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Exam results time? ‘F’ doesn’t need to be about failure…

As Thursday 20 August approaches, the media (and helpful people like us!) are full of advice about what to do when your children receive those crucial GCSE exam results. The trip to school on that Thursday morning will be one full of anxiety and apprehension for your offspring and this is where you come into your own as a parent. We all know that as parents we suffer from that nervousness too, but because we have wisdom on our side (or pretend we do) and the benefit of our own experiences, we know that it’s not those exam results that really matter – it’s what your child does with them afterwards that really counts.
Comforting words and supporting gestures are where you show your qualifications as a parent. Regardless of As or Fs, you will provide your child with the advice and guidance they need and let them know that those results are only the start of things to come. They still have choices irrespective of what the envelope contains on that Thursday and it’s up to us to help them to find information which will make those choices informed. So F definitely doesn’t have to stand for failure. It can be for a fabulous future and it can also stand for fantastic family – ie you! Your involvement on results day can make all the difference, but just in case you do have a few jitters ahead of your parent test, let us help you out with a few pointers which we think will be useful.
When standing at the those post-results crossroads and considering what to do next, suggest to your son or daughter that they look at their options in two manageable chunks; 1) a continuation of full-time education in a traditional, academic college or sixth-form capacity and 2) work-based learning, such as an Apprenticeship. The decision between these two really depends on individual preferences and learning styles. Both produce qualifications which will profit your child in their future careers, but one allows them to earn money at the same time while gaining valuable work experience, just two of the benefits of an Apprenticeship. Let me share the rest with you so that you in turn can offer the information as part of heart-to-heart with your progeny!
Apprenticeships are structured training programmes which give young people a chance to work towards a qualification. They help them gain the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in their chosen industry. Getting into employment earlier means there’s lots of potential to progress in their career quickly. They can also begin to earn a good salary much earlier on in life.

Apprenticeships give a fantastic experience in the working world and show employers that a candidate can ‘hit the ground running’. Hands-on training gives a real chance to put skills into practice and helps learners to gain more confidence in a working environment.

They earn while they learn. Simple. No student loans, no tuition fees, and, hopefully, no debt. They’ll be paid a salary by their employer, and the government tends to cover the cost of the training for most young people.

They give CHOICE. There are over 400 different types of Apprenticeships. So whatever their career aspirations, be they in marketing, childcare, retail or business, there’s something for everyone.

Apprenticeships offer a varied learning experience. They mean that your child won’t have to spend all of their days studying; most of the time they’ll be working at a company. It’s all about learning while doing, and learning from others in their chosen field.

They can gain higher qualifications through apprenticeships, such as HNCs, HNDs, Foundation degrees and honours degrees.
Apprenticeships are brilliant! Well, we think so. We have seen how they can provide young people with experience that will set them up for the rest of their career, but in case you’re still not sure about encouraging your child to pursue this route, here are some more Apprenticeship facts that might just help you make up your mind:

  • since 2010, there have been over 2 million apprenticeship starts in England


  • apprenticeships are available in over 170 industries including aerospace, fashion, broadcast media and finance – with 1500 job roles available


  • 19% of advanced apprentices progress to Higher Education


  • higher apprenticeships are available in 40 subjects


  • 90% of apprentices stay in employment after finishing their apprenticeship (includes 2% self-employed)


  • 71% of apprentices stay with the same employer


  • 82% said their apprenticeship had improved their ability to do the job and 79% said that their career prospects had improved


  • up to 25,000 apprenticeship vacancies available online at any one time


  • there has never been a better time to employ an apprentice, or start an apprenticeship


  • 1,000 businesses are now involved in designing the new apprenticeship standards


  • the government invested £1.5bn in apprenticeships in 2013 to 2014


  • from April 2016, employers will no longer be required to pay employer National Insurance contributions for apprentices under the age of 25 on earnings up to the upper earnings limit


  • if you’re a small business, you may get a £1500 grant to help cover the cost of starting a new apprentice aged 16 to 24 years old


  • 84% of employers say they are satisfied with the programme


  • almost 9 in 10 of every employer that takes on an apprentice report benefits to their business


  • 70% reported that apprenticeships improved their productivity or the quality of their product or service


  • there has never been a better time to employ an apprentice, or start an apprenticeship.


  • If reading facts and figures aren’t your thing, why don’t you both come in and see one of our team who can tell you more about Apprenticeships and what vacancies are available in your local area. Take a look on our contact page of our website to find a centre near to you, or simply call 0333 444 5055 and we’ll point you in the right direction.

    Facts above taken from https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/key-facts-about-apprenticeships