Careers Information for Parents and Carers

This section of the Castle Mead Academy website is aimed at helping parents and carers source information to help support young people in their future decisions.  Please contact Diana Walker, Careers Leader on 0116 214 3150 or via [email protected] for more information or support.

Talking Futures

When trying to help your child to navigate the world of careers, it can seem tricky! When it comes to education and careers, parents and carers are a big influence in young people’s lives.  The Talking Futures website has been designed to help.  Talking Futures is a resource created to help parents and carers to have informed and constructive conversations with young people about the different training and education pathways available.

What happens when my child leaves Castle Mead Academy? 

It is compulsory for young people to be in education or training until the age of 18.  Scholars can choose options from:

  • a full-time course at a college studying for A levels, a T level or a vocational course
  • learning while they earn on an apprenticeship, traineeship or study programme
  • spending 20 hours or more a week working or volunteering, while in part-time education or training.

The Get the Jump Skills for Life page on the National Careers Service website sets out the different routes.

Four main post 16 pathways

A levels – Advanced level qualifications (known as A levels) are subject-based qualifications that can lead to university, further study, an apprenticeship or work. You usually study A levels over two years and most students choose three subjects to study. A levels are usually assessed by a series of examinations.

Apprenticeships – An apprenticeship is a paid job where the employee learns and gains valuable experiences. Alongside on-the-job training, apprentices spend at least 20% of their working hours completing classroom-based learning with a college, university or training provider which leads to a nationally recognised qualification.

BTECs (vocational) – BTEC stands for the Business and Technology Education Council. BTECs are specialist work-related qualifications. BTECs are designed for young people interested in a particular sector or industry but who are not yet sure what job they’d like to do. They combine practical learning with subject and theory content. There are over 2,000 BTEC qualifications across 16 sectors – they are available from entry level through to professional qualifications at level 7 (equivalent to postgraduate study).

T levels – T levels are new two-year courses equivalent to three A levels. They launched in September 2020 to students in England.  Leading businesses and employers helped design T Levels to help to ensure that the content meets the needs of industry and prepares students for work. T-Levels offer students a mixture of classroom learning and ‘on-the-job’ experience; this will include a 45-day work placement, so T levels will be more suited to students who know what occupation or industry they want to move into. What are T Levels video – GOV.UK (

A highlight of the CMA scholar journey is the opportunity to participate in a one-week work experience placement in the last week of April.  Work experience provides a taste of the working world, and an opportunity for scholars to improve essential transferable employability skills such as communication, time management, teamwork, resilience, confidence and problem solving.  Research shows that employers look for prospective employees to have completed work experience. Visit the work experience page for more information.

At the start of year 11, scholars will be provided with access to Positive Steps @16 (PS16).  PS16 is an online prospectus and application system for young people to apply to school sixth forms, colleges and training providers. Anyone can browse the prospectus to find out more about courses and opportunities, but to make an application you will need your log in details. Visit the PS16 page for more information.

Become an apprentice (
Find out how to become an apprentice, what apprenticeships are available, which employers offer them and information about starting your apprenticeship.
Find an apprenticeship (
Search and apply for an apprenticeship in England by key word, location etc and find out more about the opportunities available to you.
Amazing Apprenticeships
Learn more about the benefits of apprenticeships and tackle misconceptions  

Useful documents

Scholars who have a vision of where they want to be in the future may find it easier to plan their next steps more easily.  To help scholars and parents investigate job roles and sectors, we would suggest looking at a number of these websites.

  • National Careers Service – Explore careers – Choose from over 800 career profiles to discover what a job involves.
  • BBC Bitesize Careers – Information about jobs, sectors, careers, study options and skills.
  • Prospects – Find out about jobs sectors and jobs roles.
  • Start – Explore careers, find out about jobs sectors, jobs roles, study and course options.
  • icould – Watch over 1000 videos of people talking about their careers – explaining their job role, career path, and how different factors have shaped their direction.
  • Leicester Employment Hub – Find out about vacancies with employers committed to employing people who have additional needs and/or a disability.
  • LLEP World of Work – Watch videos about key local industries.
With developments in technology there are now numerous jobs that did not exist 10 years ago.  It is important to keep up to date with what is happening locally, nationally, and internationally.  Labour Market Information (LMI) is a useful tool to help research future jobs in the local area, understand the skills needed for certain roles and the demand for future employment. Visit the LMI page to find out more.