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Careers Column 8: Turning a passion into a career

9 August 2017

Throughout the summer our expert Advice Team is running a special Careers Column in the Gloucester Citizen, Gloucestershire Echo and Forest Citizen, offering advice to young people and their parents on the important factors to consider when making decisions about their education and future careers.

If you didn't catch it in the paper, don't worry - we will be posting the articles here on the GC news page every Wednesday.

Read the full article below or click on the image to see it as it appears in the newspaper.

Turning a Passion into a Career

By Steve Weldon, Advice and Guidance Manager

In my role as Advice and Guidance Manager I speak to many parents, and one of the main questions I’m asked is “will my child get anywhere by doing this course?”.

Many parents feel that doing a full-time performing arts, sport or media course will lead to nothing. But what if it doesn’t? What if your child’s hobby and passion becomes their career?

Remember the saying, “Find a job you love, and you will never do a day’s work again”, it’s still true.

In many cases, the students I speak to choose A Levels because they feel it is a safer option to have a spread of subjects. This is a very sensible choice if you really have no idea where your future career will take you. However, some of these students would love to pursue their passion for photography, graphic design, film or other subjects but are put off because they are often seen as hobbies rather than careers.

The inevitable question is, ‘should I follow my passion?’ It is important to enjoy education, and any future career, so your passion is a great starting place. If you love photography, why combine it with three other A Level subjects when you can study it as a stand-alone qualification in great depth? Surely it is more worthwhile to focus your attention on really getting to grips with every aspect of a subject, with work placements and mentoring from expert lecturers, than compromise by taking other subjects for the sake of it.

Choosing a pure subject need not be seen as a negative. Here are a few reasons why following your passion at college can be the right choice.

Progression to university

At Gloucestershire College, students can specialise in their chosen subject while earning BTEC national qualifications, which are equivalent to three A Levels and are therefore accepted by 95% of UK universities.


The Confederation of British Industry (CBI), has claimed that schools are “exam factories” and that A Levels fail to prepare students for the world of work. BTECs prepare students for employment, with courses designed to develop a student’s employability skills through the experience of real-life practical tasks and work placements. BTEC qualifications are well-regarded by employers, because students are able to develop transferrable skills such as time management, communication, problem solving and planning.

The learning environment

Choosing the right environment to study your passion is key. Colleges provide industry standard classrooms, professional equipment and most importantly expert staff! The staff who teach at colleges are from industry and many still work in those industries alongside their teaching commitments, which makes them perfect sounding blocks on how to kick-start your career. Who best to learn from than those that have been there and done it? They chose to follow their passion and have now decided to pass their expertise on.

Post-GCSE Advice

Making the choice to solely pursue one subject is a big decision, which can seem daunting to both young people and their parents. Which is where the GC Advice Team can help. Our experienced advisers will be at our three campuses on Friday 25 August, for post-GCSE Results Advice Day. Drop in between 10am and 4pm for advice on courses, late applications and what to do if you’ve changed your mind or didn’t get the results you expected.

Can’t make it? Don’t worry, you can also contact us on 0345 155 2020.

Why Gloucestershire College?

We have a lot of experience offering Apprenticeships and work-related training. We have industry-standard facilities and experienced teaching staff which provide the ideal complement to work-based learning.

We are here to help

0345 155 2020

90% of students would recommend GC and 95% said that the teaching on their course was good.

Ofsted has rated us good.

  • We offer industry relevant facilities
  • Our lecturers are passionate subject specialists
  • Employers value our students' skills

We'll look after you. We have dedicated teams to help you and a great Learning Mentor scheme.