Routes and pathways

Your child stands at a crossroads – and there’s more than one path they could go down.

But which road is the right one for them? It’s not just about deciding on a job or profession. It’s about choosing a life that fits with their values and ambitions.

Encourage your child to reflect on what they enjoy, and want to do in the future. Think broadly, and beyond school subjects. What makes them happy? Reflecting on what they’ve achieved, they’ll be able to make informed decisions based on their skills and strengths.

By having these smaller, day-to-day chats, it’ll feel less intense when it’s time to have those all-important career conversations – and you’ll have a better picture of their interests. If you know what they’re interested in, you’ll be able to guide them to the right career destination.

We’ll help you work out the different directions they could take – whether that’s an apprenticeship, college, university or launching straight into the world of work.


Another great option for those seeking further and higher education. College provides a more local educational experience, with a teaching environment that’s often smaller. Around 30% of Scottish higher education students are studying at colleges.

Often, college subjects are vocationally orientated – helping people to get qualifications from SQF3 level and onwards. It can also bridge the gap to university – and can feel a little less daunting.

Did you know a HND can get you into second or third year at university?


Apprenticeships are ideal for people who are hands-on learners, who want to learn and earn at the same time. There’s a variety of apprenticeship options available.

Foundation Apprenticeships are completed in S5 and S6, alongside their Highers or Nationals, affording them the opportunity to gain real-life work experience.

Modern Apprenticeships work by allowing school leavers to learn on the job, whilst receiving skills-based training, across a broad spectrum of industries.

And then there’s Graduate Apprenticeships, which provide four years of on-the-job training alongside a university degree.

These all provide not just robust, industry-recognised qualifications – but also the chance to experience a real-life working environment and gain transferable skills that’ll make them more employable in the long run.


It’s about more than gaining a degree – it’s also somewhere to build your knowledge and skills.

Places for university are competitive, and entry requirements vary from institution to institution. Generally, there’s a minimum requirement of at least three Highers.

It’s about more than grades – universities look for fully-rounded individuals, and often take extracurricular activities, sports, voluntary and paid work into consideration when considering applications.

Students are often encouraged to build experience through internships, part-time and voluntary work.  Learning’s a life-long journey – it’s not just about the degree. Social confidence and connections are also a vital part of the university experience.

Getting a job

Not everyone’s interested in further education. Some people just want to get out there and make an impact straight away. If they’re keen to start working, it’s important to talk to them about what they want to do and achieve.

You’ll need to do some research too – maybe together. It’s a joint learning process, and it’ll give you a chance to discuss opportunities as they arise. Talk about your own experiences of education, life and work. Share your challenges, because if you open up, then your child might too.

And remember, challenges are an inevitable part of the job hunt.  It’s the resilience they respond with that’ll help them in the long run. Listen to their concerns, and support their successes.

Go back to careers discussions