virtual work experience 

It's an opportunity for you to:

  • test out your career ideas
  • improve your skills
  • show your commitment and enthusiasm

If you do not know what job you want to do, it can be overwhelming. If you cannot get your perfect placement, any work experience is better than none.  Whatever work experience opportunity you try, you’ll learn more about yourself and working life. 

You'll also gain skills in the process. It may even lead to a more suitable experience with the same company.  It could be good preparation for another opportunity that’s closer to what you want to do.

Try not to worry about where you could go to get work experience. Concentrate on what you could learn or improve on.

What will I gain from work experience?

Work experience is a chance for you to:

  • find out more about yourself
  • find out what inspires you
  • develop soft skills
  • come up with career ideas and try them out
  • discover your strengths, values, motivations and interests
  • meet new people 
  • identify any reasonable adjustments you may need because of a disability or long term health condition

It can also help you to rule out options, which can help to focus on your career ideas.

To explore your work experience options, you can:

  • talk to your teachers, family and friends for ideas
  • ask people you know about their jobs and the places they work
  • talk to older students who have already done work experience
  • find out if your school, college or university has organised placements you can choose from
  • get advice from a careers leader or careers adviser
  • use UNIFROG skills assessment tool to get ideas on jobs that may suit you

What are soft skills?

You can use your work experience as a time to build your soft skills. Employers look for employees who can show that they are:

  • trustworthy and reliable
  • good communicators
  • great team players
  • able to solve problems
  • willing to learn new things
  • able to adapt and 'bounce back' when things do not go to plan

Soft skills are common skills that are not specific to any one job but useful for most. You can learn and practise these skills in any workplace. Use your work experience to show an employer that you have them.

No not sure if you can do it?

You will be supported by WKS staff during your work experience at WKS.  We will help you to remove the barriers and support you through any challenges.  We will help you take a step out of your comfort zone and walk with you, until you are able to do it by yourself. 

How can I get work experience?

You can:

  • shadow someone at work to see what their job is like 
  • visit different workplaces
  • go to work with a parent or guardian 
  • do a 1 or 2 week work placement
  • go into a workplace for one day a week over a period of time

Speak to Mrs Shallcross about how to sort your workplace experience.

Useful websites

To access a host of websites to help you on your career journey, please click here

West Kirby School and College, Meols Drive, West Kirby, Wirral, CH48 5DH

0151 632 3201