Did you catch us in The Guardian?

Did you catch us in The Guardian?

Our Impact Scholar spotlight University What's new? Young people

Just in case you missed it, GT Scholars was mentioned in The Guardian at the weekend! One of our alumni, Micheal, was featured in an article about his perseverance through university despite the challenges he faces. Micheal mentioned how being on the GT Scholars programme helped him achieve some of the best A-level grades at his school and helped motivate him to pursue his aspirations.

The article has been an insight into some of the struggles faced by young people when pursuing their ambitions. In Micheal’s case, since going into university, he’s had to work 38 hours a week in order to fund his studies. No one should have to go through this at university and the article has led to many people reaching out to help him, including the creation of a GoFundMe page to support him through the final part of his degree course. We also hope that there will be further safeguards put in place to prevent young people like Micheal from having to fund their own studies, particularly if it is their first degree.

For us, this article reminds us of the importance of our work at GT Scholars. We feel very privileged that he still remembers what he gained from being on the programme. We believe that every child deserves a chance to succeed regardless of his or her background and this is one of the reasons why we run programmes for ambitious young people and provide free places to young people on Free School Meals.

To find out more about our after-school tutoring, mentoring and enrichment programmes for ambitious young people, register your interest here.


GT Scholars is a not-for-profit social enterprise and registered charity. We run after-school and weekend programmes that help young people achieve their academic and career aspirations. Our programmes include tutoring, mentoring and enrichment sessions for young people aged 11-18. Contact us if you would like to know more about any of our programmes and courses.

Think you don’t need maths tutoring? Think again!

Think you don’t need maths tutoring? Think again!

Growth mindset Post 16 Private tutoring University What's new? Young people

Imagine for a moment that you are sitting in a restaurant. A waiter walks over to your table to take your order, “One double cheeseburger, a medium chips and a regular coke, please”, the waiter jots down the order and reads it back to you, you nod, satisfied and he walks off. As you sit there waiting for your food, the restaurant starts to fill up, a family of four take the table to your left. A young couple is guided to a table directly in front of you. There is a group of ladies; celebrating a bachelorette party, fourteen in total guided to a collection of tables lined up in the centre of the room.

More people come and a few leave as you sit there an hour later and still no food. You notice that the young couple, sitting opposite from you, is staring lovingly into each other’s eyes over two orders of delicious looking ribs and mashed potatoes. You look at the table with the bachelorette and her posse, where one of the ladies is making a toast as the others enjoy an array of starters.

You look to the family of four, study their frowns, their “plateless” table and think to yourself at least you are not alone; they too, are victims of this appalling service. At least that is until your waiter arrives at their table, their orders on a tray. Fuming now, you wait until they are served and then call your waiter over to your table. “What in the world is going on, where is my food?” you demand. The waiter looks at you as if you are crazy, absolutely bonkers, “What are you talking about sir, the chef is starting on your order as we speak?”

“Starting, he is only starting!” You shout, shocked by the complete disregard for you, the casual dismissiveness of your waiter’s answer and the outright injustice of it all. “I’ve been here for over an hour, most of the people you have served came after me, I was first and yet they get their food before me…” “So what?” your waiter says, cutting you off mid-sentence. Of course, you can’t believe what he just said; you are at a loss for words. Your waiter looks toward three of his colleagues approaching, trays overloaded with soft drinks, ten double cheeseburgers and eighteen medium packets of chips

Your waiter smiles, “Here comes your order sir,” he tells you. “This is not my order,” you say as the three waiters carrying the trays begin to offload on your table. “What do you mean sir?” Your waiter seems genuinely surprised, “Did you not order, double cheeseburgers, medium chips and cokes.” “I ordered one double cheeseburger, one medium chips and one regular coke, not this mess.”  You are yelling now, beyond boiling point. “But sir, what difference does it make, whether we serve you first or last, two cheeseburgers or ten?” Your waiter asks sincerely, “Are you not the one who said, you do not need math?” You just sit there, unable to speak. “Oh yes, and this meal will cost you two hundred and thirty-seven thousand pounds. Now is that going to be cash or card?”

Ok, I admit that this is a bit extreme, or is it? Shakuntala Devi once wrote: “Without mathematics, there’s nothing you can do. Everything around you is mathematics. Everything around you is numbers.”

I want you to ask yourself, what do you want for your future? Do you hope to own a house someday, own a car? Well, those come with payments like taxes, mortgage, and insurance and you will need math to calculate those or risk paying too much, two hundred and thirty-seven thousand pounds for a cheeseburger as an example.

How about your career of choice? Math is needed for almost every single profession in the world. If you want to be a biologist, archaeologist, an attorney or work as a cashier at Tesco, it is without a doubt that numbers will be part and parcel of the job. Basically, you will never be able to live without math so accept it and try to make learning math fun.

A friend once told me, “I want to be a photographer, what do I need to know about calculus or trigonometry?” Well, that is quite simple actually, a photographer will need to calculate the depth of field, determine the correct film speed, shutter speed, aperture, and exposure, and so much more.

Do you like playing video games, Playstation, Xbox, Wii, and others? Do you have a few killer ideas that you just know will make great games? If so, guess what? Math is a necessity. Aspiring video game programmers will need to study trigonometry, physics, and calculus.

As a boy, I had dreams of becoming an astronaut, “to go where no man has gone before.” If that’s you, then consider this, astronauts use maths in order to make precise mathematical calculations, from how the spacecraft leaves Earth’s atmosphere to how the astronauts pilot the craft. So no math, no Captain Kirk.

Math is a necessity and when considering the uses and benefits thereof there are a number of reasons to learn math:

  • Develop your “lifelong learning” skills:  Asking others for help, looking stuff up, learning to deeply focus on tasks, being organized, etc.
  • Develop your work ethic:  Not making excuses, not blaming others, not being lazy, being on time, not giving up so easily, etc.  This is more important for “success” than raw IQ. There is no shortcut.
  • Get better at learning complicated things.  You are less afraid of complex ideas and classes.
  • Develop pride & confidence in your ability to understand complicated things.  This is not fake self-esteem, but one that is earned.
  • Certain careers in science, health, technology, and engineering require serious Math skills.

Studies suggest that intelligent & motivated people are generally more interesting and happier. Your frontal lobe is not done developing until the age of  25-27. The more things you can learn before reaching that age, the more things you can learn over your lifetime. A survey concluded that 20% to 40% of college freshmen take remedial courses.  Do you want to retake high school courses in college, or do you want to take real college classes?

If you need assistance with Maths or English, sign up for GT Scholars flagship programme, GT Scholars Academic  Programme. This programme not only has tutoring in Maths or English, but also provides skill-building, enrichment and mentoring.  Keep a lookout for our enrichment days and our skill-building workshops by signing up to our newsletter.

12 Things You Can Do to Breathe More Life into Your CV or Personal Statement

12 Things You Can Do to Breathe More Life into Your CV or Personal Statement

University What's new? Young people

The saying goes: “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” That is why a great CV or personal statement is extremely important. It is a representation of who you are and will be responsible for the initial decision of whether a potential interview is on the horizon or not.

An employer often has to search through hundreds of CVs to find the best candidate for the post that needs to be filled. Often an employer is pressed for time, so a CV that does not impress at first glance could be easily rejected.

This can make creating a CV to be a daunting task. Applicants usually find themselves endlessly pondering over questions such as “How could I make my CV or personal statement stand out from the crowd?” or “How could I prevent my CV being overlooked and not be added to the pile of unsuccessful applications?’’

To answer some of these questions, here are 12 things that you can do to breathe more life into your CV or personal statement:

  1. Make it readable and pay attention to the layout: First and foremost, you want to make your CV readable. This will make it easy for your potential employer or the dean of admissions to find information and navigate to different sections of your CV.  Information provided must be to the point and quick to read.
  2. Make use of a professional resource: GT Scholars is an excellent example of an organisation assisting young scholars through mentorships and workshops. Great guidance for putting a good CV together is essential if you are not too sure of what to do. You could also gain great experience that will be really useful when entering the professional world.
  3. Adapt your CV to the role: Try and stray from a generic CV. This does not mean that you have to write a new CV for every position you want to apply for. Simply adapt a few details on your CV to be more prominent to a specific recruiter. This applies even more to a personal statement as you want to make sure that the qualities that are most suitable stand out.
  4. The importance of the first 3 words: In writing, it is believed that the first three words and the last three words in a written piece are what people remember most. It makes sense to apply the same principle when writing bullet points in your CV because employers do not read the whole document word for word.
  5. Pay attention to buzzwords: Try to avoid words that have been overused. These words have lost their charm and most of the time it will have lost its meaning to the recruiter as they most probably read many CVs and personal statements that have the same word choice. Check out this post on LinkedIn for the buzzwords to avoid in 2017.
  6. Let who you are shine through: Your personal statement should reflect clues about your personality. More often than not an employer will interview a potential candidate because he might have read something that interested him other than your professional achievements and experience. This can be anything from a sport, a book, or a volunteer activity that could be of mutual interest.
  7. Be aware of the CV length: There is an unspoken rule that a CV should never exceed 2-3 pages. Try to keep your CV short, but also not too short. Having a CV with 4 or more pages can result in important information not being read.
  8. Pay attention to font and size: Always pay attention to the font and size of your CV and personal statement. Ensure that it has the same font and size throughout the document. Never make your font size below 10 points. Use bold, italics and underline words but be careful not to go overboard with this.
  9. Good presentation goes a long way: There is more to presentation than having the perfect layout, length and font size. A dash of colour or a well-placed border can make your CV stand out from the rest and might be as good as a breath of fresh air, giving the recruiter something appealing to look at for a change.
  10. Name your file: Rename your CV file for each position you apply for via email or online. You can rename the file using your name and job title followed by ‘CV’. It will draw the attention of the recruiter and he/she will be able to find your job application easier.
  11. Trim the excess: Do not waste time and space on listing every achievement or position you have ever had. The recruiter will only be interested in reading information relevant to the position that needs to be filled.
  12. Keywords are very important: It should come as no surprise that in today’s day and age your CV might be read by a software programme before it is even submitted to a human. These programs are designed to look for words and phrases that relate to the job specifications or to the relevant industry. Ensure you do the necessary research and add keywords to your personal statement or CV.

You might feel that landing an interview will take forever, but by making use of these steps, you can definitely improve your chances. We hope that you find these tips helpful and that it will boost your confidence when sending your CV.

GT Scholars can provide you with an experienced mentor to help you start the journey of writing your CV and personal statement as well as applying for a new job or university acceptance.  To find out what other opportunities and events we host for young people, feel free to contact us.

7 Ways to Prepare For an Interview

7 Ways to Prepare For an Interview

University What's new? Young people

There are many times in life when you will find yourself needing to prepare for an interview. It could be your sixth form college interview, university interview or a job interview. So being able to prepare yourself for an interview is a useful and important skill to always have.

Interviews are notoriously difficult to prepare for. Some organisations and companies are kind enough to tell you exactly how or what to prepare, but most places will not do this for you. The whole point of the interview is for them to see how you think, how you apply your skills and talents, or how you react to a situation or scenario. They want to make sure that you will be an asset and a good fit for their college, university or company.

Your aim for the interview is to convince the recruiters that you have the skills, knowledge and experience for the job, while also showing them that you fit the organisation’s culture and work ethic. Here are seven useful ways that you can prepare yourself to reach this aim: 

Do your own research about the college, university or company: The recruiters need to know that you are actually interested in their organisation and not just using them for your own gain. They might ask you direct questions about their organisation or they might ask you more indirect questions. You need to do enough research about the organisation beforehand to make sure you can answer their questions well. Visit the organisation’s website to make sure that you understand what they do, their background and mission statement, and their courses or products that they offer. You can also get more perspective about the organisation by reading up about them in news or trade publications.

Compare your skills and qualifications to the entrance, course or job requirements: Fully analyse the entrance requirements or job description and outline the knowledge, skills or abilities that they list. Make sure that you are suitable for the organisation and that your qualifications match or better what they are seeking. If they list a particular skill, they may want you to demonstrate if you know how to do it, so you should ensure that you have the skill and that you are well-practised in it.

Prepare responses to commonly asked questions: Most interviews have a set list of questions that they are sure to ask, such as what are your strengths and weaknesses, what are your academic or career goals etc. You should prepare your responses to questions like these beforehand so that you can answer them easily. You should also understand that there are different ways to ask the same question, for example, they could ask you about your qualities that are useful to their organisation instead asking about your strengths. Both of these questions can be answered in almost the same way so make sure that you can identify that.

Plan what you are going to wear: Your appearance is your first impression and so you should make sure that they do not rule you out before you even get a chance to tell them about you. It is best to dress smartly in neutral colours, with your clothes clean and ironed and hair combed and out of your face. Be sure that your overall appearance is neat and clean.

Prepare what you need to take to the interview: It is advisable that you plan what you need to take to the interview so that you look prepared. Some organisations will tell you what they want you to bring to the interview, but if not then you should just take the following: at least one copy of your transcripts or CV on quality paper, a notepad or professional binder and pen, a list of references, information you might need to complete an application, and a portfolio with samples of your work if relevant.

Understand and pay attention to nonverbal communication: Nonverbal communication speaks volumes and has a huge influence on your impression and therefore your interview. As soon as you walk into the building, make sure that you are mindful of your nonverbal communication, even in the waiting room. Show that you are confident, but do not appear arrogant. Smile, establish eye contact and use a firm handshake. Sit with good posture and be aware of nervous movements such as tapping your foot. Maintain good eye contact while answering questions – do not look around too much as this will make you seem inattentive. Be aware of your facial expressions and reactions, and try to keep negative reactions internalised. At the same time, do not appear too fake or rigid. Be comfortable and self-assured.

Prepare questions that you can ask them at the end of the interview: Interviews usually end with an opportunity for you to ask questions or clarify any queries. Using your prior research, you can come up with a list of questions that are insightful. Be strategic with questioning and ask questions about information not discussed in the interview or found on the organisation’s website. For example, what do they consider the most important criteria for success in this job, or how will your performance be evaluated, or what is the next step in the hiring process.
This will both impress them and provide you with useful information.

The interview process may seem daunting and difficult, but as you can see, with the proper preparation and prior knowledge, you will be able to succeed in displaying your best qualities for any potential sixth form college, university or employer.

GT Scholars is a social enterprise that provides tutoring, mentoring and enrichment to young people from a range of backgrounds. To find out how we can provide you with a knowledgeable mentor or insightful course to help you prepare for interviews, get in touch with us.

7 Ways You or a Tutor can Prepare Your Child for Oxbridge

7 Ways You or a Tutor can Prepare Your Child for Oxbridge

Oxbridge Parents University What's new?

The University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge (collectively known as Oxbridge) are two of the most prestigious universities not only in the UK but in the world. They have a long history, rich in heritage and tradition, that goes back at least nine centuries. They are globally recognised as being places of focus for learning, culture, and for intellectual debate.

It comes as no surprise that with such high esteem, both the universities are highly sought after by new students from all over the world. It’s extremely competitive to get into Oxbridge. In fact, in 2016 more than 19 000 people applied for the 3 200 undergraduate places at Oxford.

These figures are certainly daunting for students who wish to apply to these universities. It is clear that only the best of the best make the cut, so prospective students need to make sure that they really stand out from the immense crowd of applicants.

Children who aspire to study at Oxbridge will often need extra support from their parents, and that is not just about the funding. So here are seven ways that parents can prepare their bright children for a place at these elite universities.

  • Start preparation early: To study at Oxbridge, it is not just the early bird that catches the worm, but the early prepared bird. Dr Samina Khan, head of student admissions at Oxford, believes that children should start preparing for Oxbridge at the age of 11, and not just when they reach the sixth form. Children need ample time to develop and master their passion for subjects, which will help give them an advantage over others during interviews and applications. Thus, parents should make sure that their aspiring children start preparation early.
  • Provide additional resources: To stand out, prospective students need to show true mastery of and passion for the subject that relates to their desired degree programme. To develop this mastery, students should go over and beyond their high school curriculum. Their parents can support them by funding their specific extracurricular activities, providing them with books and research resources, and allowing them to do voluntary or even paid work. For example, if a student wants to study medicine at Oxbridge, the parent can fund extra science classes, provide them with books and supplies that will increase their skills, and allow them to volunteer at hospitals and other health facilities.
  • Inform them of their choices: It is important that children are not just prepared for Oxbridge, but also prepared for the journey to Oxbridge. Children need to know what they need to achieve and how much work they will need to be put in for them to realise their aspiration. By informing children well in advance of the responsibilities of choosing Oxbridge, parents can avoid building too much of pressure on them during preparation. Pressure on any person has damaging effects, but pressure on children to achieve something has lasting negative effects on their young minds and their future. It is also important to know the difference between informing and discouraging children, as you do not want to discourage a child from having an aspiration.
  • Take a tour of the university: Parents can encourage an interest in Oxbridge by visiting the institutions with their children. As Dr Khan said, children are growing up in an age of Harry Potter, where the traditions and historical appeal of Hogwarts are appreciated and desired. Unlike Hogwarts, Oxford and Cambridge are real places of learning, but they still have the charm and beauty of tradition and magical gothic architecture. Visiting would create a desire that will encourage children to earnestly put their minds to get a place. Follow the link for more information on visiting and tour times for Oxford or Cambridge.
  • Do your own research: The application process is difficult and lengthy. There are forms to fill and documents to get and interviews to prepare for – it is a daunting task for a child. Parents have more experience with filling out forms and doing interviews, so they should find out what they need and start collecting documents well in advance so as to decrease the load on their child. Parents should also do research on funding, scholarships, accommodation and other matters well in advance to prepare accordingly.
  • Get them a mentor: Parents do not know everything. Perhaps they did not go to Oxbridge or they did not go to university at all, so they do not know how to advise their aspiring children. Thus, getting a mentor for their children would do wonders by providing them with all the necessary skills and knowledge. The mentor could be an Oxbridge alumnus or even educated in the field of interest, and could help them with the application process, with resources of interest, or even just some good direction and confidence boosting.
  • Enroll them in a course or workshop: With 19 000 undergraduate applicants, it would make sense that many prospective students are seeking help when applying to Oxbridge. Thus, there are many courses and workshops available that provide valuable assistance such as developing an outstanding personal statement and how to prepare for interviews. These courses and workshops can also provide important insider information and bursary opportunities.

Parents provide a vital support system when their children are applying to any university. This support system becomes even more important when applying to Oxbridge due to the high amount of applicants, which creates a considerable amount of pressure on children. As you can see, there are several ways parents can make an Oxbridge education possible for their child, which can almost guarantee them to have a bright and prosperous future.

GT Scholars knows the importance of preparing students for Oxbridge and wants to be a helpful part of the journey. We provide a one-day course on how to get into Oxbridge which includes working with Oxbridge graduates, admissions professionals and interview professionals that will show your child how to develop an outstanding personal statement and how to choose a degree course for their chosen career. They will also support your child with preparing for interviews and give advice on A-level subjects and grades required for specific universities and specific courses.

Find out more about the course here. We also provide an excellent mentorship programme which employs a variety of well-educated and knowledgeable mentors that will give your child the edge over any other Oxbridge applicant. You can find out more about the mentorship programme here.

Five skills you need to get that scholarship you’ve always wanted

Five skills you need to get that scholarship you’ve always wanted

University What's new? Young people

Getting into university is one thing, but being able to financially survive it is another matter. The gravity of the student loans and the increase in the cost of living at university is enough trouble to think about, adding the fact that it costs more now than what it used to, and with the current economic troubles, parents have suffered over the past years. However, getting a scholarship will allow you to study without the worry of acquiring large student debts and you will be able to graduate without the gloom of it over your positively bright horizon.

To get a scholarship, you first need to start with your research on which scholarship you are applying for. You need to do this at the earliest possible time so that you have more time to prepare what you need. Next, make sure that you are eligible for the scholarship you want to apply for. All your efforts in preparing for the scholarship application will go to waste if you find that you are not eligible for it in the first place. Then, be organised and keep your documents in one place. This will make it easier for you to track your requirements. You should also make sure you have the most recent information and documents. And last but not the least, never miss your deadlines.

While landing yourself a scholarship is no easy task, you can definitely arm yourself with the skills needed to get it. Here are a few of those skills that you can use to get the scholarship that you want.

Academic excellence
Even if you are applying for a sports or arts scholarship, your academic performance will be a determining factor for the approval of your scholarship. For most scholarships, there is a minimum grade to even be eligible to apply. To make your application stand out, make sure that you have a strong and longstanding academic record.

Leadership
There are many leadership development scholarships you can apply for. However, great leadership abilities will make you a good candidate for any scholarship. Being a leader would show that you are mature and capable of handling and delegating responsibilities, while also showing that you are honest, confident, and committed to any given task that you might face. If you find yourself lacking in leadership skills, you can get yourself a coach or mentor. Just as adults and senior business leaders invest in coaching sessions, you can also find a mentor or coach that can help you build yourself into a holistic leader.

Self-reliance
You can also set yourself apart from other applicants by focusing on your ability to be self-reliant. In your application, make sure to add details of your internship and work experience, highlighting that you are a responsible and committed person who can take on any task given to them. You can also include your letters of recommendation from your employers. This will prove that you are an applicant who is serious about your future and that you have the experience to show what you are capable of.

Service
If you have spent time volunteering and you have a passion for community work, then make that a highlight in your application. You can include a recommendation letter from the charities or organisations that you have worked with, and you can make your compassion the main point of your essay. Volunteering and community work show that you want to make a difference to the people and the world around you, which scholarship committees care a lot about too. You can even apply for scholarships that focus on the causes that you are passionate about.

Creativity
If you have more of a flair for the arts, then you can always go for an arts scholarship. If you are a musician, there are also plenty of scholarships for you. Make your talent work for you by making it stand out in your application. Remember that creativity is all about standing out and making an impact, so do it with your application. Make the review committee feel the intensity of your passion for art or music, and give them something that they would never forget.

Finally, when you apply for a scholarship, never let fear get in your way. You might think that the committees reviewing your applications are hard to please, stone-hearted people, but in fact they are just people like you. They just want to know if you have the talent and the capacity to be able to carry out what they represent. It is best to just simply be yourself and show them that you also have a heart that beats with a passion for what they stand for, and that you just want their help to better your education and fulfill your dreams.

GT Scholars is a social enterprise that provides tutoring, mentoring and enrichment to young people between the ages of 11 and 16. We are eager to help young people to achieve good grades, learn valuable skills and gain important insight to get the scholarship that they need. Contact us for more information and you can also have a look at our free to download  21 scholarships, bursaries and awards for young people to find out more about great scholarships opportunities for young people in England.

6 Misconceptions that young people need to address before embarking on a degree or an apprenticeship

6 Misconceptions that young people need to address before embarking on a degree or an apprenticeship

Narrowing the gap Social mobility University What's new? Young people

University debt has now risen to £100 billion in the UK and it’s set to keep rising. Many young people are now looking into alternatives to university. But what happens if you’re not sure which path to take.

There is no reason for anyone to throw themselves into an apprenticeship or go to university just for the sake of going! There are a lot of things to consider. In this blog, we’ll do our best to address some of the typical misconceptions that young people have about apprenticeships.

  • If I do an apprenticeship, I’ll earn less than a graduate. When you’re studying for a degree, you’ll need to pay for your course and for most people, this means taking up a student loan. During an apprenticeship, you get paid to work and gain your apprenticeship certification and you won’t have a student loan to pay off. The reality is that your salary as an apprentice and even beyond your apprenticeship will pretty much always depend on the profession you’ve chosen, the type of apprenticeship you’ve chosen and the company you work with. The same applies for graduates, it will depends on the work-experience you gained before and during your degree, your qualities and what you have to offer, the degree that you studied, the university you attend and the profession you’ve chosen. There are so many variables that it’s almost impossible to say that one is better than the other.
  • An apprenticeship is easier than studying for a degree. Again this is not necessarily true. So many young people believe that doing an apprenticeship instead of a degree is an easy way out. There is a belief an apprenticeship doesn’t require good grades and it’s a safety net that will secure them a well paid job after school and ensure that they are debt free. I’ve seen so many students mess around in their final year of school because they believed that all they needed was 5Cs to get a good apprenticeship. They didn’t attend any revision sessions, hardly prepared for exams and did the bare minimum to get 5Cs at GCSE and who could blame them? Why work so hard if you feel that you have the safety net of an apprenticeship waiting for you. Instead of looking for the easy way out, you should probably take the time to decide on your ideal career and then choose the path that will take you in the right direction.
  • It’s easy to get an apprenticeship with a top company. The reality is that the top apprenticeships and school/college leaver programmes are competitive. Just like graduate programmes, you’ll face a lot of competition. Top companies want top quality candidates so you’d better be prepared to have a brilliant CV and get good GCSEs and/or A-levels if you want to get a job with the highest paying companies. There are some of the more glamorous apprenticeships that will pay £400 per week but most apprenticeships will pay about £200 per week. You only need to take a look online at the apprenticeships on offer for you to fully understand what is available.
  • Doing an apprenticeship means I’ll never have to study again. Unfortunately, this is not true. Most apprenticeships will require some form of assessment or examination as part of the apprenticeship. And of course, even after your apprenticeship your career may still require you to take regular exams or build qualifications if you want to move up the career ladder. Instead of thinking about how to get out of exams, why not look for a way to get better at doing them?
  • Apprenticeships are for people that didn’t get good grades or don’t like studying. Doing an apprenticeship or studying for a degree is something that requires a lot of thought. The decision shouldn’t be based purely on your grades. The real question should be – what are you passionate about? What would you like to do with your life? If the career you want requires a degree – then you’ll need to get good grades, go to a top university and get your degree! If the career you want doesn’t require necessarily a degree eg Accounting, IT or Management – then you’ll need to get good grades and go and work for the best company that you can find that will support you to achieve your career aspirations. If the career you want requires you to go to a specialist Art/Fashion/Music/Dance college – then you’ll need to get good grades so that you can get into the specialist college.
  • I’ve been predicted low grades. I probably won’t get good GCSEs and I’ll have no choice but to do an apprenticeship. Predictions at school based on a range of factors. Even as a teacher I remember being baffled by what the computer spurred out as the predicted grades for my students. The problem is that many students then rest on their laurels believing that there’s just no hope and they’re only as good as the prediction. My view on this is work hard. Don’t give up because your predictions aren’t that great. I’ve met bright students who gave up on themselves at the most important point in their lives and I’ve always wondered what would happen if they put in just a little more effort to get better grades.

If you’re not sure about what you want to do then you should probably take some time out to get work experience in a field that you are interested in before embarking on an apprenticeship or signing up to a degree.

Do your research into universities and the types of degrees that you could study. Meet people that are currently on an apprenticeship and ask them about their experience. You may also want to look into apprenticeship-degrees where you work full time while gaining a degree through your employer and graduating debt free! Just remember that no matter which path you choose – you’ll probably still need to work hard and get good grades by the end of school.

Find out how we are able to provide free private tutoring to young people from low income homes

Find out how we are able to provide free private tutoring to young people from low income homes

Narrowing the gap Social mobility University Volunteers What's new?

Research from Sutton Trust’s shows that 42% of students in London have paid for private tutoring at some point in their academic careers. In addition to this, privately educated pupils are more than twice as likely to have received tutoring at some point in their academic lives compared to state educated pupils.

Research from the Education Endowment Foundation shows that tutoring can accelerate learning by up to 5 months within a year.  So why aren’t more young people from lower income homes making use of tutors? The reality is that high quality tutoring is simply not affordable. The average rate for tutoring in London about £30 per hour.

When we launched GT Scholars one of the first things we noticed was that there were more online search enquiries for private tuition from families from higher income homes than those from lower income homes. This was initially surprising as we couldn’t understand why we weren’t getting many more enquiries from families from low income homes.

Despite our relatively low costs and our offer of free places, the programme seemed to attract more people from higher income homes.It took us a while for us to see that many of our target market – parents of young people from lower income homes – were not looking for private home tutoring.

Their families were less likely to look for a tutor because tutoring can be expensive and from a parent’s point of view, particularly parents with a relatively low income – private tutoring was seen as risky especially if you don’t have the money or the right network to help you find or afford the right tutor.

When we discussed the search for a private tutor – many explained that they had stopped looking for a tutor because they believed there was no such thing as affordable private tutoring. It’s hard to justify paying a private tutor £40 per hour if you only earn £10/hour. We realised that many parents from lower income homes often saw private tutoring as a luxury that they just could not afford.

On the other hand, parents from wealthier homes, even those that that were already paying for private schools, saw private tutoring an essential part of learning that they cannot afford to miss out on.

Most people would agree that young people from low income homes should be able to access additional support through after-school tutoring – if they need it.

Over the past few years, we have found that that the best way to reach young people from low income homes is to reach them directly through their schools and offer free or low cost workshops and courses for parents to access additional support.

This gives parents a chance to meet us in person and understand some of the benefits of the programme and access support through our short courses and workshops when needed. We also encourage parents to sign up to our weekly newsletter ‘In the know’ which gives parents an idea of activities and opportunities that are available to their child.

There is no denying that private tutoring is here to stay. It’s a booming industry and becoming a way of life for many people especially those from higher income homes. The only way to make this fair is to offer some form of means-tested tuition including some free places – and this is the story of GT Scholars.

The GT Scholars programme is a not-for-profit after-school tutoring, mentoring and enrichment programme open to pupils in your school in Years 7 to 11. Pupils on the programme receive support from volunteer tutors from some of the top universities in London and volunteer mentors from top companies and organisations in London.

Parents pay means tested fees based on total household income and private tutoring fees range from £9 to £26. We use all 100% of our profits to ensure that at least 1 in 7 places are entirely free of charge to pupils from the lowest income groups. The majority of our pupils are from low income homes with household income under £25,000. We are currently using our social enterprise to provide 1 free place for every 6 paying pupils. Our goal is to be able to offer 1 in 3 free places by 2020.

The programme is entirely free of charge for schools to participate and we ensure that free places only go to young people from low income homes that have a genuine need for the programme.

If you work in a school in London and would like to know more about how the GT Scholars programme can benefit pupils in your school, contact us using the following link: www.gtscholars.org/contact-us

Do Apprenticeships Perpetuate a Two-Tier System?

Do Apprenticeships Perpetuate a Two-Tier System?

Corporate Social Responsibility Narrowing the gap Research Social mobility University

A report has shown that doubts over the value of a university degree means that 4 out of 5 parents would prefer their child to pursue a form of apprenticeship over a university education. But GT Scholars wonders if it is this attitude towards higher-education that has helped strengthen the UK’s two-tier education system?

Raised university fees and the scrapping of the bursary will most likely have a negatively impact social mobility

With parental pressure towards vocational training, as well as fears over taking out large student loans, it’s no surprise that official figures suggest that poor teenagers are almost half as likely to go on to university than richer classmates. It’s likely that this means many gifted and talented children from less wealthy families are put off applying to university because of their socio-economic situation.

This is in stark contrast to parents from wealthier families who aren’t just more encouraging towards their children’s higher-education ambitions, but they are more likely to spend money on private tuition to help them gain access to the best colleges and universities. These parents have often taken on student debt themselves, have positive experiences of university and understand the value of a degree.

Graduates have traditionally earned more than their non-graduate peers

Scepticism over the value of a degree isn’t uncommon, but a recent study revealed that the majority of graduates are more likely to be in work and earn more than non-graduates. It also found that ten years after finishing university, graduates earned an average of over 25% more than non-graduates of the same age.

Although financial worries are a reality that aren’t going to disappear, nobody should feel like they don’t have access to higher-education because of their socio-economic background. It’s this unfortunate attitude that has helped to create a two-tier education system with students from poorer families less likely to pursue degrees – but the rise of degree-apprenticeships could help change this.

Degree-apprenticeships may be the solution

Degree apprenticeships allow students to do paid work at an accredited company, but also study for a management-related degree alongside it. Many high-profile firms across the UK, including M&S, Nestle, Rolls-Royce and Barclays, have signed up for the government backed scheme.

A student doing a degree-apprenticeship with Nestle spoke glowingly about the opportunity, “I find it incredible that at 21, compared to my friends who did go to uni, I’ll have not only a degree but also a professional status.”

Another student that made the decision to take up a degree apprenticeship because she was worried about getting into debt, saying “It was a worrying thought that I would be paying that off for the rest of my working life…The apprenticeship sounded a better option.”

With Government pledging to create 3 million degree-apprenticeships by 2020, this could be the change that sees working-class students have equal access to higher-education and finally puts an end to two-tier education.

At GT Scholars we believe that everybody should have access to the education that they want, no matter their background. That’s why we charge means-tested fees, to ensure that young people from lower income homes can access our programmes. To find out more about how we support young people through our courses, workshops and programmes, register your interest by visiting www.gtscholars.org/register-your-interest

We need to make sure students are well informed about their options post 16

We need to make sure students are well informed about their options post 16

Apprenticeships Careers Narrowing the gap Post 16 University Volunteer mentors What's new? Work experience Young people

Post 16 options

Every young person is required to be in some form of education or training from the ages of 16-18. These years can be an incredibly exciting period, as young people for the first time are in full control over what subjects and qualifications they take. It is an opportunity to begin specialising in certain areas/subjects and to truly begin down the road to independence and adulthood. We at GT Scholars think it essential for all students to know the options that are available to them post 16, so we’ve made a list to help young people make the right choice for themselves. There is most certainly something for everyone.

A levels –

A levels are the next step for many young people post 16. They are subject-based qualifications, taken at school or college, that open up a variety of options later on. Universities and employers hold A level qualifications in high regard. They are a particularly good stepping stone towards university, as they offer a bridge between the teaching styles of schools and universities. A levels are a great academic challenge and give students the chance to further enhance their knowledge of familiar subjects such as English, Maths, History etc, or perhaps to delve into subjects that they may not have come across at school, such as Psychology or Politics.

Vocational Courses –

Another college-based post 16 option are vocational courses. They are different from A levels in that they typically are more hands-on, practical qualifications. They are specialist qualifications which focus on specific subject and employment areas, a few examples from the long list being business, social care and hairdressing . Vocational courses can help students gain employment skills and also provide a path towards a variety of university courses. They are a respected and well-established option post 16.

Apprenticeships –

Apprenticeships are gaining popularity in the UK, as more and more young people are recognising their value as a legitimate alternative to A-Levels. They offer something very different; practical, hands-on experience in a workplace. The skills you gain through apprenticeships are mostly job-specific and offer a fantastic route towards eventual full-time employment in your industry of choice. As an apprentice you can gain qualifications whilst working and earning money. The scope of apprenticeships has widened in recent years, with roles now available in a wide variety of sectors from engineering to IT to business. The modern apprenticeship is a challenging, rewarding and dynamic post 16 option.

Below are a list of links with further information to help you make the right choice for you-

https://www.careerpilot.org.uk/info/your-choices-at-16
https://www.ucas.com/ucas/16-18-choices/getting-started/what-are-my-options
https://www.allaboutschoolleavers.co.uk/articles/article/100/post-16-options
https://www.connexions-tw.co.uk/moving-forward-options-post-16