Seizing the Summer: Maximising Career Prospects for School Leavers

As students nervously wait for their A-Level results this summer, many may wonder how they can utilise this time to increase their career prospects. And parents, too, will likely share this concern.

Fortunately, this hiatus offers an excellent opportunity to gain valuable experience and skills, setting the stage for future success. This article explores some productive ways school leavers can utilise the summer to their advantage, with a particular focus on acquiring and honing digital skills, a critical competency in today's job market.

Work Experience and Internships

One of the most effective ways to maximise career prospects is through work experience or internships. Whether it's a paid position or a voluntary role, these opportunities provide a practical understanding of the workplace and its dynamics. Moreover, they can significantly enhance a CV, demonstrating a proactive attitude, the ability to adapt to different environments, and showcasing a range of transferable skills such as teamwork, problem-solving and communication.

Companies in various industries offer summer internships targeted at school leavers. They are an excellent platform to gain insights into specific fields, understand corporate culture, and establish networking relationships. Parents can support their children by helping them research available opportunities and assisting in preparing compelling CVs and cover letters.

Short Courses and Certifications

For students uncertain of their career path, exploring different subjects can help identify potential interests. For those with a clear career trajectory, specialised courses can provide an edge.

Students can choose a wide array of courses, from business management and marketing to computer science and business finance. Students can acquire industry-recognised certifications, which can be a powerful addition to their CVs. Parents can encourage this self-directed learning and even join in, turning it into a shared educational endeavour.

Enhancing Digital Skills

In the digital era, technology competency is no longer an option but a necessity. A survey by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) found that 77% of businesses believe digital skills will be essential in the next five years. Companies expect candidates to be digitally literate, able to navigate various software, understand online safety, and harness the power of social media professionally.

To meet these expectations, students should:

Master Basic Digital Tools

Knowledge of Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), Google Workspace (Docs, Sheets, Slides), and email etiquette is fundamental. Several online tutorials are available to strengthen these skills.

Learn Coding

Coding is fast becoming a universal language. Understanding the basics, even if one doesn't aspire to become a software engineer, can significantly boost one's employability. Resources like Pitman Training's IT Specialist short courses can help start this journey.

Understand Data Analytics

Data is the new oil. Companies across sectors value candidates who can analyse and interpret data. Reputable schools such as Pitman Training offer beginner courses in data analytics, helping students understand data sets and how to visualise and communicate findings.

Familiarise with Social Media Management

In an increasingly connected world, understanding how to leverage social media professionally is essential. From LinkedIn for networking to Twitter for brand awareness or Instagram for marketing, managing social media platforms is a vital skill.

Learn about Cybersecurity

With increasing digitalisation, understanding the basics of online safety and privacy is crucial. Cybersecurity courses can offer insights into securing digital spaces, a valuable skill for any prospective employee.

Volunteering and Community Service

Volunteering is a great way to gain diverse experiences and develop a range of skills. It also demonstrates social responsibility and initiative, attributes employers value. In addition, it can provide a sense of fulfilment and purpose, which can be an important counterbalance during the stressful wait for exam results.


The saying, "It's not what you know, but who you know," holds some truth. Networking can open doors to opportunities that might otherwise remain unknown. It's never too early to start building professional relationships. Attend industry events (many of which are online), join relevant social media groups, and reach out to industry professionals for informational interviews.

Parents, this is a golden period for your children. Encourage them to seize it, explore opportunities, and step out of their comfort zones. The resilience and agility they gain now will equip them to face the dynamic future workplace effectively. And students, remember that every step you take now, no matter how small it seems, could be a giant leap towards a successful career.


The waiting period for A-Level results need not be a time of idleness or anxiety. Rather, it offers a valuable interval for enhancing career prospects.

Gaining work experience, learning through online courses, improving digital skills, volunteering, and networking can significantly boost employability.  Summer school programmes with highly regarded professional training providers such as Pitman Training will help students elevate themselves above their peers.

As the future unfolds, these proactive measures will undoubtedly prove fruitful, helping school leavers navigate the professional world with confidence and competence.