Thursday, 6 March 2014

Invest in your career

It’s a big week for education and training: National Careers Week and National Apprenticeship Week have been raising awareness of all things careers-related, and events have been held across the country to help people think about what they want to do and advise them on how they might achieve it.

Being asked to make big decisions about your future is something we often associate with the later years of school, but there are also many people in the same situation who have long since left the classroom. What if the career you picked at school turned out not to be what you wanted, or you picked the wrong subjects to study and don’t have the right qualifications?

Trying to get some sense of your options can be difficult, but a good place to start is the National Careers Service. Once you have an idea of what you want to do, you can start to find out what qualifications you need and how you can get them.

Here at NEC we have many learners who enrol with us because of their career aspirations. Over the last 50 years since we were founded we’ve helped hundreds of thousands of learners to invest in their futures, and invest in themselves.

Take for instance Sarah Savidge who took a break from her career in human resources when she became a mother. Once she was ready to think about returning she realised she wanted something different. With the help of a distance learning childcare diploma course from NEC she was able to obtain a new qualification, allowing her to change careers. She now works in early years education.

Childcare and teaching courses like Sarah’s are very popular at NEC. Our new Guide to Courses includes a table to help you decide which of our full range of education courses is right for you, whether you want to work with young children, teenagers or adults.

Another popular area is GCSEs and IGCSEs. For many people, literacy and numeracy qualifications are a barrier to progressing in their desired career, and a minimum of Grade C at GCSE level in English and maths has become essential for many career paths including teaching, nursing and midwifery. NEC’s IGCSE in English Language and GCSEs/IGCSEs in Maths at Foundation and Higher level have given many of our students that vital stepping stone they needed to overcome that barrier, allowing them to enter new and rewarding careers.

Asylum seeker Emmanuel (not his real name) from the Ivory Coast is one such learner. A Refugee Council volunteer, he was given a chance to study with us by the Council’s partnership with NEC through the Eileen Sellars Bursary Fund. A lawyer in his home country, he spoke very little English when he first arrived in the UK, but now he is studying for an IGCSE in the language and aims to continue his studies with a course in counselling.

Many of our students want to do a degree to help them get their ideal job. Gaining A levels with NEC means they can then go on to apply to study at a university and get a step closer that dream role. One student who did just that is Miranda Stocks.

After taking a couple of years out to work and decide on a subject to study at university, Miranda enrolled with us on two A levels–Classical Civilisation and English Literature–so that she could go on to get a degree in Classics. She fast-tracked both subjects, and within a year had not only met but exceeded her conditional offer from Cambridge University: she achieved two A*s. She is now into her first year at Cambridge’s Hughes Hall College, and her dream is to pursue a Masters after graduating so that she can go into a career in art crime prevention, helping to recover stolen works and uncover forgeries.

If you’ve been inspired by our learners’ stories and want to find out more about NEC, visit our website to view our full range of flexible distance learning courses. You can also get in touch and speak to our Course Advice Team, who will be happy to answer your questions.

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