Free advice for GCSE students seeking an alternative path

Brought to you by the News Post Leader.
Brought to you by the News Post Leader.

Expert advice will be on offer for young people who are uncertain about the next steps to take following their exam results this week.

Northumberland County Council’s Learning and Skills Service has set up a special helpline to provide careers advice and support for young people and their parents, open from 7am to 7pm on Thursday 20 and Friday, August 21.

tudents and parents can call 01670 622 123 or text ‘HELP’ to 07974388651 and a member of the team will call back.

It is the first time the council has offered a phone service, specifically to help young people cope if they feel disappointed, confused or scared about their future.

With the recent announcement that young people are expected to stay in full-time education until they are 17, many students across Northumberland may be left wondering which route is best for them, especially if exam results are not as high as expected. Many students will feel they have no choice but to continue in education at school or college, even though it might not be their best option. Not everyone is suited to a traditional academic education and there are many alternatives which offer a fresh approach to learning that may suit some young people better.

The council wants to flag up the excellent opportunities in more vocational, hands-on schemes such as apprenticeships and traineeships, which are designed to get young people employment-ready in a number of trades.

The Learning and Skills team can offer a variety of alternatives including:

Apprenticeships are suitable for those eager to move into work. Students can earn over £100 a week while they learn; gaining qualifications employers seek along with real-world experience at local businesses. Apprenticeships undertaken through Northumberland County Council also have a 90% chance of getting a permanent job or higher apprenticeship position at the end of their term.

Traineeships are offered to those that have not yet decided on a career or an apprenticeship and last up to eight weeks. Students can explore a particular industry to see if it is the type of work they might enjoy and receive hands-on work experience, a chance to build relationships with employers in the region and receive contributions towards travel and other expenses. Students also receive hands-on coaching and support to develop the skills required to apply for an apprenticeship in the future.

Study programmes offer the chance to train in professional and technical skills and do not involve dedicated placements with businesses. They give students a more practical or hands-on approach to learning, who may have struggled in school.

The schemes are rated Good by Ofsted, and are free for 16-18 year olds and adult groups, depending on financial status.

While the service has been provided specifically to help students at results time, centres will reopen on Monday 24 August, when the full Learning and Skills team will be able to take calls and provide support.