Last month we were very excited to host our first LOOK Life Hacks event in 2022. This is our new monthly discussion group for 11-18-year-olds where we meet up to discuss different topics with guest speakers, followed by informal chat and fun with our young people and LOOK, mentors.
Our first hot topic was ‘Next Steps if not going to Uni’. We know that for many young people, going to Uni may not be the right option for them so we wanted to learn more about other pathways that are available.
To talk about this we were delighted to be joined by Claire Lewin, Student Progression and Teaching Quality Lead at RNC (Royal National College for the Blind). Claire gave us lots of useful information about vocational studying, including which were the most popular vocational classes at RNC.
Our second special guest was Look Mentor Liam Simpson who shared his experience of apprenticeships with us. Liam talked about why and how he applied for his apprenticeship and what he’s learned along the way.
“At the end of the day you do get a qualification which is great on your CV and it helps with progression with better jobs and a good career.
The real positives are that (apprenticeships) get you into the workplace, the pay isn’t too great, to begin with, but it is your first job and it does give you experience which I think is the most important thing when you first start out.” Liam Simpson.
You can watch the original session, here:
Top Tips from the panellists
On vocational studying, Claire Lewin from RNC says:
- Whatever you’re going to study, choose something you love. Whatever it is, there will be a qualification for you.
- Consider how much exam work you want to do. Some vocational subjects don’t have any exam work at all.
- Look at uni guides so you know what knowledge and skills the course will help you develop.
- Think about how that qualification will help you to get where you want to go in your career.
- Most vocational subjects will also give you UCAS points which could help any future application you may make if you decide to go to university.
- The overarching skills you would hope to gain from a vocational qualification are communication skills (verbal/non-verbal and written), organisation, and self-advocacy.
- Some vocational courses offer work placements, so it’s important to consider your mobility skills when thinking about some of the courses.
On apprenticeship schemes, Liam Simpson says:
- Search for different levels of apprenticeship via the government website (see link below).
- Sometimes it’s better to go for a lower level of apprenticeship as they can offer you work experience.
- Gaining an apprenticeship can give you experiences that you won’t get from staying at school such as dealing with people face to face in a work setting, collaborating with colleagues, and team-building skills.
- With an apprenticeship, you are eased into the role gradually, rather than starting a job and the expectation being that you start doing that role immediately.
- Look out online for National Apprentice Week from 6th – 12th February 2023.
- The Government has a national website where you search for apprenticeships https://www.gov.uk/apply-apprenticeship . You can also search for ‘disability confident employers ‘ only, via a tick box.
- Civil Service Apprenticeship schemes https://www.civil-service-careers.gov.uk/apprenticeships/
- Blind in Business can give advice on apprenticeships and many other areas of employment https://blindinbusiness.org.uk/
- Thomas Pocklington Trust can help with many areas of employment https://www.pocklington-trust.org.uk/employment/
- National Careers Service https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/
- Some universities also offer apprenticeship schemes. UEL calls it ‘earn while you learn’ https://www.uel.ac.uk/study/apprenticeships
- Recruitment agencies such as Reed and Indeed offer apprenticeship-level jobs too https://uk.indeed.com/
- Other websites offering information on apprenticeship schemes are:
LOOK Life Hacks is a monthly online discussion group, to entertain, support and empower visually impaired young people aged 11 to 18-years-old.
To register for future events click on the button below.