Beyond the classroom: Plymouthians taking the next steps to their new career

26 October 2017 | College News

Knowing what to do after finishing compulsory education can be stressful for many young people. With 16-18 year olds now having to stay in full-time education, take up an Apprenticeship or Traineeship, or go into paid employment, it is important to look beyond the classroom and explore all the options available.

We spoke to some young people in Plymouth to find out why they chose to leave school behind and try something different.

Forensic Science student, Mike Jones, completed his GCSEs but didn’t want to take the usual path to University. He wanted to study a course that was specifically focused on giving him the skills to be a paramedic.

Mike said: “I chose to study at City College Plymouth because the Medical Science course was exactly what I was looking for. The training is tailor-made for people who have an interest in the medical and health care profession. I’d say to anyone wanting to study at the College to do it, it was the best choice I ever made! And if you’re unsure about your next steps, then go in and have a chat with the team there – they are more than happy to help.”

Grace Hawken, a Level 3 Sport student, added: “I was in the same boat; after finishing my GCSEs, I knew I didn’t want to stay on at school. My main interest was in sport so I came to an Open Day at the College to look into my options and signed up for a Taster Session. I was so impressed with the course that I decided to apply.”

Full-time study is not the only choice. Apprenticeships are becoming an increasingly popular study option for those looking to earn a wage while learning in the workplace. Bethany Parker, 18, decided an Apprenticeship was the best route for her.

She said: “Being an apprentice is the perfect solution. As well as earning a wage, I am studying for a level 3 qualification which is going to help me progress my career. This Apprenticeship means that when I qualify at the end of this year, I will already have hands-on management experience and the skills to walk straight into the career that I want. City College Plymouth has opened so many doors for me, in fact, it was working at a College function day that got me my current job.”

Innovative training is not just for the younger generation, however, with more and more mature students hitting the books and going back in to education. With a wide range of part-time and university-level courses, the college route is also attracting older students like David Trott, 29, who studied a Foundation Degree in Accounting and Finance while working part-time. 

David said: “I hadn’t been in education for a number of years, and most of my outgoings were based on a full-time wage. I knew I would still need to work part-time whilst studying and so I decided to apply to City College. I heard great reviews in terms of the teaching standards at the College, and it is no coincidence that I went on to achieve a first class degree.”

On Saturday 4 November, young people looking for a different experience from school; sixth formers interested in a university-level qualification; and adults wanting to get back to work, change careers or improve their prospects, will get the chance to explore their options at City College’s Open Day.

The event showcases the College’s wide range of career-focused courses, with staff offering advice on full-time, part-time, access, university-level and Apprenticeships options. Visitors are able to view the industry-standard facilities and join in with practical demonstrations across the College, as well as take in music and dance performances.

Student Ambassadors will be on hand to talk about their experiences and life at the College, as well as local employers from a mix of sectors who will be giving an insight into their industry and the career opportunities within it, including: Babcock, the British Army, Plymouth Argyle, Princess Yachts and the Royal Air Force.

To find out more, visit or call 01752 305300.


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