Careers advice for GCSE students

West Midlands students urged to consider post-16 vocational options.

School leavers in the West Midlands are being encouraged to explore all their options to continue post-16 education after GCSE Results Day this week.

Young people in England must remain in education until age 18 and training provider Skills Training UK, which has centres in Dudley, Walsall, Birmingham and Wolverhampton, is highlighting the range of vocational options available for those looking for an alternative to college or sixth-form.

The training provider offers three routes for young people – a range of Level 1/2 qualifications including English and maths for 16-18 year-olds, traineeships for 16-24 year-olds, and apprenticeships. All routes offer qualifications in specific work sectors, such as business enterprise, warehousing, and health and social care.

Through practical work experience and classroom delivery from experienced tutors, students are supported to achieve vocational qualifications and employability skills wanted by employers to help them reach their next level of study, an apprenticeship or full-time employment.

Graham Clarke, director of education and social mobility at Skills Training UK, said: “We know GCSE Results Day can be a stressful time for young people and their families, especially if their hard work isn’t rewarded. Our vocational qualifications are an exciting alternative to traditional college or sixth-form routes, with smaller classroom settings and tailored support for each individual.

“At our centres across the West Midlands, we offer free vocational training where young people are supported to achieve the skills they need to meet the demands of local employers in industries such as manufacturing, hospitality and business, while allowing them to decide what type of career they want, boosting their confidence, and helping them take their next step – whatever it may be.”

Skills Training UK won the Training Provider of the Year Award at the 2019 Times Educational Supplement FE Awards and is rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted.

Meanwhile, apprenticeships are another practical route for people of any age, offering ‘on-the-job’ training while working towards a qualification in a specific sector. The training provider works with a range of employers to create bespoke programmes that directly address employers’ needs, ensuring learners have a real opportunity to progress.

Tutors also provide practical careers advice and support with job searching, CV writing, and interview skills.

Wolverhampton youngster Zakariye Kulmiya changed the direction of his life after achieving Level 1 and Level 2 qualifications in maths with Skills Training UK this summer and enrolling onto an IT Apprenticeship with Digital Marketing Solutions in Small Heath.

The 20-year-old said: “This has been the best year of my life. At school I messed about and didn’t pay attention but I’ve now achieved industry-recognised qualifications, improved my confidence, and I’m now ready to pursue a career in software engineering.”

To find out more and enrol onto a training programme for 16-24 year-olds, visit