The current state of the world economy is pretty worrying for young people and parents alike. When you look at the rates of youth unemployment in places like mainland Europe there is a heart in mouth moment when you think ‘That could be my kid’. Perhaps your child is even thinking that themselves. It’s a bit of a worry, but what it really means is that qualifications are very important indeed.
There are degrees, if you’ll excuse the pun, of importance in qualifications. A university education is certainly valuable, but it’s not the be all and end all. Increasingly the qualifications one receives at school are more important to employers. After all, these provide the foundations of being well qualified and eligible for a job. An employer may look at the fact that you don’t have a university education and forgive it if you’re particularly gifted – especially in an entry level job.
However, there is often a cut-off when it comes to candidates not having GCSE or A-Level qualifications (or their equivalents). What this illustrates to an employer is that a candidate doesn’t have the basic skills. How could an employer take on anyone who doesn’t know the basics? It’s much easier to teach the advanced level skills if the basic foundations are there – so in a way these pre-university level qualifications are much more important.
But how do you make sure you or your child gets the qualifications they need? Well, if you’re lucky as a parent your child won’t need very much help – but most kids need some help, particularly if they’re aiming high or struggling. It’s about making sure they’re motivated and make the most of their studies. Motivation can be different for everyone, doing good work and revising properly might be motivated by the prospect of a good job – but younger kids might just be motivated by the prospect of being shouted at by their teacher if they don’t do their work. So long as they realise the longer term intention of gaining these qualifications, they will be in a pretty good position to succeed.
There is something to be said about private tuition or extra tuition if a student is struggling. The plain fact of the matter is that the system as it is currently set up tends to move too slowly for the students who find it easy to learn and too fast for the students that don’t. This means that both types of student may struggle or become frustrated. Extra tuition, which is sometimes provided by the school but is also available privately, makes it possible for students to work at their own pace – which can mean they are more likely to succeed when it comes time for exams.
Examinations are always a huge part of a young pupil’s life. You need to have a good period of revision before taking them in order to be fully prepared. Increasingly, coursework plays a large role in the assessment of exams. So it is necessary to perform well throughout the entire course of study. Ironically, this can be detrimental for certain students as they may struggle to submit work of a high-quality before they have journeyed further into their studies.
Revision needs to be taken seriously, as a parent you should probably at least enquire how it is going and whether your child needs any help – but teachers have a more direct responsibility for this and should have a better idea of how their revision is going. If you’re not sure you can always meet with your child’s teacher, do so if you’re in doubt. Teachers are quite capable of providing an accurate estimation about how they will fare in the exam – and what grade they should be expecting to achieve. Most schools will give mock examinations too, so this is a good indicator – and students should take note that these really need to be taken seriously and actually provide the ultimate preparation for your exams.
All you can do, as a parent or a pupil, is be prepared. You don’t want to be out of your depth. If worse comes to worst and the final grade is lower than required to move onto higher education or go into employment or apprentice schemes then retake courses can help. These are typically offered by schools in the late summer after the exam period. If there is a need to retake exams, make sure your child has all the help they need. Private colleges can offer this, and usually take place over the summer. This will hopefully result in a better grade and a greater range of options, be it further education or employment, afterwards.
Getting the right qualifications doesn’t mean you have to succeed all the way through to the day you receive the results. It’s more about making sure that you have the proper foundations to move on to bigger and better things. It’s estimated that youth unemployment will not be getting better anytime soon, therefore qualifications are just as important as ever.
One important thing to remember is that getting your child the qualifications they need is always possible even after setbacks. There are always options so there should never be any need to worry too much – a level of patience may be needed but the end result should be a more settled and brighter future.