As students become increasingly adept at meeting the challenges of remote learning, and teaching staff conjure up new ways to engage their learners, parents are now being invited to get in on the act.
Over the next two weeks the colleges that make up the Education Training Collective are holding a series of dedicated online information events for parents and guardians.
Looking for some advice? We asked the Etc.’s Group Student Recruitment Manager, Conor McKerlie, for his top tips for those helping youngsters decide what’s next…
1. Start the conversation
Conor says: “Helping a young person in your family to choose the right route after school can be difficult at the best of times, especially if they haven’t settled on a future career. This year those decisions may seem even more difficult with the additional challenges brought about by the pandemic such as not being able to take part in visits or course taster sessions.
“It’s so important to talk to the school leaver in your family and find out what information and advice they have already been given. By now they should have had a chat with their school careers advisor. You might just be surprised at how many options they are already aware of.”
2. Identify the subjects they are good at and those they enjoy
“If they don’t have a particular career in mind then chatting about the subjects they perform well in and like best is a good place to start, often these will be the same. Not surprisingly we all tend to perform better in the subjects we enjoy most.”
3. Discuss how they prefer to learn
“Whether it’s developing hands-on practical skills, learning through work or more academic classroom-based learning, thinking about the way students learn is key to helping choose those next steps. Remember there’s more than one entry route into every career destination, so it’s worth doing your homework! Be informed, did you know a level 3 vocational qualification can be worth the same UCAS (university entry) points as three A levels?
4. Explore every option
“It never hurts to have more than one plan in place. The good news is students can apply for several courses, and even to different colleges and providers, and not make a final decision until July, August or even September.
“Even if your school leaver thinks they know what they want to do next, it never hurts to take a look at all options. While face-to-face events are on hold at the moment there’s lots of online open events taking place.
“If your son or daughter wants to do an apprenticeship but hasn’t got that all important job offer yet, encourage them to sign up to a relevant course so they can build their skills while they wait and help them stand out from the crowd.”
5. Ask your questions
“Open events, information sessions and tours, both online and in person, are a chance to get answers to all your questions, so whether it’s course information, bus routes, bursary information or student support, this is your opportunity to focus on the details.
“This is why the colleges which make up the Etc. are offering events specifically for parents and guardians to see what our sites have to offer, so you can ask any questions and be better prepared to lend a hand when it comes to helping the school leaver in your family make those final decisions.”
6. Finally don’t forget to listen
“You might think that you know best but don’t forget to listen to what your son/daughter/school leaver has to say, after all, the final decision is theirs.”
Don't miss our online Parents' Information Event, Stockton Riverside College, Tuesday February 2, 5-7pm www.stockton.ac.uk/parents-infoevent
This is a chance to see what opportunities are available, chat to the teams, and ask your questions in real time. Students can also apply on the night!