From education to employment

Vocational courses offer an alternative to #ALevels

Having not done as well as she wanted in her GCSEs, Victoria tried a couple of different options before finding her safe space at the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL).

Now settled into life on her Applied Science Level 3 BTEC course, Victoria is working hard and loving the mature, diverse vibe in her class. For Victoria, CONEL really is a skills college that sets students up for university, work and the real world. She is currently looking into university courses on Criminology or Paramedic Science and is very excited about her future.

Victoria said: “My class is diverse and a good mix of male and female. I feel comfortable here, you meet a lot of different people with different backgrounds. I thought I might be the oldest because of having tried other things out before, but as I started, other people joined the course and many were older than me. We all get along no matter what our age or background.

“Before I got my GCSE results, I wanted to do Level Three Forensic Science, I got a conditional offer but didn’t get the results I needed. I thought no college would want me. However, at CONEL there are so many courses that will suit you even if you don’t get the grades. You can do a course on a level below your first choice which will give you the foundation to move forward as planned. You can still achieve what you want it might just take a little longer. There’s always hope if you work for it.”

Victoria loves the fact that CONEL is an easy commute for her from home and offers a welcoming, supportive learning space.

She went on to say: “CONEL is a skills college. It sets people up to go to university and onto work with the right skills. I want to go to uni to study Criminology or Paramedic Science. What I’m studying now is getting me ready for that. I know that I will have the knowledge and skill set to make it work in uni for me.”

Victoria’s top tip for other students is to go to the College open day or Enrolment and look at the subject areas they might be interested in, but also don’t be afraid to look at something new.

Completing a science course or apprenticeship at CONEL could lead you into a wide range of professions including: (Annual pay)

Biomedical Scientist: £43,680
Laboratory Technician: £25,480
Radiographer: £39,000
Physiotherapist: £34,840
Pharmacist: £41,080


The workforce in this sector is projected to grow by 3.9% over the next 5 years, creating 4,200 jobs. In the same period, it’s estimated that 23.2% of the workforce will retire, creating an additional 25,300 job openings.

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