Apprenticeships should be promoted as a strong alternative to university

Apprenticeships should be promoted as a strong alternative to university

Apprenticeships Parents Post 16 Volunteer mentors What's new? Work experience

One of the main questions asked by recruiters around the world is whether a job applicant has the relevant experience for the role applied for.  Experience can be one of the crucial deciding factors within any job placement. Although there are many companies who still require that employees undergo internal training, they would still like to know whether the candidate has had some previous experience in the field and whether they are familiar with job requirements and responsibilities associated with the position they are applying for.  An Apprenticeship is a great way to give young career enthusiasts the opportunity to gain knowledge in the field even before their career has started. This allows them to apply for jobs with confidence, knowing they have some sort of relevant experience that will count in their favour.

Apprenticeships allow young people to gain practical experience and put their theoretical experience to the test. In the United Kingdom, apprenticeships are entitled to the minimum wage rate for their age, which allows working-class students to set aside their financial worries whilst gaining a degree on the side. Internships are there to give students the opportunity to gain practical knowledge of something they are learning in their academic world. A company will provide them with an opening in a department where they are able to start learning more about a certain career. Experience for post-school careers is then gained, which makes applying for jobs in the future a lot easier.

Young people considering an apprenticeship can benefit in many ways:

Getting to know your abilities & skills
It is one thing to identify your strengths and discussing them with your tutor or mentor.  Putting these strengths into practice and developing them is something completely different. During an internship, you will work closely with experienced people who have already been in the industry for some time. Use this time to observe and learn from them.  You need to use your time to grow, professionally as well as personally. An apprenticeship serves as a window into the working world where one will have to make decisions, take responsibility for them, and facing the consequences that result from them. You will get to know yourself and how you operate under pressure. You will begin to understand how the things you have learnt in the classroom are put to the test in real life. On the job training will provide you with real-life situations to test your abilities and skills.

Gaining Confidence
Being given an opportunity to work in a professional environment with professional people is a great recipe for self –confidence. Your assigned supervisors will contribute a great deal to your internship experience. They know that you are there to learn and gain knowledge, without the pressure and responsibilities of an employee in a new job, where you need to prove yourself, you will be allowed to be yourself without too much pressure.

Each company works differently, but most have performance-based feedback sessions for apprentices or internship employees, as this is a way that most companies evaluate their employees and make them feel important and appreciated within the workplace. You will have constant feedback session on a weekly/monthly basis to see how you are performing and coping in your department. This, in turn, helps you to mould your professional confidence.

Networking Skills
Networking and acquiring new connections within the business world is vital for your future growth within any industry you would like to excel in. Meeting new people and gaining industry-specific insight is a valuable way of building up your knowledge.  At the end of the day it boils down to that old saying, ’’ knowledge is power’’. Apprenticeships allow you the opportunity to gain knowledge in your professional field. One of the other important advantages is that you will also receive a reference letter once your apprenticeship is completed. The reference letter will be an added advantage for your curriculum vitae. During an apprenticeship, you will most likely move between departments so that you can get a better understanding of the company as a whole. Each department works together to deliver the final product or service. Therefore, it is vital for employers to move you around during your time at the company.it also allows you to meet all kinds of different people in different ranks and chains of command.

Future Job Potential
Starting your career at a young age can potentially give you a head start,  especially when you consider that your career would actually be on hold if you were only attending university and not working at the same time. Apprenticeships allow you to have a head-start in the future job market especially when you come from a lower income household.

Gaining Industry Specific Knowledge
There is only so much the textbooks can teach you. Practical experience is crucial.  On the job training will give you insight into things you would never learn in a classroom. You will be able to work with experienced staff members, who you are able to learn from. You can then practise these skills within a professional environment and put yourself to the test. If you are studying for a university degree on the side you can still obtain your degree whilst gaining experience at the same time.

Over the last decade, apprenticeships have fast become a popular new way of climbing up the corporate ladder. It is also a lot quicker than the traditional route of first studying and then applying for jobs afterwards.  A mentor can guide you step by step on how to apply for these positions and help you decide which positions are the best and worth applying for.

The GT Scholars Programme is a not-for-profit social enterprise  that offers various programmes and workshops to provide young people between the ages of 11 to 16 with the necessary skills to set them on a successful career path, improve grades and enrich their mentoring experiences. Our GT Scholars Awards Programme offers one-to-one mentoring sessions and free access to our enrichment or skill-building events. Our mentors provide young people with ongoing coaching so that they are equipped with the strategies and tools they need to achieve their personal goals. This helps our scholars discover their strengths, it develops their resilience and it helps build confidence in their own abilities. Sign up here and look out for our enrichment days and skill-building workshops.

In the Know – Resources for aspiring doctors!

In the Know – Resources for aspiring doctors!

In The Know Parents What's new?

The medical profession will always be considered to be well-respected and noble. You get to save lives and what can be more precious than that? Doctors will always be needed, so there will always be job opportunities. And with the variety of specialisations becoming available, the profession offers a wide array of options. Here are a few useful resources and events for aspiring doctors.

The British Medical Association
The BMA website offers loads of resources for young people wanting to study medicine. It includes information on what life is really like as a doctor, how to apply to medical school, and other common questions on medicine as a career. It also includes useful links to organisations that offer work experience placements, which is vital if you are planning to study medicine as all UK medical schools now require applicants to have experience in a caring or service role in a health or related field. Find out more here.

InvestIN Young Doctor Programme
The Young Doctor Programme aims to give you a deep insight into life as a doctor, both through sessions with current professionals and through practising some key medical tasks yourself. You will also be directed in how to maximise your chances of gaining admission into a top UK medical school. After the programme, InvestIN gives you lifetime access to their platform for you to ask their professionals any questions. The programme takes place on Sunday the 22nd of April 2018 and is for 15-18-year-old students. You can find out more here.

Student Ladder
Student Ladder offers links to work experience and internship programmes. Since most medical and dental schools require you to have some relevant work experience in a health or related field, it is important for young people wanting to study medicine to enrol in a work experience programme. This website provides information on work experience programmes in the medical field and links to existing programmes in the UK. Find out more here.

The GT Scholars Programme is an after-school programme that focuses on social mobility, growth mindset and helping young people to achieve their aspirations. The programme includes tutoring, mentoring and enrichment sessions for young people aged 11-16. If you would like to know more, please contact us here.

In the Know – Scholarship opportunities for young people!

In the Know – Scholarship opportunities for young people!

In The Know Parents What's new?

Scholarships are important for two obvious reasons – the financial assistance it provides for students wanting to study and the benefit of being part of a programme that recognises your academic success. But, scholarships can provide many other benefits, including work experience programmes, post-university work placement, travel bursaries and extracurricular merit. Here are three great scholarship opportunities for young people to apply for this term.

BeArt-Presets Scholarship
BeArt-Presets is a group of passionate photographers and designers specializing in photography. They want to help a student to attain their educational goals and reach their full potential by offering them a £3600 scholarship. This scholarship is for any student applying for any degree at any accredited university in the UK. In order to apply, you will need to fill out the online application form and submit a short essay explaining how the scholarship will impact your life. Applications close on the 1st of April 2018.

Bird & Bird Bursary Scheme
Bird & Bird is an international law firm that seeks to address the financial hurdle that often deters bright people from attending university. Their bursary scheme offers aspirational law students a £7500 award paid in instalments over three years, a mentoring scheme with their current trainee solicitors to give support and career guidance, and a place on their summer vacation scheme which will take place at the end of the second year at university. Applications close on the 31st of May 2018 and you can find more information here.

(ISC)² Undergraduate Scholarship
This scholarship offered by the Center for Cyber Safety and Education aims to ease some of the educational financial burden of aspiring information security professionals. It offers students wanting to study a degree in IT specialising in information or cyber security up to £3600. They can be studying full-time or part-time at any accredited university. Applications close on the 15th of March 2018 and you can find more information here.

The GT Scholars Programme is an after-school programme that focuses on social mobility, growth mindset and helping young people to achieve their aspirations. The programme includes tutoring, mentoring and enrichment sessions for young people aged 11-16. Registration for the January programme is now open. You can register online by following this link.

7 Traits of parents with successful children

7 Traits of parents with successful children

Growth mindset Parents What's new?

There is no set manual to follow when it comes to raising successful children but psychological research has narrowed down a few factors that will most likely result in success. It comes as no surprise that a majority of the responsibility lies with the parents. Although, it is not entirely up to the parents, there are a few things parents with successful children have in common. Let’s look at 7 traits of parents with successful children.

Make them do Chores: Making children do chores from a young age will teach your child that hard work pays off. Most importantly, chores also imprint a sense of responsibility on a child.  Always ensure the chores are age appropriate and that they do receive some type of praise or remuneration for it. Chores can range from picking up toys and putting it back inside the box, washing dishes, mowing the lawn or walking the dog.

Give them pocket money: Give children pocket money, whether it is in a form of payment for chores they have completed or an allowance they get on a weekly or monthly basis. It will teach them the value of money and also how to work with their money.  It is important, however, not to give them more money when they run out of their own. This will defeat the purpose. They also need to learn the importance of saving, even if it is saving for a fancy bicycle or a new gaming centre they would like to have. You can sit down with them and work out a weekly budget, teaching them how to set out money for spending and money for saving.

Teach them to not be afraid of failure: “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure” – Colin Powell. You want your kids to develop a growth mindset. You want them to view failure, which is inevitable, as a chance to learn and grow – not as a dead end. They need to learn to keep at it and not give up on the first try.

Let them learn to be tolerant:  Being tolerant to different types of people with different personalities is a very important trait to have. It is just wrong if a person looks down on another. Your child should learn to be the Good Samaritan. This will result in great respect from their peers. In addition, children should also learn the principle of putting themselves in other people’s shoes first before judging. That way they can understand why certain things happen and how to deal with these situations when they arise. For example, you can introduce this by explaining why a school bully might be acting out in a certain way.

Encourage entrepreneurship:  Based on research by Bill Murphy Jr., a renowned entrepreneur, the majority of today’s entrepreneurs were encouraged to act like entrepreneurs at an early age. These included personally observing an entrepreneur while growing up and being constantly challenged by their parents to come up with ways that they think they can make money. You can help your child by setting up a lemonade stand in the front yard to sell to the neighbourhood and taking part in school market days.

Praise them for hard work:  The way we praise our children has an effect on how they view their success. When they earn a high score on a math test or win a sports trophy, it is important to praise them for their hard work and perseverance, not just telling them that their success was a direct result of them being smart or talented. Although we want to compliment our children, we also want them to know that although they have a natural talent, hard work is always required and that it always pays off. This will nurture a growth mindset.  If we do not praise them in this way, their confidence can suffer a knock when they try and don’t succeed at first.

Remember to be their role model:  From the day they are born our children look up to us as their parents. We are the first example of trust, love, empathy and respect they will have in this world. How we deal with failure and how we celebrate success is constantly being observed by our children.  You need to set examples of the type of person you would like your child to be. The “do as I say, not as I do” method is not one that often succeeds. You want your child to trust you and strive to be like you, not to obey you out of fear of being punished for not following the rules. It is likely that the moment you are not around, they might just do the exact opposite of what they were told.  They need to want to follow the rules. They need to want to succeed because you succeeded.

Raising a successful child is a conversation that many of us parents have engaged in before and one that can carry on for an infinite amount of time. We hope you found this topic insightful.

GT Scholars strives in providing mentoring, tutoring and enrichment to children from diverse backgrounds. Feel free to contact us to find out how GT scholars can help your child reach even higher heights.

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.

Choosing a university course? 5 tips from a recent graduate to help you make the right choice

Choosing a university course? 5 tips from a recent graduate to help you make the right choice

Growth mindset University What's new? Young people

So you’ve been working really hard preparing for university, you’re pretty sure you’ll get the grades and maybe you even know which university you’ll go to… but there’s a huge decision you need to make. Which university course will you study?

According to UCAS, there are 37,000 undergraduate courses at over 370 universities across the UK. There are many factors that that need to be taken into consideration when deciding the course that is right for you. We’ve written a list of 5 things you should consider when choosing your future degree course.

  1. Choose something you are passionate about

This tip may seem obvious but I can’t stress this enough. Remember that you’ll be spending at least three years studying your chosen subject. If you aren’t passionate about your subject then you’ll likely find it much harder to motivate yourself and you won’t enjoy the experience. A mixture of passion for your subject and hard work will stand you in great stead for your time at university.

  1. Look at the course content

It’s essential to research the specific details of your course. You may find that one university has modules in your subject that interest you far more than the modules in the same subject at another university. Be sure to look at the second and third year modules, as well as the first year as this will give a good indication of the direction of your course.

  1. Check league tables & specialities

League tables can be a good indicator as to the quality of any given course. There are a number of respected league tables published every year, such as Also, note that different universities excel at different subjects, so make sure you research the reputation of your potential universities in regards to your chosen subject.

  1. Think about your career direction

  It may seem a little early to think about career decisions but keep in mind the paths your course opens up for you. It is an obvious point, but some professions need people with degrees in specific subjects, so if you know what you want to do later in life, you may want to tailor your qualification to that profession. If you are not sure what you want to do in later life, don’t panic. A degree opens up a lot more paths than it closes, and you are not limited to working in a career which directly relates to your degree.   

Look into degrees that offer something unique: There are a large number of degrees in the UK that offer unique opportunities such as sandwich placements where you spend a year working in a company, usually between your second and third year. Other degrees offer add on credits so that you can graduate with a double degree or you can graduate with a degree plus a language. Another popular choice is a degree with the opportunity to study abroad for a year. This can be an excellent opportunity to meet new travel the world, meet new people and complete your degree at the same time.

We hope this gives you a good idea of how to get started with your search for a degree course. For more hints and tips on universities and careers, visit the GT Scholars blog www.gtscholars.org/blog