Interview: Georgia Brown, Student Achievement Officer at Bsix Sixth Form College

Apprentice Eye recently caught up with Georgia Brown, Student Achievement Officer at Bsix Sixth Form College, to discuss the different opportunities for young people when they leave full-time education.

Are the students you work with aware of the different opportunities available to them after leaving college?

I believe many students lack an understanding of what opportunities are on offer and how to go out about acquiring more information about them. A large number of the students I support live in personal circumstances which mean earning a living is important from a young age. This means many forego the idea of pursing education after college.

What do you think can be done to help raise awareness of apprenticeships among young people?

I think there should be more involvement by organisations offering apprenticeships with schools and colleges to run events and careers fairs to distribute information. I also think teachers and people who work with young adults should be educated on the availability of apprenticeships and the avenues which they can be accessed through.

What are the common issues that come up when talking to students about their future careers?

Many of our students feel that education doesn’t have a place in their long-term future as ideas such as going to university seem unrealistic or unsuitable. It is often the case that they either want or need to earn a living as soon as possible in order to support themselves financially.  Introducing ways that encourage them to pursue their studies is challenging, but something that apprenticeships have to offer.

What advice would you give to a school leaver who is unsure of whether or not to go to university?

Don’t assume that university is the only choice. If university doesn’t appeal to you, ask yourself why and then perhaps consider a vocational option such as an apprenticeship or training. Ask your teachers what they think your strengths are, and then discuss these with a careers advisor or do your own research online, and hopefully you’ll settle upon a choice that inspires you.

Do you think that apprenticeships should be seen as equal to university degrees?

I think apprenticeships offer just as many benefits as a university degree if you apply yourself accordingly. Both can lay the foundations for a life-long career, but they require hard work and commitment. Even though they are fundamentally different in their composition, both are equally challenging but ultimately rewarding.