Whatever your ambitions and aspirations are, further education has lots to offer as well as hundreds of exciting courses to interest and inspire you. Every year, thousands of people from across the UK and from overseas embark on courses at further education colleges. Colleges pride themselves on giving everyone an excellent experience, offering something to suit everyone, from full-time and part-time courses to distance learning opportunities. They boast vocational training, as well as A-levels and apprenticeships. Colleges offer excellent vocational opportunities and facilities to train students in areas such as; hospitality and catering, construction, engineering, performing arts, business, music, media, and fashion.
Many colleges and sixth forms have invested heavily in providing students with the best experience with many owning businesses that act as training centres where students can learn and work, both at the same time. Provision may include; restaurants, hair and beauty salons, as well as theatres for performing arts, recording studios for music and great sport centres and leisure complexes. Colleges also provide inspirational study and social spaces which can maximise your experience whilst in college.
Colleges and sixth forms are committed to providing support at all stages of your journey, from initial careers advice to helping you make well–informed career decisions, to providing financial support to help you to come to college, as well as providing support for additional needs such as dyslexia. Whilst you’re in college, support is continuously available through the staff and support services such as Learning Coaches, Learning Mentors and Counsellors.
Colleges also provide work experience and industry placements depending on your chosen course. Many have close relationships with local and national companies to ensure that the training offered both meets the expectations of employers and gives you the skills you need to succeed in the jobs market.
In the next few years, you will see the introduction of a new qualification the T-levels. This two year qualification is designed to maximise vocational potential and provide work experience to kickstart your career. For more information, visit the government website.
Going to college can be a gateway to your future. It can also be a second chance, especially if you didn’t achieve your desired grades. Colleges offer courses and programmes at all levels including English as a Second Language (ESOL) courses.
Most colleges advertise apprenticeship vacancies on websites such as www.careermap.co.uk. If you are looking for an apprenticeship and have a placement for 30 hours a week you can contact your local college to discuss what your options are.
How do I find out if further education is right for me?
Before leaving schools there are many practical things you can do to find out more such as ordering course guides and browsing course information online to look at what your local college has to offer. Start following colleges and sixth forms on social media as well as watching their content on YouTube. Why not book yourself in on an Open Day or a campus tour to really get a feel of the college?
Attend career events at school, and speak to the different colleges and sixth forms to find out more and collect as much information as possible. Finally, let people around you know what your plans as they can also support you on your journey as you take your first step on a path to an exciting future.
If you’d like more information or some impartial advice, contact our careers team here.