Exams are over, you've collected your results and regardless of whether you're over the moon with the outcome or feeling a little bit disappointed, it's likely that there is one question circling your mind - "Now what?". In this article, we explore the options open to you now that you have overcome the milestone that is completing your GCSEs.
One of the most popular routes post GCSEs is to follow them with A Level qualifications. A Levels are level 3 qualifications which take two years to complete and are one of the most traditional routes towards university. A big appeal of A Levels is that they allow you to choose to study subjects that you are most interested in and did well in during your GCSEs. Even if you choose to sit your A Levels as your next step, this doesn't prevent you from doing an apprenticeship at a later date.
These types of qualifications usually have a more practical basis. A Levels are primarily classroom-based, whereas vocational qualifications usually involve applying some of your classroom-based learning to practical, real-life situations. These qualifications cover a wide range of topics from Health and Social Care to Applied Business to Medical Science and many more and, just like A Levels, are recognised by employers as valid qualifications.
Apprenticeships are a great way of combining your desire to get into paid employment whilst continuing to study in order to gain further qualifications. Apprenticeships can cover a wide-range of industries and the majority of your time will be spent working (and being paid) in these environments. A small part of your time will then be dedicated to classroom learning, whereby you will be working towards gaining additional qualifications. Once your apprenticeship comes to an end your options will remain open, with you having the choice to go into full-time work or continue onto university.
Do you need to consider re-sitting?
Although right now it's probably the last thing you want to consider, if you didn't get a grade C or above in both English and Maths, you may want to think about re-sitting these qualifications. For many of the career pathway options that we've detailed above (such as certain vocational qualifications and apprenticeships) you will be required to hold GCSEs up to a certain level in order to join the courses. The same can be said for many full-time employment options that you may be looking into in a few years' time. Your teachers will be able to provide you with further guidance on this situation.
Whatever your results, it is important that you carefully think-through and plan what it is that you want to do with the next stage of your life. Although it may seem daunting, there is a lot of support available to students and your teachers will be able to advise you on the best options for you. Best of luck for the exciting times that lie ahead!