JTL Blog

Keeping your options open in the current Covid-19 crisis


The Coronavirus outbreak has already had a significant impact on the education system, something which is expected to continue into the next school term. Upon Government advice, schools have changed normal practices to help continue to support the children of critical and key workers, and consequentially, exams have been cancelled in an attempt to halt the spread of the virus and to give pupils, parents and teachers certainty in the current situation. 

If your child would have been preparing for their GCSE, AS and A Levels, EPQ and AEA examinations, and in turn planning for their futures, this news may well leave you feeling anything but certain. We caught up with JTL’s National Delivery Director, Judi Wheeler, to discuss the value of apprenticeships and explain why this pathway could be an excellent option for school leavers looking for their next steps in education.

Have you read through the advice available to you? 

JTL understands this will be an extremely difficult time for 2020 school leavers. These are extraordinary, unprecedented circumstances, and the Government is currently working with schools, sixth form colleges, and universities to do the best they can to help students prepare for – and progress, to the next stage of education. But what does that mean if your child hasn’t decided on what that stage should be yet?

The Government has currently adopted a calculated grade process which will consider a range of evidence including mock results, classwork and homework, to generate a grade they believe students would have achieved if teaching, learning and exams had happened as planned. Schools and colleges will be asked to send exam boards two pieces of evidence for each subject to standardise grades and ensure the system is as fair as possible. This is likely to include considering measures that reflect how much progress a student would have made at the university or college they would have been attending.

Ofqual has also issued guidance on arrangements for awarding GCSE, AS and A level grades in summer 2020. It has reassured students that results will not be delayed but still released on the original August dates, if not earlier, meaning making arrangements for higher education is still as important and time sensitive as it has been in previous years.

For the latest government guidelines in full, visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/gcses-as-and-a-level-awarding-summer-2020

Under pressure to make the grade?

As a leading training provider, JTL understands that the thought of your child’s future being decided on by factors out of their control can be daunting for both students and parents and guardians alike.

So how can JTL support? JTL delivers apprenticeship training in the building services engineering sector, which forms part of the construction industry. Apprenticeships have become a popular choice for those who want to gain industry recognised qualifications and job specific skills, without the hefty debt of a student loan if attending university.

Applications for prospective JTL apprentices are open and remain unaffected by Covid-19. The process includes an online entry assessment, which if successful will lead to a telephone discussion with one of our team, both of which are designed to determine the capabilities of the applicant and obtain a clearer idea of their reasons for joining the course.

For more information on the application process, visit: jtltraining.com/apprenticeships/how-to-apply/how-does-it-work/

JTL’s main priority is to help you understand the different options that are available to school leavers particularly during the current situation, which may leave them feeling rushed into making life changing decisions.


An apprenticeship is not a lesser choice – just a different one

JTL trainees - Traineeships

As a parent or guardian, you want your child to get the best possible start in their career. That’s why, in a time full of uncertainty, we’re keen to talk about the certainty of the courses we offer, and in turn creating jobs which will continue to play an essential role in our economy.

A JTL apprenticeship means students will have to continue with some classroom-based learning to complete the theoretical side of the qualification, and to keep their maths and literacy skills up to date, so there’s no escaping the classroom altogether! With an apprenticeship they can still learn, but instead they will be taught skills that they can transfer into a life-long career, as well as acquiring employability skills which will set them up for life. But in terms of a career, your child could undertake an apprenticeship as an electrician or a plumber and one day become a technical representative, water regulations inspector, expert witness, trainer or building services engineering lecturer, for example.

Additionally, just as if your child attended sixth form or college, an apprenticeship leads to a Level 3 qualification which is comparable to A Levels, and as a result, it can then lead on to further qualifications. HNC courses are the equivalent of the first year of university, and HND and Foundation Degrees are the equivalent of years one and two of a degree. Many students opt to do these courses, which typically have lower entry requirements than university, and progress onto complete their degree via a top-up year at university.


Apprenticeships in the current climate 

Ultimately, apprenticeships give aspiring tradespeople a skill for life and an increased chance of securing a job in their chosen industry, which we understand is a much-needed reassurance. Your child will be a qualified electrician or plumber, however they don’t need to stop there, as in this industry there are always options for further development and career progression. For example, many of JTL’s electrical apprentices go on to graduate with a degree in electrical engineering, with the added advantage that their course has been sponsored by their employer, meaning that they are left free of significant university debt unlike so many other graduates.

Additionally, certain sectors will pay as much as £300 for the four days’ work the candidate will complete, with one day being spent at a JTL centre or partner college. There is also the opportunity for this to increase as the candidate widens their skillset to progress through the apprenticeship levels. Those who gain a higher-level apprenticeship could earn £150,000 more on average over their lifetime, compared to those with a level three qualification which is equivalent to two A Levels.


‘But my child has never shown interest in becoming a tradesperson’?

BAME Tradeperson boiler

You don’t need to be convinced your child wants to be a plumber or an electrician to consider a JTL apprenticeship. There are hundreds of options in a number of work-based skills across the construction sector, as well as care and sport related sectors, and office-based opportunities. One thing JTL apprenticeships have in common is they all lead to jobs that are essential to our economy, and jobs which will be desperately needed once this pandemic has passed and the threat of it on businesses is a distant memory.

For more information on how JTL can benefit and shape your child’s future, visit: jtltraining.com/apprenticeships/about-apprenticeships/information-for-parents


About the author:

Judi Wheeler

Judi Wheeler is JTL’s National Delivery Director.

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