School and beyond: how to decide what's next

In collaboration with Barclays, we've compiled resources to help Guides and Rangers plan for future

25 February 2021

If you’re a Ranger or a Guide, chances are you’re getting to a point in your life when you’re making more of your own decisions, both at home and at school.  

Your teachers or your family might be starting to ask you what you’re thinking about taking for your GSCEs or A-Levels, what you’re planning to do for work experience, or whether you have any ideas for what job you’d like to have in the future.

Making those kinds of decisions can be overwhelming for any young person trying to figure things out, and we know that things might be even more difficult as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, when the future of many different careers can seem uncertain.

However, the best way to prepare for an uncertain future is to look around and consider your options. We’ve teamed up with our friends at Barclays, sponsors of the Brownie Jobs badge, to compile some advice and resources that can help you make decisions about what you might want to do in the future.

1) Take the time to write down what your biggest interests are

Think back to your favourite subjects at school, or any clubs that you loved going to. If you’re in Girlguiding, you may also have completed a few interest badges!

You might spot a theme in what you enjoy, such as an interest in the sciences, or physical activity, or it might all be completely different. Either way, seeing it all written down will remind you of what you love doing. Even if you can’t immediately think of any jobs that suit your interests, continuing to dedicate time to what you love doing is the best way to find opportunities later on.

2) Explore new ideas, and learn what makes you tick

Barclays LifeSkills have a few tools that you can use to explore yourself and what you might want to do in the future.

Wheel of Strengths is designed to help you consider different careers based on your skills, interests and personality traits. You may discover job roles you hadn’t thought of and be surprised at where your skills could take you. It’s a great tool to use when choosing courses you might want to study, skills you’d like to develop further, or it could simply be when you’re looking for a bit of inspiration on the world of careers. Spin the wheel, and see what comes up!

You can also use Virtual Work Experience to get a sense of what it might actually be like to do a job you might not have considered before. Barclays LifeSkills offer Virtual Work Experience so you can see behind the scenes of a ‘digital transformation agency’, working with different departments to solve problems and complete real-life tasks. You’ll get lots of practical tips on how to deal with different work-place scenarios too! Doing work experience is a great way to begin to see yourself in a whole new light, and in a pandemic, all the better to be able to do it without leaving your house!

3) Start thinking about how you’re going to get to where you want to be

Now you have a better idea of what your interests and strengths are, you can start looking around at the different ways of growing them. There are lots of different routes into the world of work, whether it be sixth form, college, apprenticeships and traineeships, or university. You can find out what courses are on offer by researching online, or attending open days (either virtually or in person), but there’s a lot to sort through.

The LifeSkills’ Advice Map can help you make sense of all the advice you can access, and point you to the best places to find the courses, work experience and jobs that are right for you. You might even want to explore starting a campaign at school, or thinking about building a business idea.

4) Remember that not everything depends on one decision!

The big take away of all this advice is not to worry. These days more than ever, career changes have become extremely common. It’s completely normal to try a particular job or field out for a while, and then change your mind. If, with hindsight, you decide that you chose the ‘wrong’ GSCE or work experience placement, remember that you always have time and options to build on where you are right now.

Even if you’re finding it difficult to create a long-term career plan, every experience you have will teach you something valuable not only about the world of work, but also about yourself. Stick with pursuing your interests and your skills, and you won’t go far wrong,