Wednesday 20 August 2014

NadineAugust! For most it signifies the last couple weeks of summer holidays but for most 15 and 16 year olds it means GCSE results. But what if you don’t get the results you were expecting? What do you do?

I left school at 16 with nine GCSES, not A grades but good enough for me to enrol in to college. After a good work experience review in school, a love for children and thinking that it was mainly development through play, I choose to study childcare instead of the traditional A Levels.

My course was equivalent to three A Levels so I’d be alright if I wanted to do something other than childcare after. Wrong! Little did I know, of course it may be equivalent to A Levels but I was still only educated in one subject, I couldn’t exactly go into an accountant’s office with three childcare A Levels could I? The small print no-one informs you of.

You'd be right in assuming I didn’t enjoy working in childcare as much as I thought I would. Two part-time weeks of school work experience is all I based my future on. What do I do now?

I believe if I had been given the opportunity to sit down with my careers advisor at school for longer than ten minutes I would have been better informed about my lifelong choices after leaving school and the career routes and prospects that were open to me from those choices. I think if he had had a file on my likes, dislikes and, most importantly, my expected grades - not just my report from work experience, I may have been influenced to choose different subjects, opening up the opportunity for me to study anything other than childcare later on. Of course the fact that I had sat my maths GCSE a year earlier and was taking an extra course in statistics, could have opened many doors for me.

This is my story but it’s a story that has common themes amongst many young women today. Entry requirements for further education are usually five A*-C results including English and Maths. If you don’t achieve this, what choices and opportunities do you have to choose from?

Once again we will probably read in the media that girls have surpassed the boys in their results but is this the whole story? Young Women’s’ Trust’s “Scarred for Life?” inquiry, which I've been part of, publishes its initial findings on 1 September and will reveal what challenges face many of the girls picking up their GCSE results this week.