When It Comes to Future Careers – Keep Your Options Open

6th October 2014, London: 

In keeping with our theme to increase the academic aspirations and career prospects of our students, African & Caribbean Diversity hosted a packed conference room of parents, students, family and friends on Saturday, 4th October 2014 to help guests understand the various pathways to achieve their dream career.

The workshop, facilitated by ACD’s Chief Executive Brenda King, took students and parents through the different types of subjects necessary to attend a top university in the UK.

There are those subjects that facilitate wide career options such as Maths, Science and English Language and those that may help averages, but are not favourable when applying to Russell Group universities or top employers (such as Film Studies or Photography). These subjects can sometimes hinder student from entering specific careers.

There’s a host of information that workshop attendees were not aware of. The minimum A-Level grades for top universities are AAB. There are different applications deadlines for different university programmes. It is better to attend a university that is in the top 3 in a chosen field rather than get a qualification that may not be recognized by employers.

There are also different routes into employment such as applying for an apprenticeship or applying to a school leavers recruitment scheme. These routes enable students to earn a qualification while working and depending on the field, may be a preferable alternative to attending university.


Keeping one’s options open does not only apply to subject grades, but also career paths. Brenda prompted students and parents to think outside of the box and take a second look careers they may are not necessarily heard of:

A good way to learn about needed careers is to look at shortages in the labour market as identified on the UK Shortage Occupation List .

The other big sector students should consider: Healthcare. As Brenda explained, for the first time in history, there are more elderly people to take care up than working youth. This pyramid of ages will impact access to top quality healthcare and the number of careers in the industry.


Parents were also interested in the prospects of students studying abroad in Europe and North America. This could be done by directly applying to a university abroad, or doing a semester abroad through a UK university. Other options for students include completing an International Baccalaureate which is recognized around the world to help with international university applications.

Brenda encouraged students to reflect on where they are now and where they would like to be.  The path to one’s career starts with preparing for GCSEs, choosing the right A-levels, and applying to a good university.  Work experience as well as experience abroad will also help students achieving their full potential and future career goals.

“We need ACD parents and student not only to hear [this] information, but to spread the world,” said Brenda.

“This is the way to tackle youth unemployment.”