Careers Wales is helping young people in Cardiff understand their options as hundreds of pupils gear up to receive A-level and GCSE results over the next two weeks.
In collaboration with Welsh Government, the careers advice body is running a Where Now? campaign to raise awareness of the options for pupils after results days.
Data released by the careers body in the run-up to results shows that, in 2016, 63.75% year 13 school leavers from Cardiff progressed to university – higher than the Welsh average of 62% – and 10.07% went into work-based training or other employment.
The careers body’s Destination of School Leavers 2016 report – which surveyed around 60,000 year 11, 12 and 13 pupils across Wales – also shows that 51.5% Cardiff pupils opted for school after Year 11, compared with 34.3% who chose college.
The picture across Wales shows that, for the first time since 2012, progressing to college was the more popular choice for those leaving Year 11 than school (51% versus 49% – a 3.8 percentage point swing from 2015).
Alongside the Where Now? campaign, on results days, help and advice will be delivered through Careers Wales’ live webinars/web chats, social media chats, Skype support, support sessions at dedicated career centres and through its helpline phone service (0800 028 4844).
Graham Bowd, chief executive at Careers Wales, said: “It’s a tense time of year for many young people and their parents across the country, but our message is not to panic; focus on options not expectations. There are more options than ever for young people and our advisors are on-hand to offer bespoke advice to anyone needing support.
“Whether you’re considering going straight into work, are confused about staying on at sixth-form or going to college, are weighing up university options, or simply wondering how best to spend a year out, we should be the first port of call.
“Our specialist advisers have access to up-to-date labour market information on all sectors of industry, so are well-placed to advise people on where to go next with their future education or career.”
He added: “We are trying to make things easier for young people by communicating with them via their preferred means – including live web chat and through our social media platforms – so hope to reach more people than ever this year.”
Minister for Skills and Science, Julie James, said: “This is such an important time for those receiving their results and I wish them all the best as they make more important decisions about their futures. It’s normal to feel slightly overwhelmed after picking up exam results, and we want to make sure it’s as easy as possible to find out about all the options available to young people in Wales.
“Where Now?’ helps to ensure parity of esteem between traditional academic routes and vocational skills training to ensure young people are better informed about their options.
“Whether you want to become an apprentice and earn while you learn, go on to college or university, start up your own business, become a volunteer or if you’re ready for the world of work- the options are endless.”
The Careers Wales helpline is available on 0800 028 4844 Monday-Friday, 9am-6pm The web chat service is available at www.careerswales.com. Careers Wales can also be found at @CareersWales on Twitter and Careers Wales on Facebook and Instagram.