Careers and Development

A Helping Hand and Guide for Parents and Carers

Welcome to our Careers and Development Toolkit.

The toolkit is designed for parents, carers and family members who want to help their children and young people make informed subject and career choices.

The toolkit can be used alongside other toolkits in this series, namely:

Making an Early Start
(Years 7 to 9)

Positive Choices
(Years 10 and 11)

A Leap into the future
(Years 12 and 13)

Guidance for Coaches and Mentors

Each section of the toolkits contains useful tips and strategies, resources, contacts and information to help raise educational and career aspirations. For further information about this toolkit or to ask about other support opportunities please contact

An introduction video to our toolkit


Most parents want their children to be successful, financially secure and to have a good quality of life.

How we help them to do this is important.

Some parents and carers take complete control of decisions relating to their children’s subject and career choices. This is often based on their own ideas of what is a good job or an ideal life, their life experiences or the desire to prevent their children from making the same mistakes they made.

Other parents prefer to be sounding boards, offering a listening ear without interfering.

Some encourage, signpost and work alongside their children. They learn about each other in the process including their strengths and weaknesses and how those can help the child to develop and thrive.

The question most parents and carers often ask is ‘how do I give my child the best advice and support they need to them make informed choices for the future’?
There is no right or wrong way to doing this.

What we do in this toolkit is to provide you with some tips, tools, resources and links to help you support your children in their subject and career choices.


Before we start, please look at Appendix 1. This will help you to understand the different entry requirements.

Appendix 2 also provides further information about the new GCSE grading system.

And you can find out about UCAS’s tariff points to see how many points your child may need in in order to enter the University of their choice.

UCAS has its own calculator here – you can also ask your child to use the drop-down boxes to input their qualifications and grades, and the total will automatically be calculated. There is also a full, in-depth guide to different qualifications here, and from Btecs to the International Baccalaureate.

However, UCAS also advises that not all qualifications attain points, so you shouldn’t worry if yours doesn’t feature in that guide – very few international qualifications are included, for example.

Let’s Get Started

At the end of Year 8, young people would have tested themselves against several subjects and interest areas.

Many will know what they like and do not like, and you will find that they do well in:

What we must not forget is that there are some subjects which are compulsory in secondary school. Maths and English are compulsory from Years 7 to 11.

If your child does not like some of these compulsory subjects, or that they are struggling in those subjects, you can help them by doing some of the following:

Practical things you can do to help your child make informed subject and career choices:

Once you have a named contact sit down with your child and discuss areas to cover including questions to ask.

Some of the questions you can ask family and friends

What other areas can you focus on or questions to ask?


  1. …              

Encourage them to attend job and career fairs in school and outside of school so they can talk to employers and ask as many questions as they can. Before visiting a career fair, sit down with your child and discuss some of the questions to ask employers. Why don’t you try it now?


  1. …              

Helping your child with their CV 

Some useful tips when helping your child with their CV for that all important work experience placement, volunteering opportunity, internship or apprenticeship.

Tips for writing a 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/employment 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…

The one thing you can do for your children is giving them the tools they need to make an informed decision. You can do this by:

Useful Resources

Subject Choices tool | My World of Work

Useful Links

Quizlet: (

Seneca Learning :

Freesciencelessons on Youtube: (

Physics and Maths Tutor: (

Sparknotes: (

Tutor2u: (

Fast Tomato: (

Mr Swift History on Youtube: (

UCAS Tariff

Pearson career choices:

MI5 careers:

Construction careers:

Psychology careers:

Ucas careers:

Skills assessment | National Careers Service

Prospects Career Planner :

SACU Career Quiz:

CITB – Go Construct:

NHS Find your career :

Cogent Career Choices:

WISE Campaign (Women into Science & Engineering) –My skills my life, try out the quizz:

Appendix 1

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.

Appendix 2

GCSE Grading System

The numerical grading was phased over four years, starting with the core compulsory subjects – maths and Englis`h GCSEs – in 2017. Most of the main subjects switched over in 2018, including the humanities, sciences and most modern languages. All remaining subjects such as Biblical Hebrew, Persian, Portuguese and Turkish switched to the new grading system in 2020. Explaining the new grades The 9-1 grading scheme was brought in alongside a new GCSE curriculum in England. The highest grade is 9, while 1 is the lowest, not including a U (ungraded). Three number grades – 9, 8 and 7 – correspond to the old-style top grades of A* and A – this is designed to give more differentiation at the top end