Plan your next steps with our Careers & Welfare team

Helping students

Now is the perfect time to be thinking about your next steps.

As we approach the end of the academic year, now is the perfect time to be thinking about your next steps and actions. Here, Bobby Sabbar and Denise Walker from our Future U Careers & Welfare team provide you with some starting points and ideas you can begin to implement.

1. Explore your career ideas

All students should be starting to get an idea of what career you would like to do after you complete your course. Don’t leave it until your final year; explore your career options now. Do lots of research about the area you are interested in and check what the entry requirements are. What skills you will need? What they are looking for? What extra things you will need to do to increase your chances?

Useful careers websites include:

Prospects - a graduate website covering careers, job vacancies, LMI, postgraduate courses and internships.

Target – a graduate website covering careers and job vacancies.

Postgraduate Search- This website provides information, advice and funding on postgraduate courses.

2. Ensure Maths and English L2 qualifications are in place

All students should have Functional Skills L2 in both these subjects and preferably a GCSE in them also. A significant number of jobs and postgraduate courses will ask for GCSE passes in Maths and English. If you haven’t got them, make sure you arrange to do them in September. It’s important that you check with your tutor at the beginning of the year, as the Maths and English courses fill up quickly.

3. Get some work experience

A number of careers such as teaching, nursing and paramedical careers will require you to have evidence of paid or voluntary work in their sector. However, work experience is useful for any job you are applying for. It shows you have experience of the workplace and can demonstrate new skills. It is also something to put on your CV. Try to arrange more than one placement.

4. Develop your LinkedIn and social media profiles

These are useful tools when job searching, so don’t leave this until your final year. Graduate employers are using LinkedIn more commonly now as a recruitment tool so if you haven’t already done so, set up your LinkedIn profile as soon as possible. This will give you the time to build up a network and regularly update your profile. If you are on a creative course, you may want to think about having a presence on social media sites such as an Instagram that would allow you to present a portfolio of work from your course.

Make sure to follow social media pages of organisations and relevant sector bodies that relate to your future career. Organisations frequently post information that they would like you to be aware of regarding recruitment opportunities, as well as their upcoming strategies and projects that may be important to you.

5. Keep your CV updated

You are going to build up lots of new skills during your course, both inside and outside the classroom. Update your CV on a regular basis so that you have those key skills/experiences and activities to hand when you need them. Remember that your CV will have to be tailored to each job you apply for, so keep an original copy with everything on it. You can then use key points from it in accordance with what you are applying for.

6. Apply for Student Finance for your next academic year

For those completing the first year of their HND or Foundation Degree (L4), you will need to apply for student finance as a continuing student. You can apply now.

For those completing a HNC and for those progressing to a L6 (top-up), you will need to make a new application to Student Finance.

Don’t leave it late and then find you do not have your finance in place for the new academic year. The deadline to apply is 22 May for new students and 19 June for returning students.

L4 students

Applying elsewhere to do a Top-up

You may be looking to do a L6 Top up after you complete your HND/Foundation Degree (L5) but you may find it is not offered at UCEN Manchester. Make sure you research where you want to go early and aim to apply before Christmas in your second year. You will need to go through UCAS.

L6 and L5 students

1. Postgraduate courses

Remember to check requirements and application deadlines. For some courses such as Primary and Secondary PGCE courses, applications are normally made before Christmas as these courses are very competitive and places fill up quickly.  

2. Employment

Develop your employability skills and start looking for vacancies early – recruitment for some graduate employment schemes such as the NHS and the Civil Service Fast Stream will start in the summer and be closed by Christmas 2021.

Need help?

The Careers and Welfare team are here to help you with:

  • career planning and choices
  • employability, including job searches, CV’s and interviewing
  • welfare issues such as Student Finance.

And remember, you can still access us after you complete your course! You can contact our team via careers&