Information for parents and carers

Taster Courses are a valuable way to inform decisions about what comes after college or sixth-form study as well as helping with career decision making.

Benefits of attending a taster course

  • Enable young people to try out university: Taking a short taster course is a safe, free and commitment-free way to see if being a student, or that particular university, might suit them. 
  • Inform planning: University requires a big investment of academic effort as well as a financial investment; this is a way to ensure that they are making an informed decision. 
  • Help with subject choice: Young people can use a taster course to check if a subject they already like will suit them, or try something completely new (Pharmacology, Biomedical Engineering, Veterinary Nursing, East European Languages, and so on).  
  • Demonstrate what London is like for a student: it’s helpful for young people to get a feel for what being a student in London would be like, and maybe compare this to visiting universities elsewhere.  
  • Support university applications: Young people can use the experience in a variety of other ways: to inform their thinking, include by reflecting on it in their UCAS personal statement or to discuss with parents, carers or a careers adviser.  
  • Get a feel for the university premises: some taster courses allow students to visit their facilities, including sporting, social and other facilities.  
  • Meet others: Young people will get the chance to meet with other students on the taster course and undergraduate students studying at the university. 
Taster Courses webinar title slide
A short guide for parents and carers: What are the University of London taster courses and how they can help with career planning.

Resources for Parents and Carers

This section is designed to support anyone with young people in their care to feel more informed about careers and further or higher education in the UK. It will also suggest some resources that can be shared with young people. 

The University of London wants to make sure that everyone, regardless of their background or access to resources, can make the best and most informed decisions for them. 

We understand that there is a wide variety of information around career choice and the labour market available. To help you support your child in their decision making, and to give you access to up to date information, we have created this resource with links to sites which we hope you will find useful. They include career tools, sector specific sites, and ways to gain experience. 

We have all had a variety of influences on the life and work decisions we have made. Influences include our families and friends, the expectations of those around us, and our economic and social contexts, as well as our interests and abilities.

If thinking about your child’s career decisions has made you consider where you too can seek support, you have access to free, government funded careers services as an adult, as well as learning from the resources below. The National Careers Service is available to anyone in England for careers support, skills assessment and other resources, in Northern Ireland you can use the Careers Service, in Wales you can access Careers Wales and in Scotland you can access Skills Development Scotland.

Your child should have a programme of careers education and support at their school, in line with the Gatsby Benchmarks , supported by a Careers Lead for the school. These resources are designed to complement the provision that your child may already have from school, to help you feel informed.

General resources

Some of these resources are especially designed for carers and parents, and others are general guides which we think you will find useful and informative.

All About School Leavers

Website which offers jobs, advice, and resources for those considering apprenticeships and other school leaver options.

Apprenticeships

You can access the government’s website on apprenticeships, which includes vacancies and explanations of the different types of apprenticeship.

Barclays Life Skills

Barclays Life Skills have a series of resources including videos, especially designed to help parents and carers support young people with regard to work experience. Their site for young people is here.

BBC Bitesize

BBC Bitesize, which you may know from its resources to support classroom learning and revision for public exams, has a wealth of resources relating to careers, including sections on returning to learning, university, college and apprenticeships, finding and applying for jobs, and much more.

Brightside

Brightside have produced a guide on what to consider when deciding what to study at university

Career Pilot

Career Pilot has great resources for young people 11-19.

They have a dedicated Career Pilot Parent Zone.

Careers Writers Association

The Careers Writers Association have created a page of parental resources which includes some suggestions as to what will be the top jobs of the future.

Higher Education Progression Partnership (HEPP, Sheffield)

HEPP have produced a guide for making informed decisions about whether university is the right choice after school.

Not Going to Uni

Not Going to Uni is a portal for school leaver schemes including degree apprenticeships and other jobs, with a dedicated parents page.

Reed

Employment agency and recruiter Reed has an advice page for school leavers.

Target

Target Careers has a parents’ zone and produces several guides, including one for parents on paths to professional careers.

Sector and subject specific resources

NB: This section is updated periodically. While we can’t ensure every career sector is represented, a good general guide can be found here on the National Careers Service website, with further links.

Biology

These resources on careers and courses in biology from the Royal Society of Biology are aimed at teachers and careers advisers but have useful information on the wide variety of careers and study options in the biological sciences.

Chemistry

The Royal Society of Chemistry has a guide for parents about careers relating to chemistry.

Engineering

Tomorrow’s Engineers have a parents’ guide to engineering.

English, History, Philosophy

There are many web pages which describe options with Humanities degrees. Here is one for an English degree; you can also look at History and Philosophy. Remember that most graduate employers are interested in the attributes, behaviours and skills of the graduate as a whole, without specifying what degree has been studied.

If your child chooses a subject that they will enjoy, they will find it far easier to do the hard work necessary to get a good degree. All universities have careers services with excellent resources and personal guidance available to help every student maximise their chances of the job or career they want after graduating.

Geography

The Royal Geographical Society has a page of careers resources for those interested in geography.

Health Careers

The NHS has an informative website about all aspects of health-related careers. These include Medicine, Nursing, Physiotherapy, Radiography, Occupational Therapy, Speech and Language Therapy, and many more, as well as wider healthcare careers. See also Medicine, below.

Mathematics

These resources from www.stem.org.uk are designed for teachers’ use in classrooms but are freely available and include videos to understand careers in which maths can be useful.

Medicine

This website from the Medical Schools' Council has up to date information on entry requirements and much more.

Modern Languages 

Prospects.ac.uk has a useful ‘What Can I Do with My Degree?’ page and that for Modern Languages

Physics

The Institute of Physics has some excellent career pages: this resource is good for those who have decided they want to study physics at university or if the decision is whether or not take physics at school.

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths):

General links to careers in STEM resources for parents and Target Careers guide to science careers.

Teaching

Get into Teaching is the government’s gateway for explaining all the different routes for those who are considering teaching as a career.

Resources from Employers

BAM Nuttall (engineering/ manufacturing) information about opportunities for graduates and apprenticeships

Barclays (banking/ finance) pages about graduate careers well as apprenticeships opportunities

BBC (media) information about a range of career opportunities with the organisation
 
EY (accountancy/ actuarial) student and entry level programmes 

GSK (science & pharmaceuticals) pages for apprenticeships and opportunities for graduates

KPMG (digital, business & engineering) site for parents and advisers.

Pfizer (science & pharmaceuticals) pages for apprenticeships and student placements

PwC (accountancy/ actuarial) information for school and college leavers

Softcat (technology & IT) page about exploring careers with them

Savills (construction, property & real estate) pages for graduate and apprentice careers

Siemens (engineering/ manufacturing) an early careers page

Schneider Electric (energy/ utilities) information about their apprenticeships scheme

UBS (banking/ finance) page for school leavers and one for students and graduates

Transport for London (government/ not for profit) information about a range of career opportunities with the organisation

TUI UK (hospitality, leisure & tourism) pages for apprenticeships and opportunities for graduates