YourVoice- Careers and Learning

Do you know what you want to be? What career you want to do? Whose footsteps to follow?

There are many options available to you as a young person for your future. The world is your oyster. But if you aren’t sure of the path you wish to follow here is some information to help.

Where do I start?

It can feel a bit overwhelming thinking about your future career. There’s no need to panic, plenty of information and help is available. Here’s a few tips to get you started.

Remember it is always good to keep your options open, but you do need to be aware that some choices you make could have an impact on your future.

So what can you do now?
  1. Research your job ideas to get an idea of the huge range of careers there are out there. For a good place to start for ideas, visit the National Careers Service website to read about over 800 jobs. 
  2. Talk to people - You can talk to people you know and find out about their career/job/your family and friends too. You should also speak to your teachers and your careers adviser in your School/Academy.
  3. Understand what you are good at, what you like doing, what things interest you and what doesn't. Employers are really keen on skills as well as qualifications. Take the Buzz quiz to discover your strengths and what makes you tick.  
  4. Find out about courses on offer in your School/Academy/College, understand what the differences are. Remember to look at other places to study too. 
  5. Attend events at your school/academy and other places you are interested in. These include options evening and open events.
  6. Think ahead - What is your ultimate goal and what pathways can you take after Year 11 and beyond. There are often different routes you can take, study and work-wise.
  7. Think next steps - You will need to have studied and achieved to progress into your chosen career.

Searching for a job

Make use of the internet, there are lots of jobsites available. On some websites you may have to register your details or upload a CV and they will contact you when a suitable position becomes available. Key websites in Doncaster to support you are:

Applying for a job

When you are applying for a job you are essentially selling yourself to potential employers. First impressions really count and so you need to make sure that you present yourself well from the outset. This applies to both a job application and an interview.

Writing CVs and cover letters – this will be a potential employer’s first impression of you and needs to be professional and represent certain skills matching the job you are applying for help with application forms – some jobs require you to complete an application form and this can be daunting. It is useful to get practice on how to complete these forms as they will ask similar questions

Job interview – this can be a scary experience, but you need to set a good first impression in terms of clothing, being prepared, getting to know the business and staying calm

Getting work experience – if you are looking to work in a specific sector, it may help you to complete some work experience. This is unpaid but it can help you learn certain skills. Many young people end up working for a company they have done work experience with after setting a good first impression

Contracts of employment - Your employer normally has an obligation to provide you with a written statement of the terms and conditions of your employment within about 2 months of your start date. This usually forms your contract of employment, and can be quite long and full of legal wording, but it is needed as it sets out your duties, rights, responsibilities and conditions, as well as those of your employer. GOV.UK has more information on understanding a contract and what your rights are.

Zero hours contracts - A zero hours contract is a contract between an employer and a worker where: your employer is not obliged to provide any minimum working hours and you are not obliged to accept any work offered. Zero hours contracts have been given a bad reputation but there are times where they are useful. They can give you lots of flexibility about where and when you work; e.g. if you are studying and you sometimes need time to concentrate on your college or university. It can be difficult to budget on a zero hours contract as you have no guarantee of work or income, which can be especially difficult if you are dependent upon it as your only source of income. The law prevents employers from enforcing 'exclusivity clauses' in a zero hours contract. This means you could have a zero hours contract with more than one employer.

Working while at school

Young people who have part time jobs often find it is a positive and rewarding experience. Many young people have part time jobs and Doncaster Council want to make sure the jobs you do are safe and don't impact on your health, education or wellbeing.
  • A young person may not work before 7.00am or after 7.00pm and may not work more than 12 hours per week during term time.
  • A 13 or 14 year old can work a maximum of 5 hours on a Saturday and 2 hours on a Sunday.
  • A 15 and 16 year old can work a maximum of 8 hours on a Saturday and 2 hours on a Sunday.
  • During school holidays a 13 and 14 year old may work up to 25 hours per week and a 15 and 16 year old up to 35 hours per week.
  • All school age children must have a 1 hour break if they have worked continuously for 4 hours and must have at least 2 consecutive weeks off from employment that should be taken during school holidays.


Volunteering can be a hugely positive experience. As well as giving back to your community, you also get the chance to enhance existing skills, knowledge and experience as well as gain new ones. Employers often look for people who have given their time to help others as it shown you are keen to learn, and that you want to work. As well as developing your skills and learning something new, enhancing your experience (which could lead to paid work in future), or supporting your studies, you will gain in many other ways too:
  • using your skills to inspire others;
  • meeting new people from different backgrounds, and developing friendships;
  • supporting your local community and giving something back;
  • improving your self-esteem and confidence;
  • having fun and keeping active;
  • having a positive impact on physical and mental health;
  • contributing towards personal attainments, such as university modules or Duke of Edinburgh awards, and;
  • being a member of a team.
Volunteering can be formal but also informal. Your local community centre, local charities or groups, might be grateful of some help. Just pop in and ask!

Find volunteering opportunities.

What happens after Year 9?

When you are 13 or 14, you will need to start thinking about which subjects you would like to study in years 10 and 11. You can study at your current school or at a University Technical College (UTC). Check with your school or UTC which options and courses are offered and if there are any entrance requirements. You should also think about which courses you want to study in further and higher education or which career you might be interested in. Your choice of courses after year 9 could affect this. No subject is easy but you are likely to be better at some than others and it is a good idea to choose ones you have an understanding of.


GCSE - Most schools will offer these qualifications and when you look for a job employers may insist on a passing grade in maths or English. You must also study science up to the age of 16.
BTEC - These are qualifications which are more specific to a certain area of work, such as business or mechanics and will give you practical knowledge of a job sector. They can be taken in conjunction with, or separate from, GCSEs.

What if I have a disability or special educational needs?

 If you have a disability or special educational needs, talk to your school as you may be able to get additional support to help you study and pass your exams. You can find more information on the Local Offer website.

What happens after Year 11?

The government has increased the age to which all young people in England must continue in education or training. You should stay in some kind of education, training, or go to work until the end of the academic year in which you turn 18.

What are my options?

  • stay on at school in sixth form 
  • study at a further education college or training provider 
  • do an apprenticeship 

Try to do some research about the subjects you are interested in and visit the school or college first. You also need to check if they have any requirements (such as Maths and English GCSE) for entry. For some A levels you may need to achieve required grades at GCSE in the same subject. For ideas of where to study see the tab below 'Where can I study in Doncaster?'

The Participation & Transition Service has a statutory responsibility to ensure that all young people aged 16-18 (academic age Y12 & Y13) are participating in some form of learning.

What happens after Year 13?


Applying for university
There are hundreds of courses that you could take up based on your interests and hobbies. Search the UCAS database to see the kind of things that are on offer. A degree may help you earn more later in life and achieve at a high level; however, at the age of 18, you might have to pay your course fees as well as pay for books, other equipment and living expenses. It is important to plan your finances and research the financial support you could receive. 

How do I choose a university?
Student room is a forum where students can share knowledge on universities, courses, study help and careers. 
WhatUni compares the best universities and course reviews. 

How can I pay for university? 
You are able to apply for a student loan each year you are at college or university. This is in the form of a loan that you will pay back once you are earning a certain salary in full-time employment. 
The main student finance package includes: - A tuition fee loan - A maintenance loan - full-time students only. If your household income is below a certain amount, you may also be able to receive a maintenance grant. This could cover the cost of things like accommodation and food. The maintenance grant does not need to be paid back. GOV.UK  has more information about student finance. 

Bursaries and scholarships are another type of financial help that do not have to be paid back. Some are guaranteed and are based on your personal circumstances whilst others are available through open competition.

Higher Education

Study higher education at a local college.

You will still have to pay a fee, but you may be entitled to support. The main student finance packages include:
  • A tuition fee loan
  • A maintenance loan (full-time students only)
  • A maintenance grant or special support grant (full-time students only) 


Become an apprentice

Higher and degree apprenticeships offer an apprentice the opportunity to combine working while studying for a work-based academic or vocational high level qualification. Apprenticeships can be a really positive experience for you and your future prospects. They may also be a better option for you than further education or full-time employment. The find a vacancy website has a list of new vacancies in traditional and non-traditional sectors.


What is an internship? 
An internship is a period of work experience, offered by an organisation, usually lasting for a fixed, limited period of time. They are typically undertaken by students and graduates looking to gain relevant skills and experience in a particular field. Employers frequently use these placements to assess a student's or graduate's capability and often recruit employees from their interns rather than advertising their vacancies externally.

Where can I find an internship in the UK? 
Prospects offer information about internships in the UK and you can also apply for an international internship. 

Supported Internships

A supported internship is one type of study programme specifically aimed at young people aged 16 to 24 who have an education, health and care plan (EHCP), who want to move into employment and need extra support to do so. All young people should be helped to develop the skills and experience, and achieve the qualifications they need to succeed in their careers. The overwhelming majority of young people with SEN are capable of sustainable paid employment with the right preparation and support. Visit the Local Offer for more information.

Adult Learning

The Adult, Family and Community Learning (AFCL) service provides local learning activities for adults and families in their community. You have lots of choices after year 13 including further education, such as apprenticeships or university or you could go into the world of work.

Where can I study in Doncaster?

There are lots of options across Doncaster depending on what you are interested in:

Sixth Form - Based within Secondary Schools. Students aged 16 to 19 typically study for advanced school-level qualifications, such as A-levels and BTEC. 

New College - There’s only year 12 and year 13. This means it’s a much more adult environment, without young students around (or much older students), and without the distractions of students that don’t want to learn.All of our courses are A levels or Level 3 BTEC qualifications.

Doncaster College -The Hub - Offers hundreds of great courses to suit everyone, including apprenticeships, higher education and more

National Rail College - Offer college courses and apprenticeships in all elements of high speed rail and the broader rail and infrastructure industry.

University Technical College - University technical colleges (UTCs) are government funded schools that offer 13–18 year olds a great deal more than traditional schools. They teach students technical and scientific subjects in a whole new way and are educating the inventors, engineers, scientists and technicians of tomorrow.

360 Degrees Media - 360 and its educational partners create bespoke commercially-minded courses for the film, television and the digital industries, which will be taught at the High Melton Studios. These courses take into account market and technological change in order to build competitive advantage for both students and employers and are delivered in tandem with existing educational bodies ranging from schools to technical colleges as well as universities. 360 is working with DN College Group to provide a ‘last mile’ VFX training programme that can deliver bespoke skills focused directly on the requirements of the digital industries. Our Academy Master classes are delivered in partnership with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the institution behind the Oscars.

Useful Websites




Last updated: 01 February 2021 13:00:13

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