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First steps after study

You rCareer SignpostWhether you’ve just finished your GCSE’s, AS or A levels, College or degree Course, this is a huge moment in your career “life”. You have some big decisions to make on which road to step down next. For many, including myself at the time, this is a daunting experience – what exactly is the right option for me? Where do I go for advice? And what are my options anyway? The better informed you are, the better choice you’ll make.

If you’re coming to the end of your studies and not sure which direction you want to take, it’s important that you think about your options carefully as a rushed decision may cause heartache in the future. Here are a few pointers on the options available to you to give you a head start.

I would like to continue studying
There are lots of options available to you dependent on which course you are finishing; from the traditional AS and A levels, University courses to Diplomas relating to a particular core subject that combine study with practical experience, it is important you do your research and ensure the subject is one you enjoy or that will help you on the way to your ultimate career goal. Remember studying is not “one size fits all” solution, studying at college or Uni may not be for everyone, so you need to be comfortable with the decision you make. There are a number of local course providers, but a good start would be Wiltshire College, Bath College  or The Learning Curve.

Can I get qualifications without doing more studying?
Yes you can, and they are an excellent way of getting qualifications without going to college and getting your first taste of the world of work. Apprenticeships offer work-based training and the ability to earn money at the same time. But it does take commitment as it can take up to 24 months to gain your qualification. Look into BTECs and OCR Nationals; they are work-related qualifications which offer a mix of theory and practice so you’ll study at college but there is usually an element of work experience too. For more information on Apprenticeships and what is available in our area see the National Apprenticeship Service website.

Need a break from studying, but not ready for a job?
Some people take a ‘gap year’, after finishing their studies. Take this as an opportunity to work out your next move while having fun and building on your skills. Be realistic though – traveling around the world may be expensive but there are plenty of local volunteering projects you could get your teeth into. To find out more about the range of volunteer opportunities in our area contact Volunteer Centre Wiltshire on 0845 034 5250 or email

I am ready for the world of work
Getting your first wage from a job is a great feeling, but it’s important to look for work in a field that you enjoy and plays to your strengths, skills and experience. Try and think about your long term career goals and the possibilities for progression; look to apply for positions that offer training. Before applying however, make sure your CV is up-to-date and you’ve registered with online job boards and local recruitment agencies, but if you’re not sure how to start your job hunt take a look at our Career Services blog, where you’ll find even more helpful hints on CV Writing, Interview Training and above all how to start that elusive job hunt. You may not always get the first job you apply for but the key is to keep trying, remain positive and look for temporary of voluntary work to enhance your CV.

Good luck!

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