Results Day 2022: Exploring Your Options With GMACS
It’s that time of year again! Results day means thousands of students across Greater Manchester will be making decisions about their future. If you’re getting your results this year, you might be feeling stressed and worried or relaxed and unconcerned – and either is totally fine. You might want to plan for every eventuality, or just go and get your results and see what happens. You can respond to results day whichever way feels right for you.
One thing that might help you manage your stress on results day is making sure you understand all the options available to you after you get your results. You might not have thought about the entire range of things you could do – so taking a little bit of time to explore all your options here on GMACS could open your eyes to a new pathway. We can’t promise you all the answers, but GMACS has information on all the options you could take.
In this article, we’re going to outline the main choices for education or work you could take after you get your results. We’ve spoken to some experts in each area and even added some case studies so you can hear from young people who are studying or have finished some of the options.
But before we dig in to all that, here’s a quick video from Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, wishing all those getting their results the very best of luck!
A Flexible Next Step
If you’ve got your exam results and are unsure of what you want to do next, then you might want to consider doing a traineeship.
Traineeships are a flexible education and training programme that include a work placement. While they are unpaid, they offer free training, qualifications and support to help you feel ready for an apprenticeship or job. They also allow you test how you feel about working in a particular role or sector.
The following is included across all traineeships:
- A high quality work placement ranging from 70 to 240 hours to give you meaningful work experience.
- Tailored help and support from a local training provider.
- English, maths and digital qualifications if needed. You may also have the option of a technical qualification depending on your chosen area of work.
- An exit interview or, if available, an interview for an apprenticeship or job post.
I would recommend exploring the option of traineeships, as they are a fantastic way to bridge the gap between the end of school or college and the world of work. They give you a taste of what an apprenticeship or job is really like so you can confidently make the first step in your career journey!
Victoria McCorriston, Project & Policy Support Officer, GMCA
Build Salford 2022 Trainee
“At Wingate, I am learning to become an electrician, closely working with qualified operatives. I have been learning how to pull, fix and terminate cables and how to work safely on site. In addition, I have been learning how to plan works and correctly prepare materials for different jobs.
I was recommended the Build Salford Traineeship through Apprenticeships at Salford City College who advised me that this would be a good route for employment. I am now hoping to qualify as an electrician in four years or less.”
Earn while you learn
Apprenticeships are a great option if you want to get into work straight away and earn money while you learn the job. As an apprentice, you get lots of on the job training from your colleagues, and you also spend about one day a week doing extra training, which is all paid for. There are apprenticeships in lots of different jobs, everything from engineering to healthcare and digital marketing, and companies are hiring all the time, so have a look at the GMACS apprenticeship search page and see what might suit you.
Amy Glanville, Apprenticeships Programme Manager, GMCA
We chatted to Megan from The Juice Academy all about her apprenticeship journey including some top tips and advice if you’re picking up your results.
A levels are traditional academic qualifications, where you can study some of your favourite subjects from GCSE (and many new ones!) in much more depth. They’re very academic and are assessed with an exam at the end.
You usually take three A levels in different academic subjects. They give you a broad knowledge of each subject that’s more advanced than GCSEs. They’re a good choice if you haven’t decided on your career and you enjoy traditional classroom-based studying.
The A level route is often referred to as the “academic pathway”. It’s often the chosen route for those wishing to progress to university or other Higher Education.
Lots of young people choose to do A levels as their post-16 education choice. A levels are excellent general qualifications that are valued by employers and universities. A levels offer a great route into Higher Education, but they’re also a good route into employment.
Supported internships are employment-based courses for young people with Special Education Needs and Disabilities. They offer opportunities to develop genuine employability skills and experience.
Based in real work places, they involve working alongside other working people. This enhances teamwork and social skills.
Pure Innovations is a Greater Manchester-based charity that supports people to create fulfilled lives with a sense of purpose and belonging.
Pure Innovation Supported Internships are a partnership between a host employer, e.g. a hospital or council; a college providing tuition or their own specialist employment team.
Each intern receives a support plan tailored to their needs. Their skills are matched to job roles within the employer’s organisation, like clerical, catering or portering.
The timescale mirrors the academic year and the usual format is three 10-week work placements.
BTEC stands for Business and Technology Education Council. These qualifications combine practical learning with subject and theory content. BTEC qualifications are flexible, and you can take one alongside (or instead of) GCSEs and A levels in schools and colleges.
BTECs are divided into units which cover specific areas of knowledge, skills and understanding of a particular sector or industry.
BTECs are specialist work-related qualifications, available in a range of different areas. They combine practical learning with subject and theory content.
BTECs are a type of technical qualifications, designed for young people who are interested in a particular sector or industry but aren’t sure what job they’d like to do. For example, you could study a childcare or engineering BTEC to get an overall sense of that industry without specialising into specific job roles.
You can study BTECs alongside academic qualifications like A levels, or as a standalone course. You may also study for a BTEC qualification during an apprenticeship.
T levels have been recently introduced – the T stands for technical. These qualifications have only been available since September 2020. T levels are at the same level as A levels but are much more focused on getting the knowledge and skills to work in a particular industry like digital or finance. You’ll spend 80% of your time in a classroom and 20% with an employer.
T levels are a new qualification after GCSEs. If you have a good idea which career you’d like to go into, and you want to learn the relevant technical skills for that career in a classroom, T levels could be a good choice for you.
One T level equals three A levels and takes two years to complete.
T levels courses have all been written with the help of employers, so you get the knowledge and skills that you need in the workplace. T levels are designed to make sure you’ll be ready to get a job when you qualify.
T levels aren’t an easy option, and you’ll have to work hard. You’ll spend 80% of your time in the classroom learning theory and practical skills. Then, for the other 20% of your time (45 days minimum), you’ll put these skills into action on an industry placement with an employer.
You’ll learn core skills and knowledge as part of your T level course, and you can then choose to specialise for a specific job. For example, you could study for a Design, Surveying and Planning for Construction T Level. During the course, you could choose to specialise in civil engineering, building services design, hazardous materials and surveying or surveying and design for construction and the built environment – whichever suits you best. This makes T levels a flexible option for people looking to join a specific sector or industry but who aren’t sure on exactly what job they’d like yet.
Auzai Khan, a Digital T Level student at Oldham Sixth Form College, hailed the industry placement element of his T Level course and said it has been useful to gaining insight into the digital industry.
Auzai said: “Finally, I have completed my first year and I enjoyed every bit of it and now I’ve just completed my industry placement which was different because of never working before. At first I was not liking the sound of an industry placement. However, completing the placement was useful because if gives you an insight on how work life is – helping you to gather skills such as being organised, boosting your confidence and improving your communication skills. By doing this it gave me a better chance into getting into universities and jobs for the future because of having industry experience which students wouldn’t have who have taken a A-Level or BTEC.
“Overall, I would recommend the Digital T Level because it’s different to the rest of the courses and I feel it’s going to be the future of pathways students can take because of the industry placement factor, which gives student the upper hand to the rest of the students.”
@OSFC_Info. student, Auzai Khan shares his T Level experience:
🗣️ “I would recommend the Digital T Level… because of the industry placement factor.”
— Greater Manchester Combined Authority (@greatermcr) November 30, 2021
Your careers options
If you’re thinking about different careers, it’s also helpful to consider what sort of area you might like to work in. This could be something as vague as knowing you like law, or working outside and wanting to explore related careers; or it could mean knowing that you want to definitely become a nurse or teacher.
To help you with this research, on the GMACS website we’ve got some information about the top growth sectors in Greater Manchester, as well as some sample jobs you could look at in each area.
Have a browse and explore – you might find something that sparks your imagination!