Thousands of students are finding out their exam results this week. It’s a highly pressured time, but is there perhaps a little too much concern that examination grades are a defining moment in terms of future career options?
As a major employer in the Black Country and wider West Midlands region, we at the West Brom have been reflecting on our own experience in terms of what academic route is the best predictor of performance and career progression. And our unequivocal conclusion is that no single route comes out on top.
These are the thoughts of Carole Barlow, the Society’s Divisional Director for HR:
“Analysis shows that whether people join the West Brom at 16, 18, 21 or beyond, the more reliable indicator of performance and career progression is a person’s appetite for developing themselves. This can be through our own internal development programmes or externally recognised, but applied, qualifications.
“Our message is that learning and development definitely doesn’t stop once you leave the classroom. There are significant opportunities for gaining new skills and professional qualifications while in employment – and the employer can, and should, support you in that process.”
Using the West Brom as an example, we have many colleagues who have combined work with studying to achieve recognised industry qualifications in areas such as financial planning, mortgage advice, accountancy, IT, business management and marketing.
Some have followed this career path from the start; others have used additional training to take on a new challenge, but stay with an employer who they enjoy working for.
Carole continues: “We see people from all kinds of backgrounds, including apprenticeships, internships and work placements, who have gone on to excel in their particular roles. Others have worked up through the ranks to hold senior positions, putting that past experience to the very best use.
“So our advice to students receiving their A Level or GCSE results would be to stay calm and make the decision about what you do next with confidence. If that means moving immediately into the workplace, then be certain that your chosen employer is committed to ongoing personal development and will support you and your career aspirations.
“This partnership approach is every bit as critical as your examination grades in the context of helping you enjoy a successful and rewarding career.”
To find out more about working at the West Brom and to view the latest vacancies, visit our careers page.