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Alternatives to University for non-academic DS - are there any?

(22 Posts)
LydiaK Mon 01-Oct-12 12:28:15

I am worried about DS1 and what he is going to do next. He is currently on the second year of A-level courses in French, German and History. He got onto the A-level courses after just scraping 5 GCSEs. He got a "B" in AS French, but only passed one unit of the history course wth an "E" grade. Two units of a fourth subject were ungraded, and he has now dropped that subject.

I am not sure whether he will be allowed to take all of the A2 exams, and if he does, whether he'll receive grades.

Even if he gets to university, he is worried that he'll find the work difficult and won't manage.

Are there some universities or some courses that are easier to get in to and are not too demanding? What are the alternatives such as other courses or training that I could raise for discussion with him as alternatives to an honours degree at a university? Any ideas or thoughts would be appreciated.

titchy Mon 01-Oct-12 12:33:28

Apprenticeship? Work?

PLEASE don't try and find an 'easy' degree course for him. Any degree that is 'easy' really isn't worth the paper it's written on. If he's not academic he really shouldn't be considering university. tbh I'd question whether it was even worth doing his A2 year.

What is he interested in job-wise?

Bonsoir Mon 01-Oct-12 12:34:42

French, German and History? Something to do with tourism, perhaps?

WinklyFriedChicken Mon 01-Oct-12 12:34:56

What does he want to do? Where do his skills, interests and talents lie?

An 'easy' degree will give him no advantage in life and will just saddle him/you with unnecessary debt.

iseenodust Mon 01-Oct-12 12:34:57

Apprenticeships - as an example
nhs various roles

I know someone who went into a bank at 19 and the bank are funding a business degree through the OU whilst he works for them.

AMumInScotland Mon 01-Oct-12 12:53:24

FE college - aimed at more practical actual jobs than most degrees at university
Apprenticeships - very practical and focussed
Jobs which have training schemes for suitable candidates - eg I know a 19yo who started a Saturday job at Tesco and is now in their "trainee manager" program

University is not the right option for everyone, and he is not a failure if he thinks something else will suit him better.

Lilymaid Mon 01-Oct-12 12:56:42

He could try enrolling on a foundation degree course once he had his A2s.

LydiaK Mon 01-Oct-12 13:11:42

Thanks for the ideas and links. I am looking at them carefully.

A bit of background to answer WFC:

Skills: he is quite good at cooking.

Interests: he says he wants to join the army, but I can't quite see it. He likes to be neat and clean.

Talents: he is quite good at talking to people, particulary if they are older than him. He is also fairly well-read and knowledgable, although usually about a current pet subject.

He struggles to get things down on paper, which is why he hasn't been able to pass all the AS exams, and probably means he would struggle at university, even if he could get in.

I like the sound of foundation degrees - I think that has been mentioned at the school. What do foundation degrees consist of?

I have been thinking of hospitality or hotel school. I also thought he might be good with elderly people, but I am not sure what that involves. I thought of accountancy as he is good at maths.

WinklyFriedChicken Mon 01-Oct-12 13:25:46

The army is an.option

A lot of large accountancy firms take school leavers and train them through the exams

What about a.cookery or catering course at college?

Lilymaid Mon 01-Oct-12 13:34:52

If he might be interested in accountancy, qualifying with the AAT would be the way to go. He'd need to get a trainee job with a firm of accountants.

iseenodust Mon 01-Oct-12 14:09:40

He's old enough to join the TA's now for an evening a week (without fully committing himself yet).

With languages and good at talking have a look at tourism or local councils often have inward investment departments that undertake overseas trips to sell that area for business link ups.

scorpio57 Mon 01-Oct-12 18:36:55

University is not the only route and to be honest, I'd let him do the research about his options. If it's any consolation, my son dropped out of sixth form, did a year at a technical college learning to be a plumber but then couldn't get a job. Decided to work at the local co-op just to fill the time (and earn enough money to go on holiday), found he loved it and within six months was managing his own convenience store! I had certainly never envisaged he'd go into that as a career but he's earning a very good salary now (aged 22) and has his own rather nice flat in a nearby town.
Don't dispair, they all get there in the end with a bit of support, but let them find their way on their own.

sashh Tue 02-Oct-12 05:36:48

I know this is controvertial, but what about a job?

I would have thought a hotel reception would value languages. They would be useful for anything to do with tourism as well.

Holiday rep?

WofflingOn Tue 02-Oct-12 05:43:45

Mine is going for a job. He has AS, so although he is chronologically almost an adult, he's emotionally and lifeskills are around 14.
He may well head off to university or do another course later when he has found something he is passionate about and will throw himself into without needing nagging and pushing to do (Note, I didn't say support, but I want the commitment there)

senua Tue 02-Oct-12 08:41:10

He struggles to get things down on paper

Has this been assessed properly by the school SENCO?

He doesn't have to rush into anything after A2. He can always take a gap year to investigate, think and plan; to do work experience, volunteering or internship; to make contacts; to travel, especially with those language skills. Better to spend a year finding the right solution than a lifetime regretting the wrong one.

CouthyMowWearingOrange Tue 02-Oct-12 08:47:19

Try a FE college for a catering course? That's DD's chosen path. If he's good at it, and enjoys it, then why not?

A-levels and a degree aren't right for everyone, no matter what previous Governments tried to get people to believe.

TA also a possibility. Cooking in the army? They give good training. Try to find an Army Careers day, if you are in the SE they run a lot in my town.

Also, get a booklet from your local FE college. Get him to mark down anything that interests him, and go from there?

BlingBubbles Tue 02-Oct-12 08:57:56

I teach on foundation degree's and they are not the easy option compared to degree courses, however, if you complete one in a HE college your son will get a lot more 1-1 attention then he would at Uni. The class sizes are much smaller and more attention is paid to individual students. It is still the first 2 years of a degree course so will be academic and they are validated by a university so if you pass the first 2 years you can go on and complete your degree in a university, not all students do this as foundation degree's are qualifications on there own.

To get onto one you would still need to get grade c and above in a levels.

PM me if you want any more information.

BlingBubbles Tue 02-Oct-12 09:00:10

Oh I forgot to add, if he doesn't know hat he wants to do, then don't push him into studying, it will only end up being a waste of time and money. Take a gap - go travel if that's an option, or go work for a year or two and then make a decision. The students that do well on my course ate always the students who have been out In the workplace for a bit. Good luck

joanofarchitrave Tue 02-Oct-12 09:05:33

I think you're absolutely on the right track re hospitality, or catering. What about working here for a while, then perhaps in France or Germany for a while?

I think finishing A-levels is worth it, then get out there working. If he wanted to do a degree later on in life, he would have some funds behind him. In the meantime, he would be getting good experience and having a great life. He sounds ideal for hotel or restaurant work.

Narked Tue 02-Oct-12 09:12:01

So he likes cooking and has good French and German? How about a chalet job for a season and then seeing how he feels? It would give him a good experience of working and living away from home.

Narked Tue 02-Oct-12 09:18:08

courses for chalet work

Narked Tue 02-Oct-12 09:18:38

Try again

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