Young people leaving school in 2021 are entering the toughest education, employment and training landscape seen in decades. Lockdown and school closures has meant that they have missed 3-months of formal education.
It is more important than ever that our coaches are there to support pupils to think through their futures and plan carefully for their next steps.
For Lydia, the opportunity to be matched to a career coach came at a crucial time.
Lydia was doing all the right things: she was working hard towards her A-Levels, had adjusted to the rhythm of home learning, and had been starting to think about her future. But before the Future Frontiers programme, she had not yet been supported to think extensively about what she could turn her skills and talents to upon leaving school.
Jobs in healthcare had always interested Lydia, but the programme gave her the structure and confidence to explore the sector in greater detail.
"I think I had always wanted to do medicine, but I never really thought I was able. The coaching programme helped to - I guess - confirm that I could."
Through the research she did with her coach - Andrew, a volunteer from CenturyLink - and after speaking 1:1 with a surgeon, Lydia came to the conclusion that she wanted to pursue a career in medicine.
She explains that one of the first activities she completed with her coach helped her reach this decision: “We looked at the skills and qualities that I have. And then later, we linked that to the careers I found interesting and got to see crossovers. It was really helpful. In Sixth Form we don’t tend to look at these things in detail like that”.
Andrew explains how powerful it was to see Lydia work through this exercise. How it “validated” her opinions and built her belief that becoming a doctor aligned with her skills, predicted grades and motivations: that it was a career option she was right to consider.
Lydia reflects: “I think I had always wanted to do medicine, but I never really thought I was able. The coaching programme helped to - I guess - confirm that I could.”
The activities towards the end of the programme then gave her the knowledge of the steps she needed to take to get there.
“In terms of actually getting to my - I guess you could say - dream career, I wasn't too sure. But we looked at the different stages that you have to work your way through”.
Lydia describes how this process made the prospect of becoming a doctor “more real”, and less “scary”. She now has a plan set out for her immediate next steps and longer-term things she needs to do.
For Lydia, this means one big change in the near future. She needs A Level Chemistry to access medicine courses at university and has now committed to re-taking the year at school to enable her to do this alongside her A Levels in Maths and Biology.
I didn’t choose Chemistry before as I never thought I’d get in. This experience has made me realise that I should go for it and my school have said I can repeat the year so I can get the A Levels I need.”
Andrew has belief that Lydia will achieve her ambitions - “I've got every confidence that she'll do the things that she needs to do. Whether she follows the plan we made, or whether she tweaks it a bit, I have no hesitation in saying she’ll do an excellent job”.
"I didn’t choose Chemistry before as I never thought I’d get in. This experience has made me realise that I should go for it."