Chloe case study

ChloeRead more about why Chloe chose a degree apprenticeship

I made a UCAS application to Leeds University to study food science and at the same time I applied to Nestlé for the Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship (CMDA).

I decided to go for the apprenticeship, despite getting a place at uni, because of all the benefits. I thought if I wanted to pursue food science in the future I still could, but the apprenticeship was more attractive at the time!

The Nestlé CMDA Apprenticeship has opened so many doors that would not have been possible if I had gone to university. For example, I supported the design of KITKAT Chunky Cookie Dough, managed my own technology project and worked in field sales selling chocolate. At the same time I have been earning a competitive
salary and gaining a sponsored degree with Sheffield Hallam where I achieved a first class honours. The opportunities have been incredible and I am so glad I made the decision to join a Nestlé Apprenticeship.
Chloe - Customer category manager, Nestlé

Page updated January 2018

Henry case study

HenryRead more about why Henry chose a degree apprenticeship

Why did you decide to do an apprenticeship?

After Honley High and Greenhead College, I wasn’t quite sure what to do. I thought university was the only option for me and was just part of your life cycle. However, after coming out of college with three A levels and a confirmed place at the University of Chester, something clicked in my head and I declined the offer. I felt like I was going to university just for the sake of it and not for the reason that it would be a big impact on my future career. I felt that going to university for three years and hoping I got a job out of it wasn’t for me.

How did you find it?

Without much work experience I was finding it hard to find a good job. Then I stumbled across a website with information on higher apprenticeships. There was only one that really caught my eye, a three year Nestlé Operations Degree Apprenticeship. I saw the brand and thought I would apply.

How is it going?

Two months in and I am extremely happy I took the job. The course actually involves 80% work and 20% study at Sheffield Hallam University. That is probably the best bit! As part of the scheme you study for a BA (Hons) Professional Practise in Business Management, which is fully funded by the company. That of course means NO STUDENT DEBT! The debt was a big factor in me not going to university in the first place, so this was a great result.

Do you feel you miss out on uni social life?

The social life is great, you get to experience the uni lifestyle in small amounts, which is perfect for me. Away from university, the job does not get in the way of your social life, in fact you actually have more money to do things with your friends and the company is very flexible with how and when you work.

How was making the transition from sixth form to work?

That was a big concern for me, joining such a big company and thinking that it would be hard to make friends due to people being older and more experienced, however on the university course I’m with people from different company sites across the UK. I’ve met a group of people that I know I’ll be friends with for the rest of my life.

Are you paid?

Yes. It is definitely a nice feeling to be earning a decent salary at just 19. It fills you with a lot of confidence. The benefits of working for Nestlé are also a great incentive to work, however you will have to apply to find out what they

Any plans for the future?

My plans for the future are to complete the apprenticeship and then see what position I am in then. I would love to do some travelling with the company and see what opportunities there are in different functions.

Any words of wisdom for this year’s leavers?

My only advice to school leavers is don’t rush into any decisions - if you think you need a year out after college, take it, enjoy it and find something that suits you. Otherwise you might end up doing something for the sake of it.

Henry - Operations Degree Apprentice, Nestlé

Page updated January 2018

Full-time learning after Year 11

Student carrying booksColleges, schools with sixth forms, sixth form colleges and training providers offer some or all of the following types of full-time courses:

  • Job specific - in subjects such as childcare, engineering, catering, motor vehicle or construction, for example joinery.  They usually lead to NVQ or VQ qualifications.
  • Practical/vocational (or work-related) - in broader career-related courses, such as art and design, health and social care or business.  Good if you like projects and course work.  They lead to qualifications, such as BTECs, Cambridge Nationals or Cambridge Technicals, and AS and A levels in applied subjects.
  • Academic - in a broad range of subjects, such as history, French or maths.  Good if you like to study and you do well in exams.  They lead to qualifications, such as AS and A levels. 

Look at Qualifications to find out more.

    • Sixth form colleges and school sixth forms/UTCs offer level 2 and 3 courses, including GCSEs, As and A levels, as well as some practical/vocational qualifications
    • Colleges of further education offer many job specific and practical/vocational courses at a range of levels but they don't always offer academic qualifications, such as A levels
    • Training providers offer job specific and practical/vocational courses, mainly at entry levels, and level 1 and 2. They also offer apprenticeships at Level 2, Level 3 and above.
Female student

Case study

Beth Wilby

I’ve found college completely different from school, but in a good way. I like the feel of the college I attend and also the different facilities such as the coffee shops and dining area. One surprise has been the amount of work I need to complete on my Level 3 BTEC (63kb PDF)

Read more from Beth

Check out local schools, colleges and training provider websites and see 'More to explore' on the top right of this page to find out more about local schools and colleges. If you want to study in Kirklees you can also look for courses on  UCAS Progress

Some specialist courses are only available at colleges in the region – Burnley, Manchester Leeds and elsewhere, for example some agriculture, building trades or music courses. Check FindFE, search UCAS Progress and talk to your careers adviser in school or college.

Page updated October 2017

Quick guide to qualifications

Students getting their exam resultsUse this guide to find out...

  • about the level and names of qualifications
  • what qualifications you can study full-time or part-time.


  • that you will have to study English and maths to Level 2, which is equal to GCSE grade 5/4 (or grade C) if you haven't got them yet
  • whatever level you choose you can move up to the next level if you get the grades.

Qualifications and entry requirements explained

Entry Level Entry Level 1, 2 and 3
Level 1 Grade E (new grades Grade 3) GCSEs, NVQs/VQs, awards/certificates/diplomas
Level 2 GCSEs, NVQs/VQsawards/certificates/diplomas
Level 3 AS and A levels, NVQs/VQs, awards/certificates/diplomas and other qualifications
Levels 4 to 6 Higher education – certificates/diplomas, NVQs/VQsfoundation degrees, degrees
Levels 7 to 8 Postgraduate and professional – Masters, PhD

Remember to check GOV.UK to find out which schools, colleges and training providers offer courses leading to these qualifications and take a look at the short UCAS qualification reform videos for an introduction to some of the changes discussed in the links above.

Think about...

  • your predicted grades
  • the way you learn – do you like exams, prefer course work, want to study part-time
  • doing a range of subjects or specialising in one or two
  • the type of qualification that's right for you AND what you are thinking of doing.

Unsure about what you want to do? Check job and course entry requirements and choose subjects that work together.

More to explore

GOV.UK - compare different qualification levels
UK NARIC - overseas qualifications and UK comparisons

Ofqual - the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulations
Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) - find an English qualication

Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA)
Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF)
European Qualifications

Page updated November 2017

Putting YOUth first

PYF-Logo1At C&K Careers we pride ourselves in involving you in our projects.  

Your ideas and opinions are important to the work we do, and ‘Putting YOUth first’ is our way of making sure you have a voice.
‘Putting YOUth first’ allows your voice to be heard by getting involved directly with our projects and events.
Interested in taking part? Get in touch with us using the message box at the bottom of this page.

Projects you can get involved in

Jemma receiving her certificate for helping us from YvonneAt C&K Careers you can get involved in a number of different projects.  These are just some things you can help us with - we are planning more over the next year:

Recruitment and selection - this means having a say in the staff we employ at C&K Careers.  Even interviewing candidates for jobs, including manager and careers adviser positions.

Mystery shopping - visiting our Careers Centres and judging the service you receive.  You will feedback your findings to one of our managers!

Being a participation champion - this means being available for us to consult you about our services and products.  It could be we ask you to give us feedback on one of our publications or a new service we are developing.  We might ask you to do this by email or feedback in person with a group of other young people. We may suggest you ask others to give us feedback too.



Jemma told us she wanted to get involved and ended up making a film called Steps2Train. With our support, Jemma was filmed interviewing trainees and their managers at seven different training providers in Calderdale. The film will be used to help other young people find out about the training they can do and take the first step towards their career goals. Or read it (67kb PDF).

Watch this clip from Jemma’s film

Thank you so much for listening and acting on everything that the young people said, so many people ask their opinions and then don’t act on their suggestions.
Michelle Ross, Young People's Voice and Influence Worker. Kirklees Youth Council, commenting on the development of ckcareersonline.

What do you get out of it?

A chance to...

  • make decisions about our products and services
  • meet other young people from Calderdale and Kirklees
  • develop different skills and knowledge - we will give you a certificate to say what you have done
  • be rewarded with a voucher for some activities

And it will look great on your CV!

Interested in getting involved?

Send us your details and we will send you more information about the projects.

If you are not sure about getting involved and have more questions, just This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.and we will get back to you!

Fill out my online form.

Our careers advisers are based at:

Head Office
C & K Careers Ltd
78 John William Street

T: 01484 225500
F: 08724 464511