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Young people choosing their next steps after GCSE's can be faced with a confusing decision. With a variety of educational course and employment options for those who are 16 and over it can be difficult to feel confident that one route or another can lead to the best outcome.

In May 2018 two young people from Bournemouth and Poole, Logan and Anna, were tasked with devising a step by step strategy to help other young people like them, soon to be finishing their GCSEs, choose confidently and wisely about their next steps. By visiting a range of local educational establishments and employers they were able to interview young people currently working towards their futures. Asked them key need to know questions so their insights and experiences could help others. Anna and Logan took advice, interviewed young people and worked together to share the below tips on how to choose what's right for you.


How to choose what's right for you














Step 1. Seek Professional and Independent Advice.

Visiting a Careers Advisor should be your first step when looking for careers advice. Although it is tempting to make decisions based on what your friends suggest and what your parents or guardians are inclined to recommend, a Careers Advisors works with you 1:1 to examine your individual needs, likes, skills and hopes as well as been qualified to give independent advice that is based on the type of careers you really want. 


Careers Advisors Interview (0:46)











Offer Careers Information Advice and Guidance

•Students can make appointments in schools or through local careers services

•Independent advice – focus on suggesting what's right for you


Step 2. Know what is available in your area 

In May 2018 Logan and Anna visited other young people who had already made the choice about their future after GCSEs to find out what they had wished they had known before they embarked on their post 16 options. Anna and Logan were keen to know how their post 16 route was helping them with their future ambitions. Watch the film above to find out more:


School Sixth Form Interview (1.46)












Education for Years 12 and 13

Offer A Level and Vocational Qualifications

Ordinarily based in a school environment


College Sixth Form Interviews  (3:15)











Education for Years 12 and 13 as well as education for mature students

•Offer A Level and Vocational Qualifications

•Ordinarily based in a College campus




Apprenticeships and Higher Level Apprenticeships Interviews (6:12)











•Offer a combination of On The Job Training and Vocational Qualifications

•Apprentices earn a wage whilst they learn

•Most Apprenticeships are workplace-based mixed with one or two days being taught in an educational environment

•Apprenticeships cover a wide variety of professional sectors and job roles

•Apprenticeships run from Level 2 through to Degree Level

•Degree Level Apprenticeships offer to study in a Higher Education establishment or university



Studio Schools Interview (9.56)











•Offer a combination of Academic and Vocational post 16 courses

•Focus on teaching skills for industry and offer the opportunity for young people to develop in more specific sectors

•Smaller learning environments with specialist facilities.



Step 3. Do your Research











Almost all educational establishments offer Open Days. When talking to the Careers Advisor, Logan and Anna were inspired to go and talk to other young people to ask them what they were worried about and what they enjoyed on their chosen pathway. Open days are a fantastic opportunity to speak to staff and young people on courses. By working with a Careers Advisor to identify possible schools, colleges, universities or apprenticeship providers suited to you, you will be able to find out when the open days are and plan to visit. 



Do What's Right for You 












What Next? Options After GCSE's Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole Student Interviews

What Next? Options After GCSE's Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole Student Interviews

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Anna and Logan gained valuable insights through the interview process and were able to compile the 3 steps as the best method to make sure you consider all your options. Talking to a guidance professional to find your own strengths and aspirations and then ask them to help you identify the best places for visiting is a vital first step. Anna and Logan found out alot of useful information from talking to others currently doing different types of courses. By being able to ask questions about things that could be worrying such as, travel, cost and commitment they were able to find this an important part of the decision-making process. Talking with young people who have the experience of these thing is the best way to get a true insight into the after GCSEs options you are interested in. 

Knowledge Check


Check how much course information you have understood and spot where you need to revisit and research  more by downloading the below knowledge checker worksheets

Activity Sheet

True or False Quiz

Need to Know More?

More information on gaining Careers Advise can be found here at the National Careers Service website


For more information about Apprenticeships, and Apprenticeship opportunities near you visit

the .GOV website :



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