Specialist Careers & UCAS Advice
Building on from the careers sessions that they had during their GCSE years, a variety of career-based sessions are timetabled for the Lower Sixth and the Upper Sixth, along with a strong focus on UCAS applications, possible university options and/or potential jobs.
We are particularly proud of our highly-professional careers programme and our individualised UCAS preparation has a proven track-record in getting leavers into the top universities and on to the best courses for their future careers. After GCSE, pupils are encouraged to think in greater detail about plans for the future: namely, what would they do after A levels or university. The majority of King’s pupils go on from school to degree courses: indeed, in recent years we are proud to be able to say that every leaver who was seeking a place in higher education achieved one. For this reason, and to ensure that pupils choose a course that is suitable for them and that they will enjoy, the main focus of advice given to Sixth Formers in the Careers Department relates to making appropriate choices in terms of applications to colleges and universities.
Obviously, for a number of pupils, potential degree subjects will relate directly to a career which the individual is seeking to enter. This is clearly true for candidates applying to read Medicine, Law, and so on, and also very specific vocational degree courses such as Aviation, Electronic Engineering and Nursing. Other leavers opt for courses of a more general nature – such as English or History, etc - which allow career options to remain more open until the pupil is at university. Each Sixth Former has the opportunity to be counselled individually about making the appropriate decisions and is encouraged to make use of the wide range of material available from the computer databases, especially the UCAS website, which is constantly being upgraded and uploaded with information about higher education.
The broader careers focus includes CV & covering letter writing seminars and career lunches with a professional from an area related to those the pupil is interested in, where the pupils can talk more informally about a variety of professions and start building contacts, are now obligatory for every Sixth Former. In addition, we hold a mock ‘assessment centre’ day which mimics those for graduate recruitment schemes, where pupils apply and go through a rigorous interview process for a fictional role. The interviewers are all external business professionals and provide feedback on their performance.
With the recent rise in university fees and the long term trend in the UK for a large percentage of young people to go to university, we are also trying to encourage our pupils to look at other options besides university. The School maintains contacts with many local businesses, firms based in London and with MEBP (Medway Education Business Partnership) who provide an extensive and varied selection of work placements for pupils who wish to gain work experience. As the global market and career patterns change, we try and encourage our pupils to be realistic about their futures and make informed decisions about the various options open to them.
As Graduates find it increasingly difficult to get work in their specialist fields, pupils must realise that university is not the only option that they could take and, in a lot of cases, it could be best to enter directly into the job market. Our aim in the Careers Department is to offer the pupils optimum individual guidance, focus and preparation as they make the very important decisions for life after School.