Parents’ Area
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Parents’ Area

As a parent or carer, the advice and guidance you provide throughout their educational journey will have a significant impact on their long-term future.


The best way to predict the future is to create it.

Abraham Lincoln

In recent years, the higher education landscape has changed with more young people heading off to university or college than ever before. However, many parents and carers feel unsure if this is the right pathway for their child, and find the whole topic of higher education quite daunting.

Familiarising yourself with the information on this site and in our Higher Education guide will get you up to speed wherever your child is on their journey. This will enable you to provide the right support at the right time, ensuring your child is well placed to make informed decisions about their future.

Click here to sign up to the Next Steps South West, Parent and Carer Bulletin, to keep up to date with the latest information about higher education and how to support your child through the process. For previous bulletins, click here.

Changing times

Today’s world is very different from what it was ten or twenty years ago, and it will continue to change. Jobs that previously existed have disappeared and, in many cases, been replaced. Changes in technology have created new industries and different methods of doing things, and the concept of a job for life has long gone for most of us. In fact, many young people today will be employed in jobs in the future that don’t even exist yet.

This leaves us in a situation where individuals will need to be adaptable and resilient to change and is part of the reason why so many young people choose higher education – to develop the skills that enable these abilities.

How this site can help you

Planning any journey is always going to be difficult if you’re not sure of the destination. The same can be said when planning for the future. For the few young people that know where they want to end up, the planning is logical; for those that don’t, it’s not.

One thing that can really help a young person to plan and focus while at school or college is to encourage them to learn as much as possible about the diverse range of careers that exist. The ‘Find Your Career section of this site can be a great place to start!

Find your career

The reality of what many jobs entail on a day-to-day basis is often very different from what we imagine. This is why it’s important to find out what’s really involved, what skills are required, and what are the working conditions and environment like. Does the job involve getting out and about in the local area, or travelling nationally or abroad? Is it office or factory-based? How would the job role change after a few years of experience has been gained?

It can take time to create a shortlist of possible careers – and it’s never too early or late to start – but once a few have been highlighted, it’s then possible to see what qualifications are needed to enter those professions.

For example, if a young person found the job of a land surveyor interesting, they would see that a ‘relevant’ degree is required. In a situation like this, A-levels (or equivalent) would be needed in order to progress on to higher education, so you would be asking questions like ‘What degrees are relevant to land surveying and what A-levels might serve as a good foundation?’.

Depending on the age of the young person, they could apply the same principles to choosing their GCSEs, though don’t fret if they haven’t identified any possible careers at that stage of their journey – they won’t be alone!

If it looks likely that a qualification, such as a degree, is going to be required, and you’d like to find out more about how the higher education system works, these additional sections will help you develop the knowledge you’ll need in order to support your child.


This area of the site addresses the questions and concerns that we frequently come across when working with young people, their teachers, and their parents and carers.

Sites we like

There are lots of websites that inspire young people to achieve their potential. Here, we’ve highlighted a few of the ones which we think do it really well.

Be Inspired

We can learn a lot from people who have been there and done that. This section hosts videos of real people talking about their own journeys through higher education and beyond.

Video: The data we collect and how we use it. 

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