Parents and Carers

Making the right choice

Deciding on career and course options can be a confusing time for your child but there are lots of resources and advice available to help you support your child to make the right choice.

Take the opportunity to talk to your child and do some research together on the courses and career pathways they are interested in. A good place to start is My World of Work, the online careers and guidance service developed by Skills Development Scotland. They have a dedicated section for parents which can help you and your child find out where their skills and interests lie and which routes they might wish to explore.

Visit career fairs and open days and speak to college and university staff about the courses on offer. This will give you and your child an idea of the qualifications they will require (and will achieve along the way) and how they can progress from school to college, university, training and employment.

The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework has produced a useful chart to help understand qualification levels and their equivalents and the different pathways that can be followed.

Why choose a college course?

The Scottish Government has identified sectors in which there is a recognised skills shortage and they have set ambitious targets to Develop the Young Workforce and to bridge the gap between education and employment. This means schools, colleges and industry working together and there are an increasing number of options available for pupils in S3-S6.

Choosing to study on a college course can have many benefits for your child. They will:

  • have the opportunity to sample college life and make informed decisions about their future
  • gain valuable, real-world life experience
  • learn new skills that will boost their confidence and encourage them to study independently
  • attain qualifications which are recognised by universities and industry
  • improve their application to college or university by demonstrating a range of additional skills and experiences
  • access courses that offer a progression route to degree level and beyond
  • have the opportunity to progress onto further training and employment, for example a Modern Apprenticeship
  • have taken the first steps into further education and employment.

How does the school/college partnership work?

The courses offered by West Highland College UHI are delivered in a number of ways, dependent on which course your child wishes to study. This can include:

  • attending college one day a week to study skills-based qualifications such as construction,  and fashion and textiles, making use of specialist facilities and industry expertise
  • studying a subject as part of the timetabled school options using Google Hangouts to link with pupils in other schools and with a lecturer in attendance
  • attending local college centres to study subjects such as Higher Psychology in a ‘virtual class’ using video conference technology
  • engaging with the school, college and community organisations to gain hands on experience
  • studying a  Foundation Apprenticeship for up to 2 years combining school learning, college learning and work experience.

Next steps

If your child is interested in studying a college course as part of the senior phase of the Curriculum for Excellence, encourage them to speak to teachers and guidance staff or visit your local college centre to find out more.

Once they are ready to apply they will be asked to apply online with the approval of their guidance teacher. They will be invited to attend an interview in school and they will then be informed by letter whether they have been successful in gaining a place.

Places are limited so it is advisable to submit an application as early as possible.