Once you’ve got you’re A-Level results it can feel like for the first time in your life your future is not being decided for you. Before then it can seem like you’re on an educational conveyor belt of primary school to secondary school and GCSE’s to A-Level’s; but now you’re free to look at your options and decide for yourself what it is you’re going to do next. Of course for many people picking up their results they will already have decided, and successful grades will mean they already know they will moving on to their chosen university come September; but for others, whether because their grades did not quite meet the plan they had, or because they hadn’t chosen one yet, it is only now, as the dust settles, that they are seeing the new decisions to be made and the world of opportunities that awaits them.

Further Education Colleges have emerged as more and more of a legitimate alternative to University in recent years. Primarily, this alternative has come in the form of apprenticeships, as people are beginning to see that degrees and apprenticeships are no longer two completely separate journeys, but merely different paths. However, Further Education Colleges can also provide options when it comes to full time studying, and just like with apprenticeships, these full time courses provide new and emerging opportunities and advantages.

Further Education Colleges know what business and industry want

There has been a surge in Higher Level Apprenticeships in recent years, but there is also still an appetite for devoted, concentrated study. Although University remains desirable to many people for various reasons, in recent years Further Education Colleges have been credited with providing a more practical approach to learning, with things like employer links and a focus on work placements allowing for more employment led education. Now, full time courses can provide the same thing, while also providing the sort of devoted, focused study associated with University.

Advantages of studying close to home

Some of the differences between studying in a rural environment or an urban environment are huge. The financial, social and personal decisions involved in choosing what to study and where to study it, means that going to University it feels like a truly life altering decision. But if one of the former factors in the decision was that urban environments could offer educational services and industry opportunities which rural areas simply couldn’t, then the way the world is changing, and the efforts of the South West College to keep up with it, mean that this is no longer the case.

For South West College, breaking down the barriers of what may previously have been considered rural restrictions is nothing new. The IDEA centre in the colleges Omagh Campus is aimed at supporting students and organisations in the creative process of generating new ideas, while the IMAGE centre in Enniskillen is a design and development area focused on providing resources and services in the area of digital animation. Both are a sign that a rural education setting has never meant a purely rural education. This was never more evident than when South West College took its place as part of the SMART Region initiative.

Maintain your lifestyle while you build for your future

Uprooting and going to University in another county or country is one of the biggest decisions young adults make. Studying a degree at a further and higher education college like South West College can allow you to improve your opportunities for the future, without sacrificing what you have now; letting you study while at the same time keeping your part time job, staying close your family, and saving money on travel and accommodation somewhere else.

Study courses that are relevant to the latest careers Advancements in technology and developments in industry mean careers are changing, and South West College changes with them. Traditional career areas continue to thrive, such as hairdressing and construction, but new employment opportunities continue to grow in computing and travel and tourism. Follow your passions Not everyone knows what they want to do for the rest of their life when they leave school and that's understandable. Further Education Colleges therefore provide many people to follow what their passionate in. South West College students have thrived in courses such as Art and Design and Performing Arts, and have went on to study further in these fields and have successful careers in their respective industries. With all this in mind, there are lots of things to expect with A-Level results day, but a dead end is never one of them. Your results are important, and it is a significant time in anyone’s educational journey, but there is more than one way forward, and it is what you do with the results that will ultimately decide how important they are. South West College is on hand to help you explore all the options. South West Colleges offers a variety of full time, fully taught courses, which provide educational paths into exciting careers. The Full Time Prospectus and Higher Education Prospectus are available online, and in print at all SWC campuses.