We wrote the other day about how not to stress out about your A-level choices but what if the only decision you’ve made is that you don’t want to do A-levels?
Well, that’s ok. Not everyone will want to do the same thing and A-levels aren’t the best choice for everyone. But just deciding you don’t want to do A-levels doesn’t mean you’re destined to stack shelves at the supermarket for the rest of your life. There are loads of other options that will lead you into great career paths – and some will still enable you to go to uni.
First, there’s the option of doing a Diploma. Now, unfortunately, these are only available in England, but the good news is they’re not being scrapped like some people thought they would be. Diplomas are available in a range of subjects including media, construction, hospitality, and hair & beauty. And the Advanced Diploma (which is the level you would be studying post-GCSE) is equivalent to three and a half A-levels.
Diplomas are a great alternative to A-levels if you’d prefer to learn in a more practical way as it’s not all exams and coursework – you get to complete work experience as part of the course. And diplomas will be accepted by some universities, but not all so make sure you do your research if you’re planning on applying to uni.
Another option, pretty similar to a Diploma, is BTECs. They’re concentrated on getting hands-on skills that are useful for the workplace and they’re assessed via coursework. And, similar to Diplomas, they are equivalent to three A-levels and accepted for entry to many universities. You could also follow up a BTEC by doing an apprenticeship or getting a job.
Speaking of apprenticeships, you don’t have to do A-levels, a Diploma or a BTEC before doing an apprenticeship. You can take this route after your GCSEs. Apprenticeships are available in a range of industries – it’s not all building and plumbing these days. And, even better news, apprenticeships are paid. Admittedly it’s not an amazing amount of money but the average earned by apprentices is £170 per week, with some lucky apprentices earning up to £210.
Apprenticeships are unlikely to give you a direct route to university but they could lead to further study. A lot of apprentices also find that they enjoy the job that they’re training in and want to pursue a career in that field. And with an apprenticeship on their CV, they’ve got an advantage over those who have little or no experience of the job when applying.
Or you could try getting a job that comes with some training. There are a number of different routes that you can go into without having to do more studying post-16. Some banks or insurance companies might consider taking on someone with good GCSEs that they can train up. Or many office administration jobs don’t require qualifications higher than GCSEs, but could still lead to promotions within the company that lead into the field you want to work in.
So don’t panic about your decisions.There are lots of options – even if you don’t want to do A-levels.