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Class of Covid-19 – Advice for 2021 School Leavers

13 Aug 2020

Worldwide, 2020 and 2021 has been a very different year than we had planned. Students have been massively affected, particularly school leavers who had hoped to sit exams this year.

Leaving school can be a confusing mixture of emotions as you step out of the environment you’ve been in for the past 14 years. Unfortunately, the Coronavirus pandemic has made the situation far more daunting and uncertain for many, as you have been unable to finish years of education the way many before you have.

One thing that is for sure however, is how amazingly schools, universities and careers services have rallied and come together to help support school leavers. Do not hesitate to reach out for support and find answers to your queries.


Traditionally, the majority of school leavers head to university to continue in education. Although many students applied several months beforehand, it is still not too late to apply for university through clearing or change your desired university/course.

Many universities opened their clearing on A level results day. Often, they extend their usual clearing hotline opening hours over the week after or so to accommodate for the increase in calls. But they will keep them open for several weeks, meaning you could still apply for some courses as late as early September. Of course, the sooner you get it sorted the better.

To find how to contact a university clearing team, head to your desired university website; the majority currently have details of clearing on their home page.

If you are heading to university, we have part time jobs on our website you can do in your university city, so you can earn whilst you’re studying. If you are looking for options between now and starting university, we have many work from home jobs on our website, allowing you to work flexibly from the comfort of your own bedroom!


Apprenticeships have been growing in popularity in recent years, as more employers are keen to employ apprentices and provide them with training, and students are increasingly seeing their potential.

They are a great way for students to earn whilst you learn, as you gain experience throughout. The length of apprenticeships varies, with some being as short as 1 year or up to 3 years. Some even offer you the chance to gain a degree during your time, so can be a fantastic alternative to university!

Apprenticeships are often overlooked, but the number of businesses now offering them highlight their potential. They are offered by many of the UK’s biggest businesses from brands such as KPMG, Vodafone, Deloitte, Tesco and Royal Mail, just to name a few.

Some apprenticeships offer fantastic pay straight away, with some offering just shy of £22,000, all whilst receiving both training and experience!

You can complete an apprenticeship in more sectors than what they are commonly associated with, such as Business & Law, Media, IT, Beauty & Wellbeing, Pharmaceutical, Engineering and many more. We have a section on our website dedicated to apprenticeships and many are hiring now!

One huge benefit to apprenticeships, is getting your foot in the door and being able to secure a job after the completion of your training. The phrase ‘get your foot in the door’ is often thrown around a lot, but it really is a fantastic way to securely kick start a career, which may be hugely attractive to many as we enter a world post-Coronavirus.

Straight into employment

Now you have left school, you may be ready to put education behind you and jump straight into full time employment. This can be a highly rewarding option, as you can begin earning doing something you enjoy.

It can be a great way to begin gaining experience straight away, something that is highly valued by many employers, benefiting you in the future. Jumping straight into employment can also be a good way to have a go at a career you are not sure about, effectively testing the water, all whilst getting paid for it.

We have a range of school leaver jobs on our website hiring all year around which you can look at.

Non-traditional gap year

Gap years are often associated with travelling across Asia or skiing in the Alps, but they can be whatever you make of them. Travelling this year looks unlikely due to the changing Covid-19 situation around the world.

You may be completely unsure of what you want your next step to be or you have deferred from university for a year, so a gap year may help you out.

During your gap year, you may use it to gain new skills or qualifications, or earn money working whilst you figure out what you want to do. It can be a good way to gain some experience and help point you in the direction of your next steps.

A gap year can simply be a year out or a pause from education. There are no set guidelines on what you should do on your gap year. We have a range of temporary jobs for you to do on your gap year on our website.

Additional information

If you are still unsure on what to do, head to the National Careers Service website for further advice, resources and help.

We wish you all the best for the future!

If you feel that the coronavirus pandemic and your studies are having an impact on your mental health, head to the Mind website for information and support.

Student Podcast – Your Career Kit

Looking for top student tips and career advice? Listen to our student podcast, Your Career Kit, where we are joined by a range of fantastic guests, ranging from CEO’s, Olympic Athletes and The Apprentice winners. We are live on both Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

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