Mike Burns
Mike Burns - Lead Careers Advisor

My top tips for parents.

If you’re a parent of a pupil in Year 10 or 11, you might be wondering what their options are when they finish their GCSEs and how to guide them in the best direction? Sometimes it’s hard to dissect the information we’re given and sometimes we don’t always have the full picture.

We want young people and their parents to get all the facts about all of their options, so they can make the right choices. Here are my top five tips for parents:

Do your research.

When making such a big decision, it’s a good idea to research and gather all the information on all of their options, not just what you might hear about through school.

Another good starting point is to understand the range of job options available and what skills employers are currently looking for. Visit the job profiles section of the National Careers Service website.

You can encourage your child to take our choices quiz to find out what option might suit them best.

Pop along to any open events at your child’s school and local colleges, as well as looking online for courses and information.


As the number one influence on your child’s decision, it’s important to not only offer them advice, but also listen to what they have to say.

Keep an open mind – what your generation might have deemed an unviable career choice might now be a sought after skill in a thriving sector.

What are they good at and what do they enjoy?

We tend to enjoy the things we’re good at, so if your child excels in some subjects it might be sensible for them to continue with those subjects after school. Likewise, they are more likely to be successful at what they enjoy.

Treat them as an individual.

It’s important to treat your child as an individual and give them the freedom and space they need to make their own choices about their future. Believe in them and the choices they make.

They may not choose to follow the academic route, but this doesn’t mean they don’t have a bright and successful career ahead of them. Vocational courses and apprenticeships give young people the real-world experience and career specific skills employers now demand. 

Vocational qualifications also equate to UCAS points that get you into university so you child can still go on to study a degree even if they don’t choose to do A Levels.

Come and see us.

Although we’re part of Gateshead College, the advice and guidance we provide is independent as well as award-winning!

If you’d like to chat more about your child’s options pop along to our next enrolment event or call us on (0191) 490 2216 to arrange a one-to-one appointment. We’ll be more than happy to help.