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Cowbridge student hopeful things will be back to normal for 2021

Ceri Jones is still planning to start his degree in September 2021. Photo credit: Huw John

An 18-year-old from Cowbridge whose trip to work abroad was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, is hopeful things will be back to normal when he starts his degree in 2021.

Ceri Vaughan Jones was always planning to take a year out from his studies before starting his degree in Business Management and Spanish. While the pandemic hasn’t changed his plans, it has meant the postponement of his year working abroad to improve his Spanish before he heads to university.

As around 56,000 young people across Wales prepare to collect their results this summer, Careers Wales has released new data on how the coronavirus pandemic has affected young people’s plans for the future.

75% of respondents said they are worried about their A -Level grades, and 38% felt the pandemic had affected their plans after Year 13. However, just 2% of respondents who had planned to go to university said they’d changed their mind and only 6% were planning to defer their university place until next year.

Despite not sitting his final exams, Ceri is hopeful he’ll get the A-Level grades he needs in maths, Spanish, biology and the Welsh Baccalaureate to be accepted onto his degree course at Exeter University.

He said: “I’d already decided to take a gap year before the pandemic started. I was planning to spend a year working at a golf resort in Spain to really immerse myself in the language before I start my degree. Those plans are all on hold for now but I’m still happy to be taking a year out. Hopefully by the time I start university in September next year, things might be back to normal. My plan now is to head out to Spain in the new year, January or February if I can, to spend a few months working there and improving my Spanish.

“I’m reasonably optimistic about my results, but results day itself will be weird this year. We don’t know yet how results day is going to work, but I’m guessing I probably won’t get to see my friends or teachers. Normally you’d spend some time catching up and chatting. I was meant to be going interrailing with my friends for a few weeks to celebrate and we’ve obviously had to cancel those plans which is disappointing. But all things considered, I didn’t have to sit my exams so I can’t complain.

“I’ve chosen to study business management partly because it’s quite a broad degree subject that can lead to a lot of different careers, but it’s also something I thought I would enjoy. I was raised bilingually, so I’ve always enjoyed studying languages, and taking a language at university has the added benefit of spending a year abroad. I definitely want to come back home to live after my degree and will hopefully find an engaging and rewarding career here in Wales.”

Working Wales is encouraging the young people who will receive their results this month to consider all their options for the future and make an informed choice to start their story.

Working Wales, delivered by Careers Wales, is a free service from the Welsh Government part-funded by the European Social Fund. Working Wales is a one-stop-shop for impartial, expert careers advice which helps people aged 16 and over choose a career that’s right for them and find long-term employment.

Advisers from Working Wales and Careers Wales will be available on both results days to offer help and guidance to young people and their parents or carers receiving their GCSE and A-Level results, whatever their chosen path.

Nikki Lawrence, Careers Wales Chief Executive said: “We know the results day period is likely to be a particularly challenging time for many this year. No matter how you’re feeling about results day, the best thing you can do is research all your options so you can make an informed decision about your next steps. Working Wales will have advisers available on both results days to offer support and guidance to help you make the right choice for you.”

Kirsty Williams, Minister for Education, said: “I want to wish the best of luck to Ceri receiving his A-Level results this summer.

“Deciding on the next step in your career can seem like a daunting task. Although we’re living in uncertain times, it’s important to remember that help and advice is available to guide and support you in choosing the career path that’s right for you.

“Whether you’re thinking of continuing in full-time education, undertaking an apprenticeship or going straight into work, Working Wales and Careers Wales are there to help you along the way.”

For more information, search Working Wales Start Your Story or call free on 0800 028 4844.