How To… Consider Which Career You Might Like

There are lots of different things to consider when you are thinking about which path to take and it can certainly become overwhelming. Believe it or not, there are lots of ideas and theories behind what makes people pick the jobs or careers that they do. Have a look at the below, and see if you prefer any of these statements…

  • I wants a career that my family, friends and community respects and want them to be proud of me.

If this is you, then you might want to speak to your family and friends about their experiences of school and choosing a career and see what advice they can offer. Consider what jobs they suggest you might be suited to, but remember that everyone is different and everyone has different talents and skills.

  • I want a career that suits my personality and skills.

If this is you, then you might want to consider taking a personality trait or aptitude test, such as the one that can be found at Try to keep an open mind when you are doing it though and remember that the types of careers that are suggested might not be available in your local area.

  • I don’t mind what I do as long as it’s interesting – I expect to change jobs several times during my working life.

If this is you, then you should make sure that you are constantly aware of new opportunities and that you take advantage of networking and building new professional relationships. Try to research related events and activities and have an up to date social networking or media profile.

Regardless of your initial influences, remember that the vast majority of successful careers come from hard work and careful research and planning. You should also consider not just what career you want, but what kind of life that you want. Try asking what you value more…

  • Money or free time?
  • Travel or home comforts?
  • Being indoors or outdoors?
  • Working on your own or with others?
  • Having a routine or being spontaneous?
  • Being a leader or being directed?
  • Being practical or theoretical?
  • Career progression or stability?
  • Qualifications or experience?
  • Job perks or job satisfaction?
Dream Job


How to… Get an Apprenticeship

Anyone living in England between the ages of 16 – 24 and that doesn’t hold a University degree (or higher!) can apply for an Apprenticeship.

What is an Apprenticeship?
An Apprenticeship combines gaining a formal qualification with “real-world” work experience. You will be given a wage of a minimum of £3.30xxx an hour (although many employers offer more than this) and will typically go to work for four days a week and attend college or visit a training provider on the fifth.

Is an Apprenticeship for me?
If you consider yourself to be a responsible person and able to use your initiative to work independently as well as working with others, then you may well be suited to an Apprenticeship. The hours can be long and you have to be sure that you are dedicated to your role and the industry you will be working in, in order to be successful.

What can I do an Apprenticeship in?
You can now do an Apprenticeship in almost any industry and in a wide range of roles including;
• Accident Repair (Body)
• Accident Repair (Paint)
• Accountancy
• Barbering
• Beauty Therapy
• Brickwork
• Business / Office Administration
• Carpentry & Joinery
• Catering & Hospitality
• Children and Young People’s Workforce
• Customer Service
• Driving Goods Vehicles
• Electrical Installation
• Engineering (Fabrication and Welding)
• Engineering (Maintenance/Mechanical Engineering)
• Environmental Conservation
• Graphic Design
• Hairdressing
• Health
• Health & Social Care
• Heavy Vehicle Maintenance & Repair
• ICT, Software, Web and Telecoms – Support Technician
• ICT Application Specialist
• Light Vehicle Maintenance & Repair
• Management
• Motorcycle Maintenance & Repair
• Nursery Nursing
• Plastering
• Plumbing
• Professional Cookery
• Process Manufacturing
• Retail
• Social Media
• Traffic Office
• Warehousing & Storage
• Web Design

What are the different levels of Apprenticeships?
There are Apprenticeships at different levels, depending on your existing qualifications.

An Intermediate Apprenticeship is at a similar level to GCSE’s and you most often will need to have already passed some GCSE qualifications (including English and Maths) in order to be able to apply for one. Whilst on an Apprenticeship at this level, you will study for an NVQ with Key Skills.

An Advanced Apprenticeship is similar to A-Levels and you will often need to have at least five A* – C grades at GCSE and have already have completed an Apprenticeship (see above). You will often study a Level 3 NVQ and a BTEC whilst on an Advanced Apprenticeship.

A Higher Apprenticeship progresses you on to a Level 4 NVQ and the company you work for may also offer you the opportunity to study at a university or college for a HND or Foundation Degree.

Where can I find an Apprenticeship?
The website shows all of the vacancies currently available in the UK! You will need to set up an account with this website and can set up email alerts for new vacancies that become available. You can also look for local training providers through a search engine such as Google or contact your local college to see if they offer courses in the roles you are interested in.

How Do I Apply For An Apprenticeship?

The application process for Apprenticeships can be quite lengthy and confusing. Every vacancy is different, but typically, the process you will follow will be;
1. Register with and / or training providers and upload your CV so that potential employers can get an idea of what you are like as a candidate.
2. Search and apply for any vacancies that interest you. At this point, you may be required to answer in writing questions about why you are interested in the vacancy and what career aspirations you have.
3. If you are successful, you may then be invited to attend an initial aptitude assessment (such as SelectAhead for Engineering) so that the employer can assess whether you have the basic skills required for the role.
4. If you pass the assessment, you will then be invited to a formal interview, which can take anything from half an hour to a full day. For the interview, you should have thoroughly researched the company you are interviewing with and have prepared answers to any potential questions.
5. Hopefully, celebrate being successful!

How to… Ace an Interview

Learning how to feel confident in an interview is one of the most important skills you can learn. Although it is perfectly natural to be nervous (no matter how much preparation you do!), being able to give well thought out answers to the interviewers questions will certainly aid you in being successful. Below is a list of potential interview questions, with suggestions on how they might be answered.

In addition to preparing answers to questions, it is vital that you arrive at your interview at least ten minutes early and are smartly dressed. You should have done plenty of research about the company or establishment you are interviewing with and should be able to demonstrate that you are familiar with the information that you have learnt about them.

  • Questions About You
    You should avoid saying “nothing” (or similar!) and make sure that they give more than one-word answers.
    Tell me about yourself…?
    – What are you most proud of?
    – What do you enjoy most about School?
    – What subjects do you enjoy the most / least? Why?
    – What are you doing to improve your weaker subjects?
    – What books have you read recently?
    – Where would you most like to travel to? Why?
    – Have you ever had to make a hard decision? How did you handle it?
    – What motivates you?
    – How would your friends / teachers describe you?
  • Questions About Your Experiences and Skills
    You should be honest – it is OK if they you had negative experiences, as long as you say what you learnt from it.
    Have you any particular hobbies or interests?
    – What do you do in your spare time?
    – Tell me about a situation where you have learned a great deal from recently?
    – Tell me about a time when you received negative feedback. How did you handle it?
    – What are your strengths and weaknesses?
    – Have you gained any work experience or done any voluntary work? How did you find it and what did you learn from it?
    – Do you prefer to work in a team or as an individual?
    – Can you cope under pressure? Give some examples
  • Questions About Your Future
    If you are undecided, you should still discuss which subjects or general career areas that you hope your future will revolve around.
    – What are your main aspirations?
    – Where do you see yourself in 5 / 10 / 15 years?
    – Have you got a particular career in mind? If so, why that career?
    – Are you considering University?
    – Do you have a back-up plan?
    – What do you think will be hardest about achieving your future goals?
    – What are you most looking forward to about your future?
  • Questions About Choices
    You should avoid saying “because it’s easy / close / my friends are there” – you should show that you have fully researched your choices! Why did you choose your particular GCSE options?
    -Why have you chosen to study these subjects?
    – What particularly attracted you to these subjects?
    – Why have you applied to this college?
    – Have you applied anywhere else?
    – What did you think to our Open Evening?

How To… Write a CV and Covering Letter

What is a Curriculum Vitae?

A Curriculum Vitae, or C.V., is a summary of who you are as a person: it details your education and employment history and YOU are the title!

They are often requested by employers as part of the job application process and people also often distribute them to companies that they are interested in working for should any vacancy arrive.

Your CV should reflect your personality and, to some extent, the general industry that you are interested in working in.

See below for some examples of what a good CV might look like.

What is a Covering Letter?

A Covering Letter should be given with a CV and should give more details about why you are applying for a role or job in particular. You should ensure that you detail what skills and attributes you have that are especially suited to the role and demonstrate that you have researched the company that you are applying to work for.

They are written formally and you should always find out if there is a specific person at the company that you should address the letter to.

Example CV 1

Download How To… Example CV 1

Example CV 2

Download How To… Example CV 2

Example CV 3

Download How To… Example CV 3

Example CV 4

Download How To… Example CV 4