On Wednesday 12th June, various speakers came to our school to provide an insight on post 18 options, such as university and apprenticeships. It was a very important evening for both parents and students as the decision they make will dictate the next 3 years of their life. This was the first time we had held an event like this as we want parents and students to know that we are fully supportive of whichever route they wish to go down. Additionally for those who are unsure of where they would like to go, the event can help students weigh up their options and see what feels most suitable for them.
A guest speaker from Nottingham Trent University put many peoples’ minds at ease when talking about the more daunting parts of applying to university. For example, all students are eligible for a loan of up to £9,250, which only has to be paid back once you are on a stable income, therefore the idea of student debt shouldn’t hold you back from going to university. Secondly, if on results day you do not receive the results that your chosen university is looking for, you are put through a system called “clearing”, where you must contact you safe options to see if they have a space available for you. These places come on a first come first served bases, so it is vital that you collect your own results and as early as possible to ensure that if there are any problems, you can start fixing them straight away. Ex-Newman 6th students, Vincent Masterson and Anastasia Christodoulou spoke about their experience in applying to university, which was really helpful for students as it taught them what to expect if they decide to choose to go to university.
Following on from the university talks, were the guest speakers for apprenticeships. Starting with a speaker from Bedford College Apprenticeships, was an outline of what to expect from an apprenticeship. Apprenticeships are recognised nationally and involve working 4 days a week and 1 day of studying. The average pay is just under £4 an hour, which may not sound like much however it is more than you’d earn going to university. Apprenticeships are very beneficial for those looking to go into a practical field as by the end of your course, you will have a degree as well as the experience that employers will be looking for. Ian was the next speaker, who represented Skills Rocket. The company have developed a free app which makes it easier to look for/be notified of any apprenticeship opportunities going around. They also feature helpful videos that are worth watching if you are considering an apprenticeship as an option. Christina Smith represented Engie, which is an energy and service company that hire apprentices in varying fields. Different schemes can last from 12-48 months and can be helpful for those looking to work in the industry as you are working with experts. Finally Megan Cole, another ex-Newman Sixth student, spoke about her experience where she was originally looking into universities but decided she wanted to do an apprenticeship instead. Keep in mind that applying to an apprenticeship is more difficult than applying to university as you must approach the companies that you are applying for directly and attend interview within a day’s notice in some occasions.
All in all there was a positive reaction from both parents and students and many stayed till after the event to ask further questions.