Alternatives to A-Levels ahead of GCSE results day

Picture: PA
Picture: PA

Although A-levels remain the traditional educational route after GCSEs, they are not the only option - with more and more students turning towards apprenticeships and vocational qualifications as real alternatives.

Many teenagers picking up their GCSEs on Thursday (August 23) have already been in education for the best part of 12 years.

But these days, teenagers up to the age of 18 are legally required to stay in education, training or get a job with accredited training - something the government calls ‘raising the age of participation’.

Ruth Sparkes, editor of teen careers and education magazine, Future Mag, said: “Being in further education or training doesn’t mean teenagers have to stay in the same school. There are lots of options.

“For those students who didn’t get the GCSEs they were hoping for, or already have a particular career in mind, or just don’t find the prospect of another two years studying A-levels appealing, here are our top three options for life after GCSEs.”

Do an apprenticeship - Apprenticeships have had some mixed press. The quality and rates of pay have been in the news, but there are lots of fabulous apprenticeship opportunities out there, and lots of organisations who can help and offer you the right information; check out UCAS’s website which explains all about apprenticeships. It’s full of accurate and up-to-date information and it can even help to dispel some of those apprenticeship myths. We found a fabulous apprenticeship scheme with global bank, Barclays – offering the chance for you to be paid while gaining an apprenticeship with them. There are other companies doing similar, so do your homework.

• Do a traineeship - Not quite ready for an apprenticeship? Need to work on your skills? Don’t worry there are lots of opportunities for you to complete a traineeship – Have a look at what a company like EDF Energy can offer you.

• Go to your local college - There are two types of college: Sixth Form college and Further Education college. Sixth Form Colleges are mostly geared up for students between 16 and 18-years-old, and tend to concentrate on academic education.

Further Education colleges are generally much bigger than Sixth Form colleges and offer a wider range of subjects, including vocational education (BTECs and NVQs), and they’re not just for teenagers. Further Education colleges offer adult education and degree courses too.

• Visit the website for more advice and information.