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Exam season is here, but what next?

11 May 2016

The next couple of months will see young people across the UK sit their end of school exams. For many the goal of getting through the exams is the main focus but, strange though it may seem to them now, life goes on after the exams. 

Most young people in Loughborough will know what they want to do in September. Hopefully they will have already received offers for college or secured an apprenticeship, and now be working hard to achieve the grades they need. Other young people may be unsure, or have unrealistic goals. 

Sue Tombs, from Prospects, the employment, education, training and care services company, meets many young people as they cross the threshold from education to employment. Sue says: “Exams are a stressful time, young people are told all the time they need to do well to get college places and apprenticeships. Sadly many young people will not gain the results they need, and be left unsure what do to next. After the exam results are released we are available to help any young person who needs careers advice and support, however, it can be a good idea to start having a back-up plan now.”

One young person who Prospects are supporting is Rob* from Loughborough, who knows what he is going to do, he’s going to be a professional footballer. 

Having been excluded from school, Rob is at risk of becoming not in employment, education or training (NEET). To prevent this from happening Prospects is working with Rob to widen his options. Rob has a personal adviser, Lucy, who encourages Rob’s plans, while making him aware that very few people become professional footballers. 

Although committed to football, Rob admitted to Lucy that he enjoyed editing websites and coding, and had started doing freelance IT work. This second interest gave Lucy an opportunity to talk to Rob about back-up plans. 

Together they looked at short courses and part time courses in IT, games design and computing at the local college. These courses would fit around football and Rob agreed that continuing to study an IT related course could offer him other options. 

After her meeting Lucy commented: “It’s great to see someone with a clear plan and ambition, and I look forward to seeing Rob on Match of the Day. However, if he doesn’t become a professional footballer it’s good to know he now recognises he has other options offering excellent career opportunities.

“Making a back-up plan can feel like you are planning to fail, but it really isn’t. By knowing all your options early on you can make an informed decision about your future. Then you won’t feel forced into making a bad decision when you find your first choice is not possible.” 

In Leicestershire Prospects provide careers information, advice and guidance for young people who are not in education, employment or training (NEET).  We work with young people aged 16-19 on behalf of Leicestershire County Council.  

We operate a drop-in and an appointment service Loughborough and support at outreach venues throughout the county.  Young people who want to get in touch can find Prospects Leicestershire on Facebook.

* Not his real name


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