Careers, Work Experience and Progression
How our Careers Service can help you
The college Careers Service is here to help you make informed decisions and to help you plan the next steps towards your future. From applying to work, university or apprenticeships or working out your interests, skills and aspirations, our Careers Advisers can provide you with the information, advice and guidance you need.
We are pleased to have achieved both the Matrix Standard and Quality in Careers Standard to ensure our work is of the highest standard.
Leeds City College works in partnership with the National Careers Service. Their website has great careers information and a telephone help line that anyone 13 and over can use. Monday to Friday 8am – 8pm and Saturday 10am-5pm.
What to expect from Leeds City College Careers?
Student Guide to Careers
View our learner entitlement statement
At Leeds City College, to help you plan your future career, you can expect:
- Information to inspire you about different jobs and careers, higher education,
apprenticeships and further study.
- Career Google Classrooms with information about jobs and further study in your vocational/academic area
- Digital tools such as Start to research careers/jobs, salaries and qualification/skill requirements locally, regionally and nationally
- Support to help you make a careers plan as part of your course or tutorial programme
- Opportunities to meet and talk to employers from your vocational or academic sector
- Work place visits and activities to try out your chosen sector, develop your employability skills and add to your CV
- Enrichment activities to develop your personal skills and to add to your CV/personal statement, such as volunteering, Duke of Edinburgh, sports & exercise, Student Union societies and roles as student leaders
- Higher education, employability and progression events and visits to help you make informed choices about your next steps
- Signposting to expert guidance from careers, University & apprenticeship providers across the city
- Workshops to help you write your CV, personal statement, apply to work/apprenticeships/higher education
- Advice & guidance if you need extra support to plan and achieve your next steps
- 19+ learners can access face to face guidance from the National Careers Service
Our full careers programme for 21/22 can be found here.
Information about how we review and evaluate our careers programme can be found below.
Reviewing and evaluating the Careers Programme
Quality assurance and continued improvement are central to the work of the Careers and Progression Team at Leeds City College. We hold the Matrix Standard Award, the Quality in Careers Standard and are an affiliated member of the CDI (Careers Development Institute). We are committed to working in line with the Gatsby benchmarks to enable us to measure the effectiveness of our CEIAG programme across our campuses to improve and develop our careers programme.
The impact of our CEIAG programme is evaluated through the following measures:
- Destination Tracking
- UCAS data
- Feedback obtained from students after personal guidance appointments
- Feedback from students and external stakeholders after key events including Careers Fair, HE Fair. Career Insight talks
- Quality assurance of resources
- Staff feedback
- Student voice
What is Work Experience?
As part of your study programme at college, you will be required to undertake a short term unpaid work experience placement (usually one to two weeks) to gain an insight into the world of work in your chosen industry. There are lots of benefits to work experience as you’ll be working alongside people who are very knowledgeable and experienced in the field you might want to go into.
How does it work?
Around 8 weeks before you are due to go on your work experience, a work experience coordinator will deliver an information session to go over the process. You will be set a target date to find your own placement first and if you are unable to secure this then the coordinator will assign you to a placement. This is a great opportunity to ask any questions you may have. At this point the coordinator will also go through Navigate, which is the system the college and students use to log placements.
What are the Benefits of Work Experience
- It is a chance to develop employability skills and add relevant experience to your CV
- An opportunity to ‘try out’ a workplace. It may help you decide the right career path for you and will give you a chance to discover what areas you might like to go into and what areas you might not like
- Gives you a chance to network with the right people
- If University is your chosen route after college then it is a perfect opportunity to talk about your work experience in your personal statement
- Boosts your confidence and independence
Your curriculum area may have also chosen a different work experience option for you to complete which could consist of work taster opportunities, virtual work experience or an employability week. You will be made aware by your tutor of the work experience option you will be doing beforehand.
Found out more about the different options below:
Work taster opportunities
This is a unique opportunity for you to visit your workplace for a morning/ afternoon or a few hours, and gain an insight into a business.
Virtual Work Experience
This will be a timetable of activities that you will complete virtually for a 1 or 2 week period. It could include a mixture of online courses, quizzes, listening to industry professionals speak about their roles in your chosen industry and general employability support.
On the virtual work experience site, there are a number of fantastic virtual opportunities that are uploaded throughout the year with external companies. Anyone can sign up and take part in these, so please take the time to explore and take advantage of the virtual site to see if anything interests you. Click on the ‘opportunities’ tab to see upcoming virtual experiences:
This week would consist of a mixture of visiting speakers, employability workshops on campus, and work taster visits to employers.
Social Action Project
This means using work-related skills and behaviours to have a positive community impact. Activities which form part of the project can include volunteering, campaigning, fundraising and mentoring.
To get the most out of your work experience placement you should get involved as much as possible. Ask questions if you are not sure about things, and ask for help if you need it. Above all, HAVE FUN.
Careers Guide for Parents, Carers & Guardians
Today’s students have more options open to them than ever before and will be entering a world where jobs and employment are changing. It is important that our students get the help and support they need, enabling them to make informed choices and start careers that are personally and economically satisfying.
The Careers team has identified a range of information sources, organisations and links, to help you support your children with their choices and plans.
Start is an online careers platform that is used during tutorial and in lessons to help our students find out about jobs, careers and industries they may be interested in. Parents can also access the site here.
National Careers Service
This service provides jobs and careers information (including courses and LMI), including a free telephone service and support with career planning or updating a CV. Anyone who is 13 or over can call their helpline and those 19 and over can book an appointment. Click here to find out more.
Bradford Employment Hub
If you are aged 15+ and looking for work, apprenticeships or further learning and training opportunities, this is for you and you could benefit from support to help you with your journey. Click here to find out more.
Web advisers offer young people advice, guidance and support on a range of issues such as education, training, jobs, money and lifestyle decisions, to help them make a smooth transition to adulthood and working life. Click here to find out more.
Calderdale and Kirklees Careers
C&K Careers offer young people and adults advice about progression and job hunting (One-to-one appointments are available in all areas as well as a telephone helpline).
National Careers Service
National Careers Service advisers work in partnership with Leeds City College staff and students. They deliver sessions on employability and career planning to groups on full time and part time courses. Students aged 19 or over can book careers guidance appointments by calling 0800 100 900.
The National Careers Service has useful careers information and a telephone helpline that anyone 13 and over can use. They are open Monday to Friday 8am-8pm and Saturday 10am-5pm.
Higher Education & University
Going to university can be an option if you have completed or are working towards a level 3 qualification such as A-Levels, T-Levels, BTEC Level 3 or Access to HE. For further information on going to university click here.
- Graduate earnings
- Gain skills and experience for life and work
- Better employment prospects
- Meet lots of new friends – from all over the UK and the world
- Learn to live independently
- Study in depth a subject that interests you
All applications to University for full-time study must be made online through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).
Here is some information to help if you are considering Higher Education
To complete your UCAS form you will need:
- Personal Details
- Course Choices
- Correct details of your qualifications – dates, exam boards & centre numbers
- Details of employment
- A Personal Statement
To get started:
- Sign in | UCAS
- Select ‘Applying through College/School’
- Ask your tutor for the college Buzzword
- Select your tutor from the drop down list. If they do not appear let them know
- Remember to make a note of your ID number, username and password
- You can still use the college UCAS service if you have left college within the last two years
- APPLY – Complete all sections of UCAS application form and add your personal statement.
- PAY – the application fee for 2022 applications will be £22.00 for one choice, or £26.50 for two – five choices.
- SEND – Your form will be then sent to your tutor who will add a reference.
UCAS Extra Useful Resources:
Applying to a Conservatoire
Each conservatoire has its own strengths and specialisms, so it is important to research all of them to find the right fit for you. For example, although all conservatoires offer music courses, only two offer drama courses. To help decide, research what graduates from each conservatoire have gone on to do, to see if this fits with your aspirations. Check to see the conservatoires in the scheme. List of conservatoires.
Additional Entry Tests:
When applying for an apprenticeship you must apply for all vacancies individually, just like you would a job.
If you don’t already have GCSE Maths, English & ICT, you may have the opportunity to complete Functional Skills alongside your apprenticeship.
Are a parent or guardian looking to find out more information about apprenticeships? View the National Apprenticeship Service’s parent pack here.
Levels of Apprenticeships:
Three types of Apprenticeships you can apply for depends on your current skills and qualifications:
- Intermediate Level Apprenticeships (Level 2)
- Advanced Level Apprenticeships (Level 3)
- Higher/Degree Apprenticeships (Level 4,5,6 & 7)
Higher Degree Apprenticeships can lead to a degree. Studying for a degree whilst you work will allow you to gain valuable skills and experience, whilst working towards a degree. It can lead to a bachelor’s of arts/science degree, dependent upon the area studied. You will gain a degree without the debt.
Who can apply?
You can apply for an apprenticeship while you’re still at college. To start one, you’ll need to be:
- 16 and over
- Living in England
- Not in full time education
Did you know?
The current minimum wage rate for an apprentice is £4.30 per hour.
This rate applies to apprentices under 19 and those aged 19 or over who are in their first year.
Find out more at: www.gov.uk
- Earn a salary
- Employed in a real job
- Gain job-specific skills
- Get holidays
- Study towards a recognised qualification
- Transferable workplace skills
- Work alongside experienced staff
- Open to all age groups above 16 years old
As an apprentice you will:
- Earn a wage
- Get holiday pay
- Develop job-specific skills
- Work with experienced staff
- Be allocated time to study
Looking for work can take a lot of effort, time and planning. There are lots of resources to help you, but you need to be clear about what kind of work you are looking for.
- Research the area you want to work in by speaking to those working in the industry. You can also use the internet to research different organisations.
- Make sure you can match your skills to the job to maximise your chances.
- Ensure you have a covering letter and an updated CV. You can then change it for each job you apply for.
- You may be required to complete an application form, this will give you an opportunity to give the employer specific information of your skills, which should be matched to the job specification.
- Spread your search for work as wide as possible
- Make sure you understand what the advert is looking for
- Keep a record of any jobs you apply for and the responses you receive
- Check websites, newspapers, Job Centre Plus and Recruitment Agencies
- Use Social Media (be aware of your online presence. Over 80% of employers have checked up on applicants)
- Speak to relatives and friends as many jobs are not advertised externally
iCould – Uses the power of personal stories to inform young people’s career choices.
Find a job – Service to search and apply for jobs.
Indeed – Job site.
Start – Parental engagement in careers advice.
Yorkshire Graduate – Connects graduates and employers across the Yorkshire region.
Reed.co.uk – Recruitment website
Jobsite.co.uk – Hiring platform.
Careerbuilder.co.uk – Space that helps employers find, hire and manage great people.
What is Self-employment?
Self-employment means being your own boss and earning income from a trade or business.
Advantages of self-employment:
- Flexibility – Decide on your own working hours
- Independence – Freedom in making decisions and trialling new ideas
- Salary – Earning potential is much higher
- Being your own boss – making your own decisions
Disadvantages of self-employment:
- Benefits – No sick pay, holiday pay or any other employee benefits
- Finances – Lack of job security as income can be irregular and unpredictable
- Hours – Your working day may be longer than a typical employee’s
- Pressure – Success or failure is down to you, which can increase stress levels
- Responsibility – Increased responsibility of tax, accounts and stock
The Princes Trust
Helping young people aged 18-30 to turn ideas into a business reality through the Enterprise Programme. Click here to find out more.
Career ManagementLearn how to apply for jobs, gain experience and build a long term career
What is a CV?
A Curriculum Vitae is a written overview of your education, work experience and skills. You send your CV to prospective employers when looking for a job. This helps employers decide whether you are right for the job.
Tips to Help Your CV Stand out:
- Always check for spellings and grammar before sending your CV to a potential employer.
- Ensure your CV suits the requirements of the job that you are applying for.
- Your CV should contain details about your skills, qualities, education and any previous work experience/volunteering.
- Try to keep your CV to two sides of A4 paper; employers prefer bullet points of information rather than reading lengthy paragraphs.
- Always tell the truth about your skills and experience.
- Using power words will help make your CV stand out and the personal profile will grab the employer’s attention.
What is a Cover Letter?
A Cover Letter is a document sent with a CV to prospective employers. This usually appears as the front cover of a CV, specifically discussing the job you’re applying for.
This is where you can highlight all of the areas you think would make you perfect for the role.
What is Volunteering?
Supporting local charities, businesses and vulnerable people in your spare time. A volunteer isn’t paid for their work however will gain employability skills and valuable workplace experiences.
Benefits of volunteering:
- Improve your CV
- Gain employability skills
- Personal development
- Improved confidence
- Training and support
- Meet new people
- Helps with UCAS personal statement
- Work in an industry that interests you
Employer Psychometric Tests: What to Expect
These days, it’s increasingly common to find that you are asked to participate in some form of psychometric test as part of a recruitment process.
This is because recruitment can be costly for businesses, and employers need to feel confident that they are choosing the right candidate who will fit seamlessly into their existing teams.
Psychometric tests are designed to assess your intelligence, check your skills and help you learn more about your personality.
It’s a detailed process that enables an employer to learn more about who you are as a person and find out how you work, what your motivations are and if you have any significant risk factors.
You may wish to think about a psychometric test as an analytical way for employers to ensure that you are a perfect match.
With data analytics, employers can create a position for you that works to your strengths, making the world of work far more enjoyable.
Why do employers use psychometric tests?
Depending on the type of test you are asked to take, a psychometric test may:
- Assess your skills and capabilities
- Provide an insight into your aptitude for the job role
- Help employers to understand who you are and what your personality type is
- Identify your strengths and weaknesses
There are a myriad of reasons why an employer may choose to implement psychometric testing.
They may be nervous about making a final hiring decision. They may need someone who can immediately hit the ground running. They may be looking for a specific skill set. Or they may require testing to make predictions of how you work.
Additionally, psychometric tests are hugely influential in removing any unconscious bias from the recruitment process.
They allow a standardised way to directly compare candidates, enabling employers to make an informed and fair decision.
The different types of psychometric tests
The accessibility of psychometric tests means that it’s now easier than ever for employers to incorporate psychometric testing into their recruitment campaigns.
They are also far more affordable, which means that it’s not just the large, global corporations that use these tests.
Many smaller firms are now investing heavily in psychometric tests because they need to return on their recruitment investment quickly.
As psychometric tests have become more mainstream, new variations of the tests have emerged.
For example, you may be asked to complete an aptitude test to confirm if you have the right skills for the role.
Or you may be asked to participate in a behavioural assessment, so an employer can understand how you react to different situations.
Some employers may lean towards one style over another; others may employ a combination of the two.
To help you understand what to expect from a psychometric test, here’s a brief overview of the different types available.
Aptitude tests are about testing your cognitive capabilities.
Employers will have reviewed your CV and cover letter to determine what skills and experience you have, but these tests will delve deeper into your abilities.
There are many different aptitude tests available, from numerical and verbal to abstract reasoning and spatial awareness.
The choice of test will depend on the type of job that you are applying for.
Typically, you can expect to be presented with a series of multiple-choice questions. In addition, you will be expected to complete these questions within a specific time frame.
- Numerical reasoning tests – These are designed to assess your basic arithmetic skills and simple maths calculations. The level of complexity will depend on the role that you are applying for.
- Verbal reasoning tests -If you are asked to participate in a verbal reasoning test, employers will be looking to test your vocabulary, grammar and reading comprehension. It’s a way of testing whether you can understand different concepts and identify when words or phrasing may change depending on the context.
- Abstract reasoning tests – Abstract reasoning is a way for employers to see how a candidate takes in new information and can spot patterns. Employers rely on abstract reasoning tests to identify the best candidates for senior positions – it’s a way of assessing whether those candidates are good at problem-solving or have data analytical skills. They are often a good indicator of general intelligence.
- Logical reasoning tests -Within these assessments, employers will be looking to establish whether you can find the answer from the information provided. It’s about spotting patterns or number sequences and how you use logical thinking to find a solution. Logical reasoning tests are standard within financing, accounting or professional services job roles.
Behavioural tests look at a candidate’s personality and how well they will fit into the existing team.
They aim to find out what motivates you, how you react to pressure or stressful situations, and whether your personality may be particularly suited to specific job roles.
- Behavioural tests – Behaviour can change according to who you work with. These tests will see how you behave at work and how you interact with other people. It can allow an employer to understand your strengths and weaknesses and make predictions on how professional you may be in the workplace.
- Personality tests – Employers use personality tests to predict how you will relate to others and your general working style, to see if you are a good fit for the role and the team.
- Situational judgement tests (SJT) -The purpose of the SJT is to analyse how you are likely to behave in certain work-based situations. You will be asked specific questions that replicate the workplace, to test whether you respond in ways that align with the corporate culture.
- Leadership skills tests – Some people are natural leaders, while others have to learn the skills required to lead a team. These tests will predict whether you could make a good leader, and if so, what your strengths and weaknesses could be. It’s an effective way for employers to predict a candidate’s future career potential.
How to pass employer’s psychometric tests
Now you know what to expect from a psychometric test, it’s essential to consider what you need to do to maximise your chances of success.
We recommend that you take the time to understand more about the different types of psychometric tests and use online practice sessions to understand the question structure.
There are no right or wrong answers in some psychometric assessments (such as personality or behavioural tests). However, aptitude tests will be testing to see that you know how to undertake basic calculations or have a basic grasp of spelling or grammar, and these will require practice and further study.
The more time you spend acquainting yourself with the question style, the easier you will find it on testing day.
Different test providers have very distinct types of questioning, so it may be prudent to ask the recruiter to confirm the test provider in advance.
Once you’re aware of the type of test you will be asked to participate in, it’s often beneficial to create a study schedule.
By taking the time to brush up on basic maths or grammar skills, you can improve your chance of achieving a higher score.
As we mentioned, there are many practice psychometric tests that you can undertake online. These are valuable aids and can give you details of what to expect on test day.
As you practise the tests, try to time yourself to see how long you have to answer each question and to assess the speed at which you must answer. Often aptitude tests have strict time limits to test how the candidate does under pressure and the only way to get good at this is to practise.
Personality and behavioural tests require a different type of preparation. It is good to take steps to know yourself better before answering these sorts of questions, but it is also prudent to think about the company that you wish to work for.
Try to research their corporate values and what they stand for as well as the key competencies that the role requires. This will help you identify what strengths you need to highlight within your test.
Finally, as with any other exam, make sure that you feel calm and collected when test day comes.
Try to ensure that you’ve had a good night’s sleep the night before and that you are hydrated and have eaten something. You don’t want to be easily distracted – you want to focus entirely on the test questions.
This is a guest blog, written by Amy Dawson at WikiJobs.