Careers and Development

Positive Choices for Years 10 - 11

Welcome to Positive Futures Careers and Development Toolkit.

This 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 Positive Choices Toolkit there are four others in this series:

Making an Early Start
(Years 7 to 9)

A Leap into the Future
(Years 12 and 13)

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 Positive Choices Toolkit is designed to support young people in Years 10 and 11 as they work towards their GCSEs and start to think about career options beyond Year 11.

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

You are in Year 10 or 11, you have chosen your subjects already, and studying them in detail.

This toolkit provides 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.


In Year 10 and 11 some of you may have ideas about what you would like to do when you
complete your GCSE exams.

Check out these helpful links. They can inform the next steps you make:

The Youth Employment UK website, from where you can learn more about choices and next
steps for young people:

Financial Support for Students:

National Careers Service helpline for teenagers:

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

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 or
employment opportunities before settling on what they 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 GCSE grades you want. Securing good
grades will open up a world of possibilities.

Before you we go any further……

Learn more about the GCSE Grading Scheme here, courtesy of the BBC 

The numerical grading was phased over four years, starting with the core
compulsory subjects – maths and English 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.

And read the ‘Understanding the different entry requirements’ below .

This will help you understand the journey or pathway to a successful career choice or goal.

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.

Practical things you can do to inform your career goals and plans after GCSE

Work hard to get the desired GCSE grades

 Important Note:

Research into

Case Study 1

Edith wants to study Architecture in University but is not studying any Arts based subjects at GCSE – mainly
sciences. What she does not know is that some VFX and digital art degrees want you to have taken Art and Maths. 

Choosing to not take art can cause problems later at Sixth form or College (if there is an interest in these areas).

Also, if you do not pick an art related subject at this time then, if at A Levels you wish to study this to a higher level
(without a GCSE as a foundation) you may need to study at college at a lower level first.

Doing the timely research, ideally when you are in year 8 and 9, can help with your career goals.

Case Study 2

Arkan is in Year 10. He aspires to do animation or 3D Modelling.

The subjects he chose for GCSE were informed by research he did in Year 9, namely Art, IT and Design and Tech.
These are subjects he enjoys, excels in and feels will help him achieve his career goal.

As part of the research

3D modelling blends advanced technology with creative thinking and problem-solving skills in a fast-paced and detail-oriented environment. From television commercials and video games to blockbuster Hollywood films. 

Advanced skills with 3D modelling tools and software and familiarity with sculpting concepts which you can get through a Degree including Foundation Degree in graphic design, art or a related subject or Apprenticeship (studios offer) – animation, graphics design, computer games development, visual effects.

Let’s do an exercise with Case Study 2

Looking Case study 2, identify some of the things Arkan did which could help with your own research?

For example

Helpful Links

Check out this link:

Subjects you may do:

UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) tariff points to see how many tariff points you need in order to enter the University of your choice.

UCAS has its own calculator here – you can use the drop-down boxes to input your qualifications and grades, and your 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

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 10 and 11 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.

Some of the questions you can ask your teachers

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.

Some of the 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. …              

Benefits of starting early

But what do you do if?

Not everyone is as well organised and confident as Arkan.

At an early age, we are not expecting all young people in Years 10 and 11 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

Let us not forget about Work Experience

Depending on your school you may need to do a Work Placement in Year 9, or in Year 10.

A work placement is a period of supervised work, where you have the opportunity to experience working in a role within an organisation.

Remember that employers do not just want you to have the relevant qualifications, they also want to know that you have some work experience.

How do you find a work placement opportunity?

Routes to finding a work placement opportunity

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… 

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…

Case Study 3

If you are applying for a clerical role, the organisation may expect you to have some basic IT skills, the ability to work in a team, to be well organised, and a good communicator. They may also expect you to e a self-starter.
Questions they may ask

Let’s do an exercise

you come up with other questions they are likely to ask at interview, based on the role you are applying for or
department you will be working in? 

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

  1. …              

Practical things to note when applying for a work placement opportunity. 

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:

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: