How do I choose a career

By Jean Stewart,2014-05-06 04:56
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How do I choose a career

    13+ Subjects and Jobs Factsheet

Is everyone asking what job you are going to do in the future and you don’t

    have a clue? Read more to find out how to start choosing your career and

    discover if any jobs require you to have taken a specific subject at GCSE level.

I like a particular subject - could I use this as a starting point

    to find out about jobs/careers that might interest me?

If you really enjoy a particular subject this can be a brilliant starting point for

    finding out about careers that could interest you.

You can use your free copy of the national Connexions magazine 'Which Way

    Now?' to get started. This magazine has a subject file that lists some career

    suggestions for each subject. You can read it on the web by going to or ring 0845 602 2260 to ask for

    your free copy.

There's also more information about subject and career choices on the

    Connexions Herefordshire and Worcestershire website www.connexions-

Why not check out our subject and job ideas pages to find out more? also has links to fast tomato, e-clips and jobs4u

Where can I find out more?

    • There's loads of information in your school's Careers library or you can pop

    in to your local Connexions Centre.

• If you want to use the internet but don't have access at home - you can use

    it for free at your local public library or Connexions Centre.

More brilliant starting points include:

    • 'The jobs4u careers database' on the web. You'll be able to check out

    detailed information about a range of courses and discover just what subjects

    and qualifications you'll need. Check it out at www.connexions-

    • Your local Connexions website This site's got

    information about how to choose your options and careers, plus links to lots of

    other useful sites.

I've no idea what career I want to do in the future - don't I

    need to know before I choose my subjects?

The most important reason to choose a subject is that you enjoy it and are

    likely to do well at it.


If the subject/course is:

    vocational - about a job, for example an NVQ in Food Preparation or applied - about a broad job family, for example a Foundation Diploma in construction and the built environment or creative and media, this can be an

    opportunity to find out more about a job or a group of jobs. However, you will

    still be doing a range of other core subjects as well - English, maths, IT and

    science. These core subjects qualify you for entry to the majority of jobs.

When applied courses take up all your option choices, for example the new

    Diploma, don't worry, as all the Diplomas are as broad based as possible to

    keep your options open. Although they are applied to a broad job sector area

    they also cover the key subjects - English, maths and ICT - and you will be

    able to add in other essential subjects at KS4 like science. This means that

    you could change direction if you discover that this applied sector isn't the one

    you want to work in once you are qualified.

Will I need specific subjects for the job I want to do?

    For most jobs you just need a number of general GCSEs or applied or work-

    based equivalent qualifications, but for a few jobs you will need specific

    subjects at GCSE or a higher level.

Did you know, English is the most commonly asked for GCSE for courses,

    training, and jobs, closely followed by maths and then by science. What types of jobs may ask for specific subjects as entry requirements?

Art and Design based jobs such as fine artist, graphic designer, sculptor,

    illustrator, animator, or wallpaper designer usually require you to take an art or

    design based course at a high level. For higher level art and design courses

    you'll need a portfolio of work, and evidence of drawing skills. Taking a GCSE

    art and design course, or a Foundation or Higher Diploma in Creative and

    Media, can be a useful way of starting to develop both your portfolio and your

    drawing skills - as art and design course admission tutors like to see both your

    artistic/design abilities and also how your skills have developed over time.

Engineering and Technology professional level jobs such as civil engineer,

    architectural technologist, or structural engineer usually require you to have

    taken maths, plus physics or an equivalent construction or engineering

    Diploma, at a higher level (Level 3). Design and technology at GCSE, or a

    Foundation or Higher Diploma in Engineering or Construction and the Built

    Environment, can also be a useful subject to demonstrate to

    employers/universities your technical ability and interest.

    Language based jobs such as translator, interpreter, or European lawyer, usually require you to have studied two languages at GCSE. This is to give

    you a broad base to go on and do the higher level language study you'll need

    for these competitive jobs.


Practical based jobs such as carpenter, chef, hairdresser, and builder usually

    require evidence of practical ability. It's a good idea to choose a subject to

    demonstrate this; for example food technology if you're keen to be a chef, or

    art/design if you're keen to be a hairdresser, or the Foundation or Higher

    Diploma in Construction and Design if you're keen to go into building.

    Sometimes the requirement may be for you to have taken the subject, and

    shown interest, rather than achieved a particular grade or level.

Scientific jobs such as medical doctor, vet and biochemist often require

    specific sciences - for example chemistry plus one other, preferably biology,

    for medicine; chemistry, biology and physics for some veterinary science


Make sure when you find out more about interesting jobs, that you check to

    see if you will need specific subjects and/or grades at GCSE, A/AS or Degree


Thinking about higher education? Check out what subjects you need for

    courses on

     How can I make sure that the jobs I'm interested in are going

    to be available when I qualify?

It's difficult when you're planning ahead to make sure that the jobs you are

    interested in have a future. It's also possible that there may be new jobs out

    there by the time you qualify that haven't yet been developed. A good

    example of this is the job of Home Inspector - this was a job that was created

    by new Government Legislation about buying and selling houses. The job

    didn't exist until it was needed by the market. Predicting the future isn't easy,

    but you can help yourself by finding out as much as you can, and the best

    way to do this is to use Labour Market Information.

Labour Market Information - often talked about as LMI - is information all

    about the number of job vacancies out there, as well as the skills and

    qualifications asked for by employers, and how this matches with the number

    of suitably qualified people available to fill these vacancies. Labour markets

    operate at local, regional, national and international levels.

When you find out about jobs, look for information about the number of

    vacancies and where in the UK the jobs are based.

Why use LMI?

    It's not a good idea in this rapidly changing world simply to hope that the job of

    your dreams will still be there when you qualify.

    When making decisions about your career, your future, your choices, you

    need to think about issues like:

    • the job vacancy situation

    • any predictions about the job or job sector - will it decline or grow in the

    future ?

    • what skills you'll need, if you want to future-proof your earnings.


Labour Market Information

     Do you want to know more about:

    • Labour market information in industry sectors - which jobs are growing and which are declining?

    • Are there any new jobs emerging in a sector? • What the local, regional or national picture is? • Will you need to travel to find a job you're interested in? • What skills you'll need to work in an industry?

    • How much you'd earn?

Then why not check out the Connexions Herefordshire and Worcestershire

    website’s world of work pages?

You can find out about 6 industry sectors:

    • Construction and the Built Environment

    • Creative and Media

    • Engineering

     Information and Communication Technology

    • Science

    • Society, Health and Development.

    Just go to the 13-19 Home Page on Then click on the working zone and select world of work from the left hand menu.

    Copyright Connexions Herefordshire and Worcestershire 2006 revised August 2009


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