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Navigating Paths Beyond School

Aligning with Scottish Careers Week, this month's blog focuses on the career opportunities available to our high school students.

At ISA, we believe that education is more than academic success – it is about equipping our students with the skills they need for their journey beyond school. As high school students approach the pivotal point of choosing their career path, we are committed to showing them all their options and providing the resources to navigate the road ahead.

While a university education is a common choice for our students, we advocate for exploring alternative, positive pathways. This can include apprenticeships, employment, college options, sponsored degrees, and graduate-level apprenticeships.

In the evolving professional landscape, a degree is no longer the exclusive ticket to a successful career. Spencer Mehlman of NotGoingToUni notes the increasing trend of students exploring alternatives which prompts major employers to invest in apprenticeship programs. Further, the latest UCAS report is flagging a significant growth in this demand with 40% of undergraduate applicants interested in pursuing apprenticeship role.

In our school career support meetings, apprenticeships take a prominent role in our discussions, emphasising how their structured training programs lead to industry-recognised qualifications, specialised skill acquisition, enhanced career prospects, and potential progression to higher education.

Choosing a college course is another option that our high school students explore; college offers flexibility, varied qualification options, clear progression routes, and a wide array of courses with direct links to universities.

We encourage students to expand their horizons by attending open days at both universities and colleges to explore a broad spectrum of possibilities.

Recognising the need for comprehensive support, our school collaborates with an independent careers advisor to assist students in taking those crucial first steps. Our staff provides support for UCAS and international university applications, Morrisby psychometric testing, one-to-one meetings with careers and guidance advisers, and small workshops to brainstorm career ideas learning from each other.

Heather Barker, our dedicated high school counsellor at ISA, highlights the importance of providing tailored support for each student by stating "Our place is to ensure that we support students throughout the journey and help them to position themselves for success socially, emotionally, and mentally as well as academically."

At ISA, our curriculum goes beyond traditional teaching methods. We integrate practical life skills such as time and workload management, and stress relief through volunteering, sports, and relaxation. This holistic approach ensures our students maintain perspective and adapt effectively when plans do not unfold as expected.

Our support does not end when students leave school. ISA alumni often return for advice, seeking guidance on new directions for example if their university course does not align with their evolving aspirations, we can offer advice on what route to take next.

We empower our students to make informed decisions about their futures and are confident in their ability to navigate the paths and career opportunities that lie ahead. After all, education is not just about the destination, it is about the entire journey.

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