Many students choose courses at FE Colleges because they have long-term career goals, and want to gain the relevant qualifications to pursue a particular job. In fact, recent research showed the second biggest reason students chose to study a vocational course at an FE college was because they had a definite future career in mind and wanted to do the relevant qualifications.1
How do students decide what the best course for them is?
With responsibility for careers advice now falling to individual schools, but with no additional funding to deliver it, many students are receiving inadequate guidance when it comes to making choices about their education. In 2013, Ofsted reported that “only one in five schools were effective in ensuring that all students were receiving the level of information they needed.” For FE Colleges offering vocational courses, the situation becomes worse – Ofsted found that vocational training and apprenticeships were rarely promoted effectively, especially in schools with sixth forms.2
Other influencers, parents in particular, are increasingly confused about the vocational options open to students age 16+, with 49% admitting that they ‘do not fully understand what educational alternatives are available outside of GCSE, A-Level and university’.3
For many FE Colleges, potential students are looking at their courses without independent, informed support from school career guidance services or parents.
FE College prospectuses and websites contain huge amounts of information about courses, but because of the way it is structured, it is often hard for students to know where to begin.