Navigating the Future and Staying in Education 📚🎓

In a world full of opportunities, choosing the path that leads to success can be such a daunting task. While our name is Careers Worcestershire, our advisors can also help you find education and training courses and support you with applications. If you’re confused about your next steps, click here to book an appointment with us!

 

Staying in education is great because:

  1. It keeps options open. Staying in education helps keep your options open, as your qualifications can help you get into various careers.
  2. You gain practical skills and qualities that will help you prepare for employment. Higher levels of education often result in more career opportunities and increased earning potential. Whether you’re completing a study programme at college or university, or on an apprenticeship, staying in education can be really beneficial!
  3. You meet like-minded people. Attending college and other educational institutions means that you are surrounded by people of a similar age with similar interests, helping you create a network of friends and increasing your social circle.
  4. It can be flexible. Whether it’s T-Levels, A-Levels, a degree or a study programme, staying in education doesn’t have to be about studying in a classroom and sitting exams because some courses offer hands-on learning.

 

Education is the key to unlocking your potential

There are so many benefits to continuing your studies, such as better opportunities as a result of more qualifications!

If you don’t like sitting in a classroom and reading textbooks, there are still so many ways to continue learning and gain qualifications. If you’re interested in finding out ways to stay in education that isn’t just going to uni or college, read our blog on alternative routes here: www.careersworcs.co.uk/what-are-your-options

 

 

The word Learn in Scrabble tiles

Staying safe this festive season.

Tis the season to be jolly, but it’s also the time to prioritise your safety and wellbeing amidst the chaos of Christmas time and New Year. There are so many temptations during the festive season, but staying safe and responsible for your own health and wellbeing is important!

Budgeting

With the festive season being full of gift-giving and socialising, it can often be an expensive month for many people.

Budgeting is such an important skill, especially when it comes to celebrating Christmas and New Year.

It’s essential to prioritise your financial wellbeing during this festive period, so here are a few great tips to remember:

  1. Have a clear budget and use free budgeting apps to track spending. It’s good to be honest with yourself (and family and friends) regarding how much you can spend this festive season. If you’re looking for post-Christmas financial advice, pop along to our financial wellbeing drop-in sessions, part of our New Year New You theme for January!
  2. Prioritise your budget on categories that matter to you. So, if you love buying presents, focus your budget on this area rather than other areas.
  3. Take advantage of discounts. Many shops promote discounts during the festive period, so use this to your advantage – just make sure to avoid any scams!

This can be a stressful month – particularly if you don’t have a job. I remember last Christmas when I didn’t have a job or any income; it felt like my head was ready to explode with money worries! This is what really kickstarted me into trying to get a job, and I ended up being supported by Loz at Careers Worcestershire, who helped me search and apply for jobs.

If you’re looking for this same support, click here to book an appointment!

 

Drink responsibly

It’s so easy to get carried away at festive parties and celebrations, but knowing your own limits is essential!

You don’t have to drink to have fun!

If you drink alcohol, make sure to be responsible for the amount you’re consuming. Having too much alcohol can spoil the fun – not just for you but for others around you. I know it’s not fun to be cleaning up your own sick on New Year’s Eve whilst everyone else is having fun…

If you’re planning on drinking at a party, plan your travel. Whether you have a sober friend/family member to drive you home or you rely on public transport and taxis, planning ahead is important because anyone can be vulnerable – especially after drinking.

 

Driving in winter weather

Whether you’re the designated driver or just commuting, driving during the festive season and in winter weather can be daunting.

When driving at night in cold temperatures this festive season, it’s important to:

  1. Plan your journey, including road closures, before you set off.
  2. Take it easy and not rush. Driving at night in cold weather can make it difficult to see ice and other dangerous patches on the road. It’s a good idea to drive slower when you’re not sure.
  3. Ensure your car is in an appropriate condition (i.e., valid MOT and tax) and that all lights, wipers and indicators work.
  4. Defrost your car correctly using a good scraper and a can of de-icer or warm water.
  5. Focus on the road. If you’re the designated driver taking people home, make sure not to let drunk passengers distract you.
  6. Have a fully charged phone with data so you can contact people in the event of a breakdown or another emergency.
  7. Have a breakdown kit in your car, including useful items such as a blanket, torch, jump leads, and a first aid kit.

Click here for more tips on driving in winter weather.

 

Not feeling festive?

There’s no shame in not feeling Christmas cheer! With so much expectation on what Christmas should look like, it can make the month feel more like a chore if you’re already not feeling Christmassy.

If you’re struggling with mental health or suicidal thoughts, make sure to reach out to get support! Whether it’s with friends and family or anonymous helplines, telling someone about how you’re feeling is so important.

For mental health support over the festive season, you can visit the YoungMinds website here or contact Samaritans for free by calling 116 123

 

Stay safe and have fun this festive season!

We hope you all have a great Christmas and New Year!

 

Christmas tree with Careers Worcs logo

What are Your Options at 16?

Are you thinking about what to do next after your GCSEs and missed our post-16 session? Well, look no further because I’ve summed it all up for you!

You have to be in education or training until you’re 18, but this can look different depending on what you’ve chosen to do.

The main post-16 options are:

  • College and more education.
  • Training programmes, such as apprenticeships and traineeships.
  • Working alongside part-time education or training.

Education.

College courses can be totally different depending on the subject of the course and the delivery of the teaching. No one course is the same!

A-Levels.

What? A-Levels, which means advanced level qualifications, are subject-based courses that are often assessed with exams at the end of the two years. You can pick three or more subjects to study, and different courses have different GCSE grade requirements.

Why? If you’re unsure of what job you want to do in the future or are sure you want to go to university, then choosing to do A-Levels is a great choice! Even though universities will accept other qualifications, A-Levels are usually their preferred choice.

Click here to explore A-Levels.

BTECs.

What? BTECs, which the Business and Technology Education Council developed, are more practical and vocational-based qualifications. A BTEC course will often involve a work placement, so you can go out and experience the world of work in the industry related to this qualification.

Comparing them to other qualifications, one BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma is equivalent to 3 A-Levels.

Why? If you know what you want to work as in the future, BTECs offer both learning and hands-on experience. One of the most popular BTEC subjects is childcare because it’s great if you want to get straight into the industry, as you have the relevant qualifications and work experience to help boost your CV.

Click here to find out more about BTECs.

T-Levels.

What? T-Levels are the new technical-based qualifications that aim to help you step into a career. Like a BTEC, one T-Level is equivalent to three A-Levels and involves a work placement. The 45-day work placement gives you hands-on experience and the space to apply your learning. The course usually lasts for two years and is assessed by several exams and placement-based projects.

Why? Like BTECs, if you know what job you want to do in the future, then T-Levels are great for preparing you for the world of work.

The selling point of T-Levels is that the qualifications have been developed in line with job standards, along with guidance from various employers.

For more information about this type of qualification and to find out about local courses, check out this video by Inspiring Worcestershire or click here to go to the T-Levels website!

Training.

Supported Internships (if you have an ECHP).

What? If you’re interested in starting work, supported internships give you the experience and skills that will help you gain crucial employability skills. Supported internships are structured work-based study programmes for SEND individuals who benefit from practical learning and experience. Supported internships are supported by learning providers, such as colleges, and can involve around 70% of learning in a workplace.

Supported internships are often at least six months long and can be part of full-time education courses. The work and experience completed during this internship will help your course and improve your employability skills.

Why? Supported internships are great for increasing a wide range of skills, as well as providing you with a careers coach to help you during your placement.

If you’re interested in this type of education, click here to learn more about supported internships.

Traineeships.

What? Traineeships allow you to gain work experience and improve your employability and functional skills (i.e., maths and English). They are often described as a pre-apprenticeship step and involve a work placement of 70 hours or more, as well as a mock interview with career advice.

Training providers can help with deciding on a suitable traineeship course, as well as supporting you with your next steps afterwards. The following steps may involve staying with this provider to complete an apprenticeship.

Why? Traineeships are usually short courses (less than six months), so if you’re unsure of what to do next, enrolling on a traineeship can be highly beneficial in enhancing essential skills that can help you with any job.

Watch this video on what a traineeship is, or click here for more in-depth information about traineeships!

Apprenticeships.

What? “Earn while you learn”. Apprenticeships are a mixture of learning and working, so you gain a qualification and paid work. An apprenticeship involves 20% of learning a week, but check out this video to learn more about how apprenticeships work!

Apprenticeships usually last over a year, with the endpoint assessment involving a work-related project and coursework. Depending on the type of apprenticeship and your employer, you may even be offered a permanent contract once the training ends!

Why? There are so many benefits to an apprenticeship (as a Business Admin Apprentice, I might be a bit biased 😉). If you’re worried about money, some employers will pay the regular minimum wage, so it’s always worth finding out more!

If you’re looking at moving into an apprenticeship, make sure you apply for as many of them as you can, as well as having a backup plan. Getting an apprenticeship is like getting a job, so it’s important to apply for lots!

For more information about apprenticeships, click here to go to the Worcestershire Apprenticeships website.

Employment.

What? If you’re under 18, then you still have to be in education, but you may also want to undertake work to support your study. Alongside your working hours, you’ll also have to complete qualifications, but this can look very different depending on what you want.

From a training programme to several accredited short courses, the important thing is to participate in 280 hours of guided learning each year alongside employment.

Why? Choosing to start work alongside part-time study gives you the freedom to explore more courses, as well as earn money and start your career path.

For more information, click here to learn more about working alongside part-time study.

Remember – If you have any questions or worries about your next steps, we’re always here to help! You can click here to book an appointment with an advisor or email us at CareersAdmin@worcestershire.gov.uk

Don’t forget to check our calendar to stay updated on future events and activities!

 

#HelloYellow: Learning to Embrace Mental Health

Tuesday 10 October, marks World Mental Health Day, which hopes to raise awareness about mental health issues and combat social stigma.

This year’s theme is #HelloYellow, to wear something yellow, to stand out and create a brighter future for young people’s mental health.

We’’ll be celebrating by wearing yellow so join us to stand out and show up for mental health awareness.

So, are you saying #HelloYellow this World Mental Health Day?

Self-Care and Wellbeing is Important!

Life can be pretty stressful, and finding a job, planning your career, or thinking about your future can make it even more overwhelming.

So many things can affect your mental health, but there are ways to manage it – it’s about finding the right tools and techniques for you! Strategies that help manage my mental health may not work for you, and vice versa.

At Careers Worcs, we can support you with finding the right techniques and resources to improve your overall wellbeing.

It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life and forget about taking care of our mental wellbeing. World Mental Health Day serves as a gentle reminder to prioritise our own mental health. Whether practising mindfulness, engaging in hobbies, exercising, or simply taking a break, investing time in activities that bring joy and relaxation can significantly improve your mental health.

Small steps toward self-care can have a profound impact on overall wellbeing!

Why not have a digital detox?

In today’s digital age, it’s so easy to get lost in the online world!

Whilst scrolling through social media and watching TikTok videos can be fun, spending hours scrolling may not be good for your mental health. Reconnecting with the real world can help reduce anxiety and improve overall wellbeing. Even if it’s only for a few hours, taking a break from screens and social media can really help with your mental health!

Here are some useful resources:

 

 

The Importance of Wellbeing on the International Day of Peace!

This Thursday, it’s the International Day of Peace! This is the perfect opportunity to focus on and explore your inner peace. It’s important to prioritise your mental health and wellbeing to get the most out of life!

Finishing college/uni and transitioning into adulthood is challenging (I know I struggled a lot with the changes!).

Here at Careers Worcestershire, we offer a range of support to help you achieve inner peace.

We’re holding a wellbeing workshop on diversity and identity to celebrate this international day.

Biology, genes, and life experiences influence our identity. We all need to feel valued and included. Good mental health requires balance. To celebrate finding peace, we’ll explore how different factors impact mental wellbeing and how to support you in developing your inner peace. Click here to attend this wellbeing session!

For more advice and guidance, you can book support via this link!

All about apprenticeships!

Hi, I’m Emma, a Level 3 Business Admin Apprentice with Worcestershire County Council. I work in both the Careers Worcestershire Hub team and the Multiply project (which is a project that gives people the opportunity to gain functional maths skills).

When you come into the Hub for appointments, I’m often one of the friendly-looking (hopefully) faces that greet you!

At first, I thought an apprenticeship would be a step back as I’ve already graduated from uni, but I’m still learning new skills!

So, what is an apprenticeship?

“Earn while you learn”

If you’ve never heard of this phrase before, an apprenticeship is both a job and a learning programme. An apprenticeship allows you to earn money whilst also gaining a new qualification.

Around 20% of an apprenticeship is classroom-based learning, which can work out to around one day a week.

These sessions involve learning about all things linked to your job role! 

Anyone can be an apprentice!

A common misconception about apprenticeships is they are only for college leavers – this isn’t true. Anyone of any age and ability can be an apprentice!

There are different levels of apprenticeship:

  • Level 2, which is equivalent to GCSEs.
  • Advanced level 3, which is equivalent to A-level learning.
  • Higher levels 4-7, which are comparable to foundation degrees and above.

Interested in an apprenticeship as well as getting £500?

Worcestershire Apprenticeships logo

Worcestershire Apprenticeships are now offering a £500 bursary to anyone eligible who signs up for a WA Account to submit an expression of interest. (I wish this opportunity was available to me when I was looking for an apprenticeship!)

The WA Bursary can be used towards the cost of your apprenticeship, such as clothing, travel, tools, and equipment needed to complete your apprenticeship.

To find out how to create your WA Account, as well as the eligibility criteria for receiving this funding, click here to visit the Worcestershire Apprenticeships website.

Apprenticeships not right for you?

If you don’t have the confidence to take on an apprenticeship yet, a traineeship could be the solution!

Traineeships are short programmes focused on improving skills. Although traineeships are unpaid, you gain work experience and training that will look great on your CV! This can help boost your confidence when looking at jobs or further training opportunities. 

For more information, click here to find out more about traineeships.

Or, if you have an ECH Plan, you could opt for a supported internship, which is similar to a traineeship by supporting you with developing confidence and valuable skills for the workplace.

For more information on supported internships, click here to visit our Skills4Worcestershire webpage!

Fancy a chat?

If you’re aged 15-24 and have any questions about apprenticeships or just about jobs in general, pop into the Hub and have a chat with us! Click here to go to our booking page.

Kerry from Worcestershire Apprenticeships often pops into the Hub to talk all things apprenticeship! There are lots of amazing apprenticeship opportunities across Worcestershire.

If you’re interested in booking an appointment, click here to find out when Kerry’s next in!

 – Emma

Get Your Vote!

Get Your Vote!

Aged 18+? Don’t forget! 📢

Local elections are happening across England on 4 May and you now need photo ID if you want to vote.

This is important so make sure you can cast your ballot!

You Now Need Photo ID to Vote

The government has introduced a new measure where you now have to show an accepted form of photo ID to vote. This new measure aims to protect our security.
Some of the accepted forms you can use when going to the polling station include:

  • Passport (valid or expired are accepted).
  • Driving License (including provisional license).
  • Blue Disability Badge.

Your form of ID must be the original and not a copy, and without a valid form of ID you won’t be able to cast a ballot. You should also take your polling card with you although this isn’t a requirement.

Find more accepted forms of ID and apply for a free voter ID via: https://www.gov.uk/apply-for-photo-id-voter-authority-certificate

Registering to Vote

If you have not registered to vote before, or have recently moved, you must register to vote by 17 April in order to be able to vote in elections.

Go to Register to vote – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) to find out more and register to vote.

What can I expect?

Going to vote can be scary – especially if this is your first-time voting. It can seem like a daunting experience, but if you’re unsure or need assistance, the staff at the polling station are there to help.

  1. When you arrive at your local polling station, members of staff will be on hand to guide you to where you need to go.
  2. In order for you to able to vote, a member of staff will need to verify your name and address to identify you on the electoral register.
  3. Once they’ve found your name on the register, they will then ask to see your photo ID to verify that it’s you that’s voting.
  4. If you have an accepted form of ID, then you will be given the ballot paper to fill out in a booth, which you can then put into the box.

If you have any questions, come see us at the Hub.

World Autism Awareness Day

World Autism Awareness Day is 2 April 2023.

Celebrate World Autism Awareness Day with us by learning more about autism and spreading awareness about the reality that being autistic brings.

What Is Autism?

Autism is a developmental condition that is based on a spectrum because no two autistic people are the same. Everyone’s brain works differently, and those with autism are no exception – autistic people are often referred to as being neurodivergent because the way in which their minds function is uniquely individual.

Due to autism being so unique, it’s difficult to define, but if you are on the autistic spectrum, you may share some similar characteristics with other autistic people. These characteristics can include:

  • Different communication skills.
  • Sensory Overload with bright lights or loud noises.
  • Requiring more time to process information.
  • Heightened anxiety during social events.
  • Highly focused/special interests.

With more and more celebrities and inspirational figures being vocal about being autistic, we are becoming more aware of the reality and impact of autism. From Elon Musk, the mastermind of Tesla and ever advancing technology, to Greta Thunberg, a figurehead for climate change, autism has become what Greta refers to as a ‘superpower’.

For more information and guidance on autism, go to National Autistic Society (autism.org.uk)

Autism in the UK

It is estimated that over 1 in 100 people in the UK are autistic, and so autism is a part of daily life for millions of people – whether that’s being autistic or knowing someone who’s autistic.

Less than 30% of autistic people in the UK aged 20-24 are in paid employment. Whilst not all autistic people are ready to work, there are many who are searching for jobs that reflect their talents and employers that support them.

To find out more interesting statistics about autism, go to Statistics – BeyondAutism

Autism and the Workplace

Many employers are now becoming much more flexible and supportive of creating a positive, neurodiverse working environment by working with autistic charities and enrolling on relevant training courses. These employers are working much harder to recruit neurodivergent individuals by offering a flexible approach during the recruitment process by being able to adapt the interview environment, as well as continuing this supportive approach throughout employment.

The UK Government is now ensuring that more employers take on autistic adults and thoroughly support them with the Local Supported Employment Initiative, which provides employers with the resources to help support and protect their autistic employees.

What does Autism mean to you?

Take part in this survey to help Worcestershire County Council support you and people you know.

Worcestershire County Council’s Autism Partnership Board are working with the NHS and as many autistic people and professionals as possible to create an informed All-Age Autism Strategy.

You don’t need to be autistic to take part in this survey. The results of the survey will help create a new, better-informed strategy to support autistic people and increase awareness within our county.

Take part by going to All-Age Autism Strategy | Worcestershire County Council before 14 May 2023.

If answering a survey isn’t your style, you can still voice your opinion by emailing your thoughts and ideas to autismgroups@worcestershire.gov.uk

How We can Support You

All the employers that Careers Worcestershire work with, we are fully confident that they are flexible and supportive to their employees, so if you are autistic and looking to find work and support, come to the Hub where we can provide you with help and guidance.

Here at the Hub, we support all young adults, including autistic people, aged 15-24 move into the next chapter of their lives – whether this involves going into education, following a training programme, or going into employment.

We provide help and support to make you feel more confident with your decisions about your future, offering various careers appointments with our friendly advisors, as well as health and wellbeing sessions with one of our partners in order to best suit you.

Pop into the Hub or use our website to book an appointment.

We look forward to seeing you!