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What to do after getting your A Level results

Published: Saturday 13th August 2016

5 casually dressed students walking with each other

The wait is over. You’ve finally got your A-level results after what seems like an eternity of revising and sitting exams. So what now? Go to University, get a job? The future may seem slightly daunting but the most important thing to remember is that you have plenty of options.

Let’s take a look at some of them.

Further Education

For many school leavers, the first step on the career path involves attending University. Indeed, studying for a degree has become an increasingly popular option, with over 592,000 applications being made for admission to UK universities in 2015.

However, it would be untrue to say that everyone who attains the grades needed to be accepted wishes to attend University. The rising cost of further education is one reason for this, but other reasons can include family circumstances or simply a preference for more practical, hands-on training than is generally offered by University study.

If you’re hoping to attend University, A-level results day is one of the most important of your life, for it will determine whether or not you have achieved the grades you need to earn a place on your preferred course.

Unless your existing qualifications were sufficient to meet the academic requirements for the course(s) you applied for, you’ll almost certainly have received one or more conditional offers for a place at the universities you applied to.

If your A-level grades meet the requirements set out in your conditional offer(s) then you can proceed to book your University place and look forward to the start of the academic term in a few weeks’ time.

If, however, your A-level grades didn’t meet the entry requirements specified in your conditional offer(s) then you may still be able to find a University place this year through a process known as clearing. Essentially, clearing is a process which enables Universities to fill vacant spaces on courses with students who do not have an offer of a place. Every year, around 10% of students starting University have found their place through clearing.

Given that the new academic term begins in a few weeks, it is imperative that Universities fill all of their available courses as quickly as possible. Accordingly, time is of the essence if you wish to try to find a University place this year through clearing, however do not rush into accepting a place until you have thought about all of your options.

School Leaver Programmes

The cost of studying for a degree is expensive. Student loans are available but many people don’t want to be burdened with substantial debt from an early age. Let’s suppose, though, that there was a way to study for further qualifications and gain practical experience whilst being paid and without racking up debt. Now, wouldn’t that be interesting?

Many School Leaver Programmes offer just such an opportunity.

Several large companies, including Tesco, John Lewis and British Airways now operate School Leaver Programmes. Although there’s no set format for School Leaver Programmes, they all have certain things in common: the entry requirements are demanding, competition a place is fierce and the successful applicants must be prepared to both work hard and study hard.

Entering a School Leaver Programme should only be undertaken if both the qualifications you will be studying for and the sector you’ll be working in are appealing to you. For that reason, it’s important that you carry out as much research as possible into the School Leaver Programme that appeals to you before committing to one.

Find the right programme and you will emerge with academic qualifications and valuable practical experience to your name without being encumbered by student debt.

Higher Apprenticeships

Higher apprenticeships are in many ways similar to School Leaver Programmes. They offer school and college leavers with 5 GCSES (A*-C) and post 16 results at level 3 (A levels, BTECs, Advances Apprenticeship, etc.) the opportunity to train in a trade or profession whilst having the opportunity to study for vocational, professional or academic qualifications.

Businesses operating in several industry sectors – such as IT, engineering, health and care, hospitality, transport, construction and energy – now run Higher Apprenticeship programmes.

There is strong competition for Higher Apprenticeship places and employers can afford to be selective. Having good qualifications helps, but you will also have to show drive, commitment and enthusiasm if you are going to land a place on a Higher Apprenticeship scheme.

As with School Leaver Programmes, anyone thinking of starting a Higher Apprenticeship should do lots of research about the company they’d be working for, the sector they’d be working in and the qualifications they would be studying for.

Finding A Job

Alternatively for those of you finished with education and are keen to enter the world of work now that you’ve completed you’re A Levels, finding a job could be the best option for you. Job hunting can be a challenging process, no matter how old you are or how much experience you have. But, with the right advice you could have found your perfect new role before you know it.

Firstly, you’ll have to update your CV to include your A Level results and any recent work experience you’ve been involved in. If you need a helping hand, here are our top tips on how to write a good CV. Next the application stage. When filling out an online job application form be careful you don’t make some on these common errors. Finally, the interview. Although a very daunting prospect, interviews are simply a case of practice makes perfect. So here are our best interview tips including staging mock interviews with family and friends and studying up on the role you are applying for and the company you want to work at.

When you’re ready to begin your job search, make sure you check out Zoek. Zoek matches job seekers with thousands of roles using smart job matching technology. The app is free to download on iPhone and Android and uses push notifications to alert you, when jobs matching your preferences have been found.

Download Zoek today for smarter, faster recruitment.

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