In the Know – Learn new digital and media skills!

In the Know – Learn new digital and media skills!

In The Know What's new?

According to the Digital Marketing Institute, companies across all industries have digitized their operations and processes. This means that jobseekers require specialised digital and media skills such as content and video production to help them stand out from the crowd. Here are a few upcoming activities that will help your child improve their digital and media skills. 

Stop-Motion Animation Workshop
Chocolate Films Workshops, a social enterprise film production company, are running free filmmaking workshops in stop-motion animation for young people from 11 to 16. Attendees will be trained by professional filmmakers using professional filmmaking equipment in story development, craft making, animating and editing the animation film. This workshop is taking place on Thursday 29th August 2019 at the Tachbrook Social Club in Westminster. Find out more here

Music Production Workshop
Peabody Young People Services is running a free music production and spoken word workshop for young people between the ages of 11 to 18. Young people will learn how to express themselves in a new way through music, while also learning new skills to produce their own track! The workshop is taking place on Tuesday 27th August 2019 at the Fulham Palace Road Community Centre. Find out more here

Photography Workshop
Park Cameras is running a free photography workshop with award-winning photographer, Hannah Couzens. During the workshop, Hannah will describe the stories behind a whole range of different portrait shots to help inspire your child and provide some tips & tricks that they can take away to try out themselves. This workshop is suitable for young people aged 16 to 18 and will be taking place on Friday 30th August 2019 at the Park Cameras London Store. Find out more 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.

Why Entrepreneurship Needs To Be Included In The Curriculum

Why Entrepreneurship Needs To Be Included In The Curriculum

What's new?

There are so many entrepreneurs in the world that offer a wealth of inspiration to young people. From Richard Branson to Bill Gates to Oprah Winfrey, the success stories of entrepreneurs can be inspiring and motivating, which can help young people to achieve their goals.

Beyond inspiration, learning about entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship offers valuable skill-building opportunities and life lessons. Here are just a few of the many reasons why entrepreneurship should be included in the curriculum.

Confidence
Taking a business idea and turning it into a profitable enterprise takes far more than just hard work. Entrepreneurs have to believe in their idea so that they can convince others that it will work and also keep themselves motivated. If an entrepreneur does not believe in their own idea, no one else will either. This self-belief takes a whole lot of confidence and self-motivation. Entrepreneurship can instil confidence in young people, teaching them how to be self-reliant, resilient and motivated. Confidence will also prepare them for any challenges they may face and also keep them going when things change such as moving from school to university.

Passion
Paired with confidence, passion is one of the most important traits an entrepreneur must possess. A business leader’s passion can convince top employees to join a company or convince investors to invest in their business. Passion is also important when convincing clients to try a product or service. Entrepreneurship offers a dynamic and interactive way to engage students, cultivate their interests, and open potential academic or career paths that they might not have known about or considered before. Lessons in entrepreneurship can expose them to a variety of topics, sparking their interest and helping them discover and develop their passions and future aspirations.

Resourcefulness
Entrepreneurs continually seek ways to improve their products, services, and businesses, even in the face of significant challenges such as budget constraints, time crunches, and small teams. In these situations, they have to use their resourcefulness and quick thinking to ensure success. Entrepreneurship can be used as a tool to teach young people how to use the resources they have at their disposal to make an idea or plan work. Lessons in entrepreneurship can also be individually tailored to help young people to use fewer resources, develop new resources or think out of the box to solve a business challenge. Resourcefulness will teach young people to think fast, come up with innovative solutions to problems, and to be resilient. 

Social Skills
From networking to nurturing relationships with customers or investors, entrepreneurs need social skills to help accelerate the development of their company. Social skills will help young people with their interpersonal relations, social interactions and leadership skills. This will always be valuable since interacting with people is something they will always encounter at university or in the workplace. Having good social skills also means that you will be a better leader which will help you to be more successful.

Teamwork
Entrepreneurship teaches young people about the value of collaboration and teamwork and how important it is to work with others to reach a specific goal. In every stage of life, from school to university to the workplace, young people will have to work with other people, so it is important for them to start building their teamwork skills as soon as possible. This will make them more effective in teams which can also make them stand out as leaders and thought leaders.  

Financial Education
Entrepreneurship is a useful tool that can be used to educate young people about important financial topics. These topics will give them the necessary skills to become successful adults. Some topics that can be taught through entrepreneurship include budgeting and saving, how to avoid or handle debt, and understanding taxes and insurance. This will equip young people with the skills and knowledge that will need to deal with various things in their daily life – from student loans to life insurance. 

As you can see, including entrepreneurship in the school curriculum offers an impactful way to teach young people many important skills that they will use for the rest of their lives. 

Entrepreneurship activities can also be found in after-school programmes such as the GT Scholars Dragon’s Den Challenge. This annual workshop takes place during Global Entrepreneurship Week and is based on the world-famous TV show. This gives young people a taste of what it takes to be an entrepreneur, and it involves them coming up with a business idea in a specific amount of time and pitching it to a judging panel. This will provide them with hands-on experience in entrepreneurship while teaching them simple business principles, teamwork, presentation skills, and effective time management.

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.

What Education Should Look Like In The 21st Century

What Education Should Look Like In The 21st Century

What's new?

Education is a constantly changing system that needs to adjust to the way current generations think while also embracing new information and new technologies. Gone are the days of text-heavy textbooks and outdated subjects, education is already moving forward to embrace and develop new methods to help young people learn effectively.

With this being said, there are still many ways that the education system can still improve and innovate. Here is what education should look like in the 21st century.

Embracing Edtech
Technology has taken over every aspect of our daily lives, which has made young people more reliant on technology. This means that if education embraced technology, it would make young people more susceptible to learning.

There are many innovative ways that education and technology have combined to produce powerful edtech tools and learning methods. Edtech is able to stimulate and improve learning in the following ways:

  • Visualisation
    It’s easier to understand abstract concepts or topics when it’s visualised. Tech tools like apps, interactive diagrams, and 3D visuals make it easier for young people to grasp and memorise new topics. Colours and patterns also stimulate the brain and help young people to think creatively and critically.
  • Interactivity
    Using interactive tools allows young people to take charge of their learning and be more energised and motivated to learn. Using mobile games and apps makes learning fun, but still challenging. Other interactive tools can give students individual challenges, guide and support the learner when needed and allow learning by doing which promotes active learning.
  • Analytics
    Grading exams, papers, and presentations can take a lot of time and there’s always a risk of subjectivity due to human nature. Using technology allows automation to make grading and evaluation simple and fair. Analytical tools also help the learner to follow and reflect on their own learning progress through self-evaluation and peer-evaluation.
  • Portability
    Technology makes learning on the go far easier. The vast worldwide web offers thousands of online tools, resources and information that can be accessed on various mobile devices. This makes it easier for young people to complete homework and assignments, learn new skills, and keep track of their learning. Virtual classrooms and labs also offer remote learning possibilities and for young people to attend classes and complete tasks from the comfort of their own home.
  • Collaboration
    Online, cloud-based and social apps and tools offer various ways for young people to take part in creative and collaborative activities that can help them with assignments and projects. Online collaboration is also useful for teachers and parents to communicate with one another to effectively monitor a student’s learning and academic progress.
  • Accessibility
    Online apps and tools make learning easier for young people with learning difficulties or special needs. For example, young people with visual impairments can access information through audiobooks and podcasts or young people with special educational needs can be taught through the use of interactive and visual tools. 

Focusing on Careers
Choosing a career path is a very important step for pupils and school leavers. This will greatly impact the choices they make and their future, making this decision a very important one. Education needs to include a greater focus on helping young people choose the career path that is right for them and their goals. Many young people today end up changing career paths down the line, which can set them back on their course to achieve their goals. 

In a survey conducted by the London Business School, it was determined that 47% of the 1,000 individuals surveyed wanted to change their careers, with younger people aged 18-24 and 24-34 most likely to want a career change. According to this survey, one of the main reasons for them wanting a career change was job satisfaction. 

One of the best ways to counteract this is to help young people to ensure they find a career that they are passionate about through career guidance in schools, career counselling and strength testing. This can also be combined with building soft skills that will help them in the workplace, such as leadership, teamwork, presentation skills, interpersonal skills and digital skills. In addition, programmes that help young people to get into the university or career field of their choice should also be included in school so that everyone has access to these valuable resources.

Personal Development and Mindfulness
There has been a greater focus on mental health and wellbeing of young people in recent times. This is due to the greater awareness of mental health issues that can affect young people and due to improved scientific research in human behaviour and psychology. 

The effects of mental health issues can greatly hinder a young person’s progress in school and also in their personal development. Education should include a greater focus on holistic wellbeing to help young people counteract mental health issues and deal with negativity. This can include peer counselling, behaviour management and strategies to deal with cyberbullying. Moreover, young people can be taught how to deal with stress, social anxiety and other issues that may affect them in some way. There should also be a more significant integration of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in schools to ensure that these services and easily accessible to all young people.

To conclude, there needs to be a sustainable plan set in place across all stages of education, from early childhood to schools, to universities. This plan should include supporting young people with the challenges they face in their current stage while also preparing them for future stages. In addition, education should not be something that is only taken care of by schools – other stakeholders, including parents, organisations and companies, should also be more responsible for the education of young people to ensure that they feel supported every step of the way. 

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.

An interview with one of our volunteer online tutors – Arash Khosravi

An interview with one of our volunteer online tutors – Arash Khosravi

Volunteer interviews Volunteers What's new?

Tell me a little bit about you and what got you to where you are today?
I went through school and after that, I did Economics at A-level and then studied Economics full time at UCL. During my time at UCL, I was the president of the UCL branch of the charity Team Up. After graduation, I was offered a job at the Bank of England where I worked as a Data Analyst.

What made you decide to become a volunteer tutor?
I really feel like I want to give back to society and give back to people that are in a less fortunate position than I am, through no fault of their own, and help them achieve their full potential. I did some informal tutoring a few years ago and I got really good feedback. That made me think and I then decided to take my strengths and use them to help people that really need the support. Since volunteering at UCL, I was trying to find other opportunities to volunteer that could fit in with my work schedule. I find that tutoring is a really good option and that I can make a real difference in a young person’s life.

What did you enjoy most about tutoring your scholar?
What I enjoyed most was really seeing the development of my scholar throughout the 12 week term. I think the highlight for me was in week 4 when I logged into Skype for our session and my scholar said: ‘’Sir, sir you know the thing we’ve done with the area of the square? I tried it in class and my teacher said I got the question right!” She was really chuffed about it and that was great to hear. I think engaging with the scholar and building a good relationship is what I’ve enjoyed most. I was very lucky to be matched with someone who is really engaged and ready to learn.

What challenges have you helped your scholar to face?
What I found at the beginning of this term in my scholar was the fact that she was doubting herself. I think the challenge was to reinforce the knowledge she already had and building her confidence. In the beginning, I would ask a question and she would attempt to solve 60% of the question but wouldn’t have the confidence to work through the remaining 40%. She would then say she did not know how to do it. I focussed on building her confidence and to say to herself, I do know how to do it and I won’t give up. It’s really great to see how much her maths has developed and improved.

What goals have you helped your scholar to achieve?
I think a good example of one of our goals would be the mock test my scholar had coming up. A week before the mock test we did two tutoring sessions so I could help her prepare for the test. After the test, she came back and said that a lot of the work we revised did come up in the test and she really felt confident answering them. We also set up goals for some of the topics she felt a bit weaker in and although she was struggling with it earlier on in the term she was able to tackle them after a few week’s sessions.

Why do you think tutoring is valuable to young people?
Because I feel that students at school have a wide range of abilities and are at different levels. I don’t think that the modern skill system can factor that in with a class of 30 students, with different abilities and learning styles. Some young people need additional support and a lot of them don’t have the opportunity to get 1-to-1 support and can fall behind. I think tutoring can help fill that gap between school and home. Free tutoring is great to bridge the gap between young people who can afford private tutoring and those who cant.

Do you have a message for young people?
I would say they should keep working, keep trying and keep persevering with whatever they want to do in life. There’s no one path to get you where you want to go. Be who you are and don’t try to be anyone else. And with that mindset try things and really persevere. Like with the GT Scholar Programme, even if you don’t get it results initially, keep trying and pushing forward and towards where you want to go.

How important has support been in getting you to where you are today?
My dad is a maths lecturer, I could not get away from maths as a young person (laughs). Until about GCSE I was rubbish at maths, I used to get 40%. I think it was because I wanted to get away from maths because my dad will always be talking about it. At that age, I did not realise the importance of it. Until my dad sat me down and got me to engage and focus and made me realise the importance of it. In terms of other subjects, I did not have formal tutors but had support from my peers and family that helped me a lot.

What have you gained from volunteering with GT Scholars?
I feel like I gained a lot of confidence. I was a bit nervous before my first session because I see it as a real responsibility and duty to help a young person on their journey with mathematics. I really wanted to do a good job and make an impact on my scholar’s life. Having my scholar come back by the fourth session saying how she benefited from our sessions had really boosted my confidence. I think there are a lot of children out there that don’t see their own potential and it’s really opened my eyes to that. I have also gained a great relationship with my scholar and we even joke around during sessions sometimes.

Would you recommend becoming a tutor with GT Scholars?
Definitely. I think the whole process is really good and I gained a lot from the experience. For a tutor to be able to come in and really feel the positive impact made with a scholar and really seeing the journey you’re both going through during the 12 weeks is just amazing. The programme is really great for those scholars who are at average or just below, to give them that extra boost they need. Volunteering as a tutor is a nice way to start volunteering, whether it’s your first time or if you’re an experienced volunteer. I definitely recommend it in terms of it being a great way to volunteer and help young people.

What Parents Need To Know About State Boarding Schools In England

What Parents Need To Know About State Boarding Schools In England

What's new?

With state-of-the-art facilities, highly-qualified teachers and a wide range of extracurricular activities, boarding schools in England are among the most prestigious and sought-after in the world. In addition, young people who attended boarding schools frequently go on to study at top-ranked universities.

However, boarding schools can be really expensive. Fees vary widely from school to school, but the average boarding fees per term for pupils at boarding schools across the prep, senior and sixth-form age groups in 2016 was £10,317. This makes it really difficult for young people from low-income homes to access a boarding school education. 

But there is good news! In England, there are at least 38 state-funded boarding schools that offer the full boarding school experience at a fraction of the cost. Normally, these schools will offer tuition for free, and parents will just need to pay for boarding, which can be as little as £4,000 a term. This means that young people from various socio-economic backgrounds are able to attend a boarding school if they wish. Here are a few reasons why parents need to know about state boarding schools in England.

Stability
A boarding school offers your child a stable environment that is conducive to learning. Many young people who travel to and from school struggle with focusing at school, understanding difficult topics, and getting homework and assignments done. A boarding school works around such challenges by providing ongoing, often individual, support and attention that can ensure that your child feels completely supported in their learning. This makes it easier for them to reach their academic and attainment goals.

Path to university
The learning environment and highly-qualified staff at boarding schools make it easier for young people to reach their attainment goals so that they can get into university. However, it extends beyond their attainment as boarding schools also offer specialised university support for their students that will help them with the application process and securing their place in the university of their choice. As a result, boarding schools often have high numbers of pupils who go on to attend top universities across the country. 

Personal development
Boarding schools directly and indirectly promote the personal development of your child. A recent survey from The Association of British Boarding Schools revealed that 70% of students believe boarding school has helped them develop self-discipline, maturity, and independence, as well as valuable critical-thinking skills. Being away from home gives them the space to develop their independence and responsibility, which makes it easier for them to adjust when they leave school. They can also develop other valuable soft skills such as time management, leadership and self-confidence, which will help them in their future.

Social development
Living in away from home with like-minded, highly motivated individuals with similar goals and ambitions, young people will be able to form strong connections with classmates from different backgrounds all over the world and establish friendships that last long after they leave school. This is important for developing their interpersonal skills which makes them into well-rounded and self-confident individuals. Interpersonal skills are valuable in the workplace and in social settings and it makes them more personable, easygoing and it boosts their self-esteem. 

Extracurricular activities
Boarding schools in England offer a wide range of extracurricular activities and opportunities. With hundreds of clubs and activities, boarding schools offer much more compared to local schools, from various sporting disciplines to cultural pursuits like music and art. Being exposed to this diverse range of extracurricular options encourages students to try things they never would have before, helping them to develop their range of interests and grow into more well-rounded individuals. This diversifies their experience and skills, which makes their CV stand out when applying to university or for a job.

As you can see, boarding schools offer a wealth of benefits for young people and with state boarding schools, many more young people are able to access these benefits. There are also a variety of options for different age groups and either mixed or single-gender schools. So if you would like your child to attend a boarding school, find out more about state boarding schools in England 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.

How Can Education Address The Social Mobility Dilemma?

How Can Education Address The Social Mobility Dilemma?

What's new?

According to the Social Mobility Commission’s State of The Nation Report 2018/19, social mobility in the UK has remained stagnant over the past four years, despite government interventions. This means that young people from low-income homes are less likely to access high-income careers and break the cycle of poverty.

Those from better-off backgrounds are almost 80% more likely to be in a professional job than their working-class peers. Due to this gap in access to professional jobs, people from working-class backgrounds earn 24% less a year. In addition, the report found that even when those from working-class backgrounds are successful in entering professional occupations, they earn on average 17% less than their more privileged colleagues.

These facts can be quite disheartening to young people and people who are working towards improving social mobility. However, it is important that we understand these issues so that we can develop strategies that are effective and sustainable. It may be a complicated issue, but we can start working on it if we make at least two significant changes – improving education and increasing the number of high-income jobs.

Education is key
It comes as no surprise that education has a profound effect on social mobility. The widening gap in attainment between young people from low-income backgrounds and their wealthier peers has far-reaching consequences. 

In fact, a 2019 report from the Education Policy Institute has found that the gap in GCSE attainment between disadvantaged pupils and non-disadvantaged pupils has stopped closing, which strongly correlates with current social mobility figures. This means that by the time they leave secondary school, disadvantaged pupils are now over 18.1 months behind non-disadvantaged pupils.

This huge gap means that young people from low-income backgrounds are not able to access university or other higher education routes, which means that they are shut out from accessing professional and high-income careers, which makes it increasingly difficult to break out of the cycle of poverty.

So how can we close this gap? Well, firstly we can help young people from low-income homes to access tutoring and mentoring programmes. Good tutors and mentors provide an invaluable resource to help young people to understand difficult topics, improve attainment, increase personal development skills, and develop strategies to reach career aspirations and goals. At the moment, young people from low-income homes simply cannot afford a good tutor or mentor. After school tutoring and mentoring programmes in state schools should be funded by the government so that these young people are provided with the same support as their peers from private schools.

State school funding should be increased to improve the opportunities and resources that they can provide to their pupils. This includes more funding for extracurricular activities and more funding for support staff. The University of Bath found that young people who participate in extracurricular activities are able to gain confidence and build up their social skills which is much sought after by employers. They are also more likely to aspire to go on to higher or further education. Unfortunately, the Social Mobility Commission reported huge disparities in children’s participation rates across a wide range of extra-curricular activities depending on their social background, with young people from wealthier families being much more likely to take part in every type of activity especially music and sport. This can be changed if state schools are able to provide access to a wide range of high-quality extracurricular activities.

With more funding, state schools will also be able to employ more support staff. This can help to reduce teacher workload which will increase the contact time between teachers and their pupils. An increase in contact time will give young people more time to understand difficult topics and increase the amount of individual attention given to them. Schools will also be able to employ full-time staff to support their pupils’ mental health and wellbeing needs. The Social Mobility Commission reported that young people from more disadvantaged areas are more likely to suffer from lower levels of wellbeing, which has far-reaching effects on their academic and personal development.

After secondary school, young people from low-income homes also need more support in accessing higher education routes such as colleges and universities. The Government has worked on increasing apprenticeships and will also introduce T-levels and other further education routes. However, according to the report from the Education Policy Institute, this has led to an over-representation of disadvantaged students in further education, which actually damages the government’s ambition of rectifying imbalances between further and higher education. Access to colleges and universities needs to be improved for young people from low-income homes so that they are able to attain the qualifications to allow them to access high-income and professional careers. 

This can be done through the introduction of a student premium to help college and university students from low-income homes, according to an article by London Metropolitan University. University access should also be further improved by increasing access to universities with higher prestige so that young people from low-income homes are able to compete fairly with their wealthier peers when looking for a job.

Increasing the number of high-income jobs
It’s all well and good to improve education and narrow the gap in attainment, but what will happen after school and university when even more young people need to compete for a job in a high-income career field. 

The good news is that over the last few decades, there has been a growth in the proportion of professional jobs and a corresponding decline in the proportion of working-class jobs, with the Social Mobility Commission reporting that nearly half of all current jobs are professional, while less than a third are working class. However, despite this growth, those from high-income backgrounds continue to get most of these top jobs, squeezing out those from the most disadvantaged backgrounds.

This means that there is still a fierce amount of competition for a high-income career, and if more young people are able to access university and higher education, then the competition will become even fiercer. So, it is imperative that the number of high-income and professional jobs is increased to meet the greater demand so that young people from low-income homes are able to access high-paying careers. It’s also important to increase the number of high-income jobs to allow their wealthier peers to still be able to access high-paying careers. If they are shut out of high-income jobs, it will cause downward mobility which further worsens the issue of social mobility in future generations.

The Government needs to invest in creating more professional jobs by increasing investment in growing industries such as digital and technology, increasing investment in small businesses and entrepreneurship, and attracting more investment by continually developing and strengthening the workforce.

By improving education and increasing the number of high-income jobs, more young people from low-income homes will be able to access high-paying careers, which will stimulate social mobility and break the cycle of poverty for future generations.  The issue may be complex, but it can be solved if the Government, the private sector, and non-profit organisations are able to work together and do their part.

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.

In the Know – Tech events this Summer!

In the Know – Tech events this Summer!

In The Know What's new?

According to Tech Nation’s 2018 report, the tech industry is expanding 2.6 times faster than the rest of the UK economy. As this industry continues to grow, it offers many exciting career prospects for your child. Here are a few upcoming activities that will help your child to learn more about tech and develop their digital skills.

Digital Maker Day
Woking Library is running a free digital making workshop for young people between the ages of 11-12. This event will introduce them to fascinating tech tools that they can use to explore their creativity and develop their digital skills. They will also learn more about coding, electronics and physical computing. The workshop is taking place on Saturday 17th August from 10.30am. Find out more here.  

Pi-Top Taster Week
The award-winning creative design company, Pi-Top, is running a free taster week for young people between the ages of 11-17. Using the latest technology, young people will take part in a range of fun tech activities, from making an intruder alarm to designing digital musical instruments. They will also learn more about automation, AI and various tech careers. This event is taking place from Monday 19th August to Friday 23rd August. Find out more here

Discovery Coding
Discovery with Three and Kensington Central Library are running a free workshop to help young people to develop their coding skills and learn more about mobile technology. Suitable for young people between the ages of 11-12, this event will teach them how to use block coding to build a basic game and add some characters. The workshop is taking place on Friday 16th August from 2.30pm. Find out more 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.

With So Many Alternative Options, Is University Still Worth It?

With So Many Alternative Options, Is University Still Worth It?

What's new?

With there being so many available options for young people after school, many parents and young people are wondering if going to university is still worth it. 

Well, like many other things, university has its pros and cons that also depend on your goals and career aspirations. Here are a few reasons why university may be worth it to you and some information on alternative options for young people after school. 

Benefits of going to university
There are many considerable benefits of going to university that you should think about. After all, there is a reason that going to university remains the most popular choice for young people after school. 

  • Going from school to a full-time career can be a little daunting for young people. University offers a learning environment that can support young people while also giving them a chance to be more independent and take control of their learning. You will learn professional skills and knowledge that is important for your career, but you will also learn many important life skills such as managing your time effectively and formulating your own opinions.
  • A university degree will open up many career opportunities for you after you graduate. Many career fields, especially those that are highly-skilled, will require a university degree, while other career fields will allow you to move easily from an entry-level position to a higher level if you have a degree qualification. 
  • A university degree increases your chances of getting a better salary once you start working. Entry-level employees with degrees often earn more than those with none.
  • If you go to a well-established university, it increases your chances of securing opportunities such as working abroad. Many universities also offer exchange programmes that will allow you to study abroad for a semester or two.
  • University life offers you the chance to experience many new things, meet people from all around the world, and take part in extracurricular activities that will develop existing and new interests from sports to music to politics.

Alternatives to university
Not everyone can go to university, unfortunately, or at least not straight from school. This could be due to financial limitations, not getting the required grades, or universities simply not having enough space to accommodate every young person after school.

Thankfully, there are many alternatives to going to university and even alternative pathways to getting into a university or getting a degree. Some of these alternatives are within the higher education system while others offer completely different opportunities. 

  • Apprenticeships
    Apprenticeship programmes are a fantastic and credible alternative to going to university.  These programmes can be joined after you complete your GCSEs or after you complete your A-Levels. The best part about apprenticeships is the fact that you will be able to build your career experience and even earn an income while you are learning. This on-the-job experience can be vital for your career path, especially in practical career fields. In fact, if you complete a degree apprenticeship which means you will attain a degree, your work experience can actually set you apart from university graduates. The only difference is the fact that getting a degree through an apprenticeship will take you a little longer compared to university. However, it is certainly much more cost-effective.
  • Online Learning
    The internet is a powerful and effective learning tool where you can build new skills and learn important topics through a range of online courses and programmes. These courses can also be used to attain a degree from credible online and distance learning institutions which will cost you a lot less compared to studying at a full-time university. These online courses can also be done in your own time and from the comfort of your own home, which gives you the opportunity to work while you study part-time. There are also many free online courses offered by reputable organisations and learning institutions that can help you build useful practical skills from digital marketing to photography. 
  • Entrepreneurship
    If you have a business idea, product or service that you can’t wait to share with the world, then why not think about starting a business? Entrepreneurship is a bold alternative to university, but it can be just as rewarding if not even more rewarding for you. In the age of technology and opportunity, starting a business has also become a lot easier – you literally can start a business from the comfort of your own home. Being an entrepreneur can also be a part-time option when you first begin, giving you the opportunity to build useful skills or get a job before you become a full-time business owner. Entrepreneurship does take a lot of hard work, determination and resilience, but if you can set your mind to it, it is definitely both possible and profitable.

So, is university still worth it? Well, simply put, the answer lies with you! It depends on your career goals, aspirations and future plans. What’s actually more important to note is that university is not the only option for you after school, and there are a wealth of alternative options for you to choose from.

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.

It Will Take A Lot More Than Tutoring For You To Get Your Child Into Oxbridge

It Will Take A Lot More Than Tutoring For You To Get Your Child Into Oxbridge

What's new?

Oxford and Cambridge universities, collectively referred to as Oxbridge, are two of the UK’s most prestigious universities. Being so prestigious also means that they are two of the most sought-after universities in the UK as well as globally. This makes getting a place at Oxbridge a very competitive process.

Due to this high competition, the acceptance rates at these universities will be quite low compared to other universities. According to the Oxford and Cambridge university websites, Oxford currently has an acceptance rate of only 17% and Cambridge has a slightly higher acceptance rate of 21%. With roughly 3 applicants per place, Oxbridge will only consider applicants with the highest academic ability and potential. 

One of the ways that young people can show that they have the highest academic ability is by making use of a private tutor to help them excel in their A-Levels. However, that is not where it should end. In fact, it is just the beginning. 

Where to begin?
Before you start preparing your child for Oxbridge it’s important that you discuss it with your child. You need to make sure that they understand what it takes to get into Oxbridge so that they can be prepared to work hard. You should also definitely get an understanding of their career aspirations and other passions. Having a clear understanding of this early on will be highly beneficial in shaping their goals and it will also help them to choose the right subjects in school to achieve their goals. In addition, if you are able to gauge your child’s abilities early on, it will be easier for you to see what they need to focus on and what they need help with. GT Scholars can offer help with this through our workshops and enrichment days which help teens with choosing a career and also finding out more about university. This is often the first step a parent should consider. It also helps the child to realise what subjects they need to achieve their goals.

Tutoring vs. Mentoring
Private tutoring focuses mainly on reinforcing what your child has learned at school and helping them to improve their understanding and keep track of their academic goals. But, have you considered getting them a mentor as well? A mentor is more of a guide and advisor that can help your child with their personal development, career goals and various other topics that go beyond their school work. They can also help them to develop valuable skills like time management and interpersonal skills that they can then apply to their daily life. The GT Scholars mentoring programme has found that instilling these concepts in your child from an early age helps to build their confidence, increase self-belief and help them to feel more independent.

Examination preparation
Young people are under immense pressure during exam periods, especially if they are thinking about getting into Oxbridge. It’s important that they prepare themselves well in advance so that they can avoid unnecessary stress and perform better. Beyond going over important topics with their tutor, they should also learn how to effectively tackle exams. Over the years, we at GT Scholars have seen how different children cope with exams, and it does not only depend on their academic abilities. They will need to be able to manage their time effectively, be able to handle and counteract stress, and be able to understand their exam questions and answer intelligently. We run an annual Study Skills and Exam Preparation workshop that they should definitely attend. The sooner you help your child to prepare for exams properly, the greater the possibility of them succeeding in their exams throughout their school and university life. 

Applications
Unfortunately, a tutor is not going to have the time to help your child prepare for the application process when considering Oxbridge. The application process can be quite complicated, with various documents and assessments that need to be completed. This can be further complicated depending on what career path your child has chosen. To make it easier, it’s important for young people to start their application process well in advance. They can even take a look at the application process when they first start thinking about studying at Oxbridge to get a better understanding of what is required. This will give them enough time to develop their personal statement, extracurricular activities and other ways to make their application stand out. Our mentoring programme and enrichment days can provide them with all the help and guidance that they need to complete their applications. 

Encouragement and support
Young people will feel more confident in accomplishing their goals if their parents believe in their ability to do so. As parents, you need to support your child in their decisions and help reinforce their skills and abilities. This will allow them to feel encouraged and they will be able to move forward into university life knowing that they will be more than fine. Reinforcing their skills will help them to be independent once they’re away from home. It will help them to easily navigate time management, interact with others and understand their work.   

These are just some of the action points you can take to help your child reach their aim of studying at Oxbridge. It’s not just about tutoring, it’s about building all of their skills to proceed into university life, helping them to be well-rounded individuals, and ensuring they feel supported every step of the way.

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.

In the Know – Get an inside look with work experience!

In the Know – Get an inside look with work experience!

In The Know What's new?

Work experience allows young people to discover their strengths and explore all of their options, while also increasing the chance of them finding their dream job after school or university. It also provides a perfect opportunity for them to get a first-hand look into their chosen career field. Here are a few work experience opportunities at top companies that your child can look into.

Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that is primarily engaged in the research, design, development, and manufacturing of advanced technology for various fields, from aeronautics to space. They offer a two-week work experience programme that aims to support young people aged 14-18 with making their future career decisions. Applications are currently open for their work experience programme, and you can find out more here

Arcadis
Arcadis is a leading design, consultancy, and engineering firm that operates across a wide range of sectors including infrastructure, water, environment and buildings. Their Inspiring Futures work experience programme is designed for students aged 14-19 who are passionate about the environment, engineering and buildings. The week-long programme consists of a number of interactive sessions including team-building, challenges, and an office-based experience. Applications are currently open and you can find out more here.

Bentley
Bentley is a top-tier automotive company that aims to create extraordinary cars for extraordinary customers. They offer a work experience programme that aims to give young people aged 14-19 a taste of what it’s like to work at Bentley. This week-long programme is offered in their Engineering, Manufacturing and Commercial departments and will involve getting first-hand experience in your chosen area and gaining an insight into the day-to-day running of their business. Applications are currently open and you can find out more 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.