Careers and Development

A Leap into the Future for years 12 to 13

Welcome to Leap into Future Careers and Development Toolkit.

The Leap into the Future toolkit is designed to

Instil careers and employability values into young people

Enable young people to make positive choices

Help young people as they explore subject, training, education or employment choices.

Help parents and carers looking for guidance on how to help their children and young people at home.

Support Positive Futures Mentors as they advise and guide children and young people through subject, careers and employability choices

In addition to the Leap into the Future Toolkit we have:

Making an Early Start
(Years 7 to 9)

Positive Choices
(Years 10 and 11)

Guidance for Parents and Carers

Guidance for Coaches and Mentors

Each section of the toolkit contains useful tips and strategies, resources, contacts and information to help raise educational and career aspirations.

You can use the toolkit together with any information, research, support provided by your school, careers guidance teams and teachers.

For further information about this toolkit or to ask about other support opportunities please contact

An introduction video to our toolkit


The Leap into the Future Toolkit is designed to support young people in Years 12 and 13 doing

their A’ Levels, vocational or practical courses such as BTEC, NVQs and who are considering next steps.


There are tips, tools and questions to guide, inform and support young people, including links to useful sites and resources.

Before we go any further, please check out these two key pieces of information:

Understanding the different entry requirements.

You can also visit for more information:

Level 1

GCSEs, NVQs/VQs, awards/certificates/diplomas. Vocational and work-related qualifications may be studied full or part-time inschools and colleges from the age of 14. They are offered at levels 1 to 4 and are usually ‘BTECs’, ‘Cambridge Technical’ or ‘City and Guilds’qualifications. Broad range of subjects on offer eg engineering, artand design,construction, health and social care, business, IT and
leisure. Often course work based however changes mean that somecourses now include exams or practical assessments.

Level 2

GCSEs, NVQs/VQs, awards/certificates/diplomas

Level 3

 A levels, T levels, NVQs/VQs, awards/certificates/diplomas

and other qualifications

4 to 6

Higher education – certificates/diplomas, NVQs/VQs, foundation degrees, degrees

7 to 8

Postgraduate and professional – Masters, PhD

Foundation Degree

A foundation degree is a combined academic and vocational qualification in higher education, equivalent to two thirds of an honours bachelor’s degree. It is often pursued when you do not know what you want to do immediately after A levels.

Let’s get Started

You are in Year 12 or 13, further education college or training setting pursuing a vocational courseeg BTEC or NVQ or learning a trade or skill.

You have chosen specific subjects or skills to study/develop in detail and working hard to achievethe grades you need to help you progress your career goals. Some of you already know what you want to do next, for example:

There may be some of you who do not know what they would like to do after their GCSE exams.

What you must remember is that though some young people start off with one career goal, this may change at some point in their life. Some of you may go through several careers, training, education or employment opportunities before settling on what you actually want to do….

So do not worry if you are unsure about the next steps for you. With the right advice, guidance and support you will be able to make an informed decision.

Your priority at this stage is to work very hard to get the qualifications you need to progress your future goals. This toolkit offers helpful tips and ideas to help you develop your confidence in the subjects you are studying. It also empowers you to do well.

Remember there will be opportunities to study different subjects or change your career goals in future. Knowing how to, developing the confidence and ability make the changes and improvements you desire will help you to succeed.


Case Study

Daniel is doing History, Geography and Art A Levels.

He has been considering a range of careers since Year 13. He has spoken to a number of people as well as online research about the following careers which interest him, he also does very well in the subjects he chose:

One of the key drivers for Daniel is financial stability. He wants to earn a good level of incomeso he can live comfortably.

The research he has done so far shows that none of the careers he is thinking of will givehim the type of money he wants.

Become an actor potentially would, but there are so many out of work actors. It is also a hard industry to crack and most importantly due to Covid-19 the arts and creative sector has been brought to its knees.Many artists are struggling.

Most of the professional areas he has chosen requires him to go into Higher Education, something he is not keen on doing. This is because he has lost interest in doing written, he would rather do something practical.

At the end of his research which involved talking to people in those professional areas, his teachers, careers coach and doing some online research on University websites/UCAS which connects people to University, post Uni studies including teacher training, apprenticeships & internships.

He settles on finance and accountancy because:

a) he will earn whilst learning and also pursue a vocational qualification in Accountancy

b) he got good grades in Maths but is not doing a business studies or finance A Level. He wants to learn the basics first through an apprenticeship

c) his research indicated the world of possibilities after qualifying as an accountant – investment banking, stock exchange, his own practice, banking, treasury and more

Let’s do an exercise

Looking at the above case study, identify some of the things Daniel did and considered which will be useful in any research you do?

For example:




Where can you do your research?

School, college or training provider’s brochure – can contain useful information about different career routes after further education.

Attend careers fairs

Attend University open days (on and offline) Online – see our resources section for links to useful sites which give young people a lot of information about subject and career options.

For example, if you want to be a Vet you might need a degree (BSc) in Veterinary Medicine. You can start by looking at UCAS pages – for this degree, to see what A-Levels, Highers or equivalent are needed for a place on the course. This gives you a good indication of the subjects you can choose early on to help you.

Doing your research means you can also decide if practical based subjects suit you better than exams or theory-based subjects.

Talk to other young people in years 12 and 13 who are doing the subjects you like.

Some of the questions you can ask your peers: 

Can you think of other questions you would like to ask your peers? Write them down here….

  1. …              

Speak to your teachers, they will have very helpful advice to guide the decisions you make about your future careers.

You can ask them

Can you think of other questions or ideas to present to your teachers? Write them down here….


  1. …              

Speak to family and friends. There may be people amongst them who have studied those subjects in school or whose careers have been informed by the subjects they studied in school.

What type of questions will you ask? Check out the bank of questions above, you may be able to use some of them when speaking to family and friends

Questions you can ask family and friends:

Can you think of other questions you would like to ask your peers? Write them down here….

  1. …              

These early investments help build the foundations for a successful future.

A few important things to remember

Some useful tips when building your CV

CV Sections

The following are key sections to include in your CV. Make sure you build relevant content under each section.

Personal details/header: These are standard and required by all employers, but note that you should not include your date of birth, marital status or gender. The essentials to include are your name, address, email address and contact number

Personal profile: This is an optional section of a graduate CV template which can be used to show the employer you are focused and determined to pursue a career in their field. It should appear at the beginning of your CV, be no longer than 2-4 sentences and give an overview of your current situation e.g. “I am looking for work experience in …”

Your education: Write in reverse chronological order, so start with your university degree. This should be a snapshot of you as an academic e.g. your qualifications

Work experience: Include voluntary work and summer placements, extra-curricular activities…

Interests and activities: Write about you as a person, outside of work, hobbies, sports teams, societies/clubs, travel interests

References: Two references usually one academic and the other you’re your school, work experience or priest…

Benefits of starting early

But what do you do if?

Not everyone is as well organised and confident as Daniel.

At an early age, we are not expecting all young people in Years 12 and 13 to know exactly what they want to do when they are older! You may find yourself in a position where you have to change careers several times before settling on the one thing which excites and motivates

 you, or rewards your financially.

The key thing you need to do is to