Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG)

Your time at Birchwood college is valuable and goes very quickly. How you spend it will determine what direction you take following your time with us. Some of you will go on to university, others will prefer to get straight into the workplace through an apprenticeship or directly into employment.

It can be difficult deciding what to do. You may not have any career ideas or may not know how to get into your dream career or even what opportunities are available.

At Birchwood College you will take part in a programme of activities which will help provide you with the information you require. This will run as part of our IAG programme during registration but there will also be days off timetable when you will take part in careers activities rather than usual lessons. This programme is supported by employers, apprenticeship providers and universities whose representatives come into college to run workshops and activities as well as offering visits and taster days to their organisations. We have a bi-annual Careers Fair when all students have the opportunity to find out about the vast range of careers which exist as well as the qualifications and skills employers are looking for. In Year 12 you will take part in a work experience placement and in Year 13 you will have the chance to take part in mock interviews to prepare you for your next steps whether it be university or an apprenticeship.

Your form tutors will provide guidance on:

  • Researching higher education
  • Completing UCAS applications
  • Writing personal statements
  • Attending interviews for higher education

Your independent Careers Adviser, Mrs Morris will help you with:

  • Deciding what to do
  • Exploring all the options available to you
  • Finding out about the local labour market and what vacancies are available
  • CV writing and how to write a winning apprenticeship/job application
  • Interview technique

You can book an appointment by emailing: rmorris@birchwoodhigh.org

Here is some information on career planning and websites which we feel will help you to develop ideas. 



    Career Planning

    Career Planning is important if you are to find that perfect career and will help you increase your chance of entering your career of choice.

    There are 4 Stages in career planning 

    Stage 1: Know Yourself

    The first stage in any career plan is to increase your self-awareness.  Identifying your strengths and weaknesses and likes and dislikes, will help you narrow down the type of work you might enjoy. Think about: 

    • What is important to you?
    • What do you love to do?
    • What are you good at?
    • Where do you want to work? E.g. inside, outside, office, hospital, airport. 

    On the START website https://www.startprofile.com/ work through modules and quizzes looking at your strengths, interests, work preferences and get suggestions of careers which match your preferences and personality. It also gives information on careers/jobs/apprenticeships in your local area, tips on CV writing, applying to university and employability skills.

    If you register on this website, you will have access to your own Locker where you can keep all your research and results from the modules you have done, you can upload your CV and reports from work experience or anything else you have taken part in and then it is all in one place for when you need it again. 

    The “Buzz Quiz”  https://icould.com/  is also good for exploring your personality and work preferences and linking these to suitable careers. The quiz only takes about 10 minutes.

    Stage 2: Know Your Options

    Once you have built up a more detailed picture of yourself, the next stage is to see how this relates to the career opportunities out there.  Read up and do your research into different careers and find ones that match your skills, interests and values. 

    The National Careers Service is a good place to start with over 800 job profiles in an easy to read format.

    Prospects, the graduate careers website has equally as many graduate careers for you to research and some real life case studies for you to read.

    The employer sponsored website Careersbox has some interesting video clips on different careers sectors. 

    https://successatschool.org/  – explore sectors, get advice on different routes and see information on apprenticeships.

    https://www.ucas.com/  – contains information on career planning, university and apprenticeships.




    Stage 3: Make Plans

    What do you need to do next? 

     A specific course at college/6th form

    • University

    • Apprenticeship or traineeship

    • Further your skills and experience through work/volunteering

    Stage 4: Take Action and Apply

    4 Stages in Career Planning

    1. Thinking About Me
    2. Researching My Options
    3. Making Plans
    4. Taking Actions



    Apprenticeships are jobs with training leading to further qualifications. There are 4 levels of apprenticeships: 

    • Intermediate
    • Advanced
    • Higher
    • Degree

    Intermediate and advanced apprenticeships can be done straight after year 11, but higher and degree apprenticeships require level 3 qualifications (A’levels, BTECs, Diplomas) so they are usually taken after a college course or after completing an advanced apprenticeship at age 18.

    Why Go To University

    Choosing higher education has many benefits. These include: developing valuable skills to give you wider opportunities, studying a subject you’re passionate about, gaining a qualification to help you follow your chosen career, higher earning potential.

    ​With a huge range of courses available, it’s important to do your research to decide what’s right for you.

    UCAS – How it all Works

    University applications are made through UCAS. There is a lot of useful information help and support on the UCAS website, both for students and their parents/carers.

    Student Life

    Make sure you have a look at Student Finance. You may be entitled to extra support. There are also other websites which can give you advice on the best way to manage financing further education.

    Extra Curricular Activities and Volunteering

    Whilst it is important to work hard and aim for the best possible grades at school/college it is also important to take part in activities to help build up skills and experience.

     Employers are looking for the following key skills: Communication, team-working, using initiative, working well under pressure, IT skills and enterprise.

    These skills can be developed by taking part in the enrichment programme at college on Wednesday afternoons or through activities outside college e.g. being a member of a gym, theatre group, football team. Volunteering is also a great way to gain experience and to build up these soft skills. For volunteering opportunities visit the Do It website.

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