Guest column: Teens have a lot of choices to make

Karen Mitchell, principal Aylesbury College
Karen Mitchell, principal Aylesbury College

The Government requirement for young people to stay in education or training until they are 18 years old opens up a range of opportunity.

As students anxiously await their GCSE and AS level results in August, important decisions need to be taken on the best route to help them achieve their career aspirations.

The ‘traditional’ route for most people was always, school, college, university but nowadays there is a wealth of options for young people to consider to help them achieve success in work and life.

Students can of course stay in their existing school environment, through places in sixth form. Here they are familiar in their surroundings and with people and tutors they already know. This may be a preferred option for some people.

Further education colleges generally offer a wider range of courses than those available in sixth form at school - full time/part-time vocational and academic. This option gives young people the chance to branch out and meet new people of the same age in a setting that is closer to a real life working environment than school.

Students can remain in part-time education or training. But, this is only if this option is supported by work, or perhaps by volunteering – often often a really rewarding experience.

The rise in the number of Apprenticeships presents another excellent alternative.

Buckinghamshire will be launching its own apprenticeship ‘Going for Gold’ portal in September providing information for parents, employers and young people and linking employers and young people with work based learning opportunities.

Apprenticeships offer work with an employer, alongside earning a salary and gaining qualifications with valuable workplace skills and experience.

Traineeships are a newer option, marrying work skills training including English and maths with high quality work placements to ensure students are equipped with all they need to start work.

There’s a lot to choose from! Ultimately, we need to ensure it’s about what’s right for the individual, to give them the best chance possible to enter the world of work.