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Advice to a 16 year old boy!

Discussion in 'Personal' started by dusty67, Aug 7, 2011.

  1. dusty67

    dusty67 New commenter

    Evening all, I could do with some advice with regard to my eldest son and how much to advise him with regard to his next steps career wise!

    A bit of background, my eldest is a really good kid. He's polite, well mannered, hard working and good at communicating with adults. He's never going to set the world on fire academically, but through hard work has already gained 4 GCSEs at Grade C, including maths. He's currently awaiting the results of the GCSEs he's taken this year. He's forecasted Cs, but I'm not sure if he'll get it in English.

    He is absolutely mad about trains and railways. His ultimate ambition is to be a Train Driver, (since a young age he's been able to advise you on the route you need to take if you need to get from one place to another by train. He's too young to apply for an apprenticeship with the Railways, so has secured a place at the local college to do Mechanical Engineering at Lv3. Which he plans to complete and then look for an apprenticeship for anything to do with the Railway (he'd do anything).

    So, here's where I'm struggling. My brother works in a large factory and they have an apprenticeship for a mechanical tool maker on advert at the moment. My brother says its a job for life, earning about 20K when fully qualified. He also says that he could make sure my son got the job, as long as there is no-one senior to my brother also wanting to find something for their relative!

    I've had some initial discussions with my eldest about the job, but at present have not influneced him either way.
    Pros (as I see it)
    It's a job (and there are so few of those around, especially for those without great qualifications)
    The end salary is ok (better than my husbands)
    He's achieved Grade c's because I've been on top of him and sweated blood through his revision. I won't be able to do that once he's on the course, so the course might be above him anyway!
    It's a job!!!

    Cons (as I see it)
    Would he be better doing the Lv3 course which then might lead to a better skilled/paid job
    The travelling would be hard initially (90 mins each way), until he learnt to drive
    Would the apprenticeship give him skills that he could use in following his dream
    Would he be better just following is dream? (The last thing I want is in 10 years he turns round and says he wished he'd not listened to me and done the course.)

    So, what advice would you give, or would you stand back and let him make a decision by himself?

    Do you know, it was much easier when the biggest decision to be made was whether to wear the Bob the Builder or Thomas the Tank jumper. I'm sure parenting gets harder as they get older!
     
  2. dusty67

    dusty67 New commenter

    Evening all, I could do with some advice with regard to my eldest son and how much to advise him with regard to his next steps career wise!

    A bit of background, my eldest is a really good kid. He's polite, well mannered, hard working and good at communicating with adults. He's never going to set the world on fire academically, but through hard work has already gained 4 GCSEs at Grade C, including maths. He's currently awaiting the results of the GCSEs he's taken this year. He's forecasted Cs, but I'm not sure if he'll get it in English.

    He is absolutely mad about trains and railways. His ultimate ambition is to be a Train Driver, (since a young age he's been able to advise you on the route you need to take if you need to get from one place to another by train. He's too young to apply for an apprenticeship with the Railways, so has secured a place at the local college to do Mechanical Engineering at Lv3. Which he plans to complete and then look for an apprenticeship for anything to do with the Railway (he'd do anything).

    So, here's where I'm struggling. My brother works in a large factory and they have an apprenticeship for a mechanical tool maker on advert at the moment. My brother says its a job for life, earning about 20K when fully qualified. He also says that he could make sure my son got the job, as long as there is no-one senior to my brother also wanting to find something for their relative!

    I've had some initial discussions with my eldest about the job, but at present have not influneced him either way.
    Pros (as I see it)
    It's a job (and there are so few of those around, especially for those without great qualifications)
    The end salary is ok (better than my husbands)
    He's achieved Grade c's because I've been on top of him and sweated blood through his revision. I won't be able to do that once he's on the course, so the course might be above him anyway!
    It's a job!!!

    Cons (as I see it)
    Would he be better doing the Lv3 course which then might lead to a better skilled/paid job
    The travelling would be hard initially (90 mins each way), until he learnt to drive
    Would the apprenticeship give him skills that he could use in following his dream
    Would he be better just following is dream? (The last thing I want is in 10 years he turns round and says he wished he'd not listened to me and done the course.)

    So, what advice would you give, or would you stand back and let him make a decision by himself?

    Do you know, it was much easier when the biggest decision to be made was whether to wear the Bob the Builder or Thomas the Tank jumper. I'm sure parenting gets harder as they get older!
     
  3. Never drink on an empty stomach.
    Sorry, that's it.
     
  4. dusty67

    dusty67 New commenter

    Oh Lilly, you're usually so sensible about bringing up kids! I was counting on your wisdom!!!!!!

    Guess I'll have to wait to your stomach is full of something more substantial :)
     
  5. lardylegs

    lardylegs Occasional commenter

    Go for the job, it's a job - a real live job! He might love it and forget all about the trains?
     
  6. I disagree 100%. What we have here is a young and ambitious man who wants to fight to make it. Sure, he may fail but as he will know he gave it all he had, he will accept that and be satisfied. OP, I don't mean to start a gender fight about how men and women think and act differently on this, but as a father myself and having been the same as your boy at 16 - let him try to become a train driver. You don't back off - you encourage him no matter what. Sounds a great lad to me.
     
  7. Ignorant question I suppose, but is there actually any future in trains unless you go abroad? Has there been a future in trains since the Beeching axe in fact?
    I would be inclined to say take the job. It has training attached and he might find the railways value that more than college when he attains the age they want anyway. Times are hard and likely to remain so for several years.
     
  8. I would check out very carefully the qualifications needed to be a train driver - you may be surprised! I'm pretty sure that he'd need at least a C in English for example. It is also a very anti-social job (shifts, long hours). A good memory for the rules and regulations is also required.
     
  9. Yes, there will be trains. He's 16 and a young adult who has shown that he knows what he wants and taken steps towards getting it - the decision should be his. Your role might be to help him recognise the advantages and disadvantages of both options but I's stay out of any recommendations. Does he want a job for life? He needs to talk to someone who knows about working for the railways as to whether the training and experience that comes with this job is more useful than the qualification. Has he looked for jobs in the railway to see what kind of thing they are looking for?
     
  10. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    I'm sorry, but for a moment there I thought the OP was summarising a 1960s kitchen sink drama where the lad wants to follow his dream and the family want him to go down t'pit ;-)

    This is the 21st century - there's no such thing as a job for life any more. Let your son follow his own plan, and if it doesn't work out at least he'll have the reassurance of knowing that he tried before reverting to plan B. How do you think he's going to feel if he went to the factory and has a few bad days or weeks there? I didn't want to do this anyway, I only got the place here because my uncle knew somebody and not through my own merits, I wish I'd gone for that engineering course at college etc etc.

    Also, if he's allowed to achieve his dream and become a train driver he could end up on a lot more than £20K a year - average train driver salary is £35K.

    I understand short term concerns about employment in the current economic climate - I have two kids who opted into Media degrees, but there's not always going to be a recession is there? He's got decades of working life ahead of him - surely he should have the chance to be happy in his work and to take the first steps towards that?
     
  11. Has your son registered on the apprenticeship website, www.apprenticeships.org.uk.
    I searched 'rail' and got these apprenticeships: https://apprenticeshipvacancymatchingservice.lsc.gov.uk/Navms/Forms/Vacancy/SearchVacancyResult.aspx?Query=ihEZovgkIik6TdmY9xU6nm2GWThOoeM%2fp9dUxT0xq%2bvmbOKzyvEbtUpSHLuassuEz066JLw3N7w5LiLk6fiG6ufhyUN5qpiPcr55DQjtdngwJtYGe1dbwvL6y%2btan4zvXmzGCzu%2b4HbLHqZ%2basKg80PrLadSsifUdESgjJ8y2%2bFwyjFhBmIoDiz5HSb9aEuYevE6EkQgLzkO0oCaGlUVn7e921S6SSNjW6NuawuvdUw3N1pcEigjyouBoMQ2fbmutowByNgMv00mgQRYCjLIkRcIVGD7gnM%2fBT8DTAmXSc%2beDm8A8n2kAZmszgV2NNM%2bKKt0kHPtmTeklpKh8mk57zKQSLf%2b1Q4t1%2bXN24mp12JH9fFDYKTLi3cP4ITkcIBWBsVjrNPF3DMScwOyXNscHQxZ8p31bcF03dG4Ijz126%2b4W177OEMjAqZkxsy8m%2bomGzObmEHEPEePtTgZPnyiAKVuyH7TWnb%2brUrJ04uaWZyep3%2bj45ZGrLzRStRVQPTvOR7e4BDJpIh9ggH38SZzzMOi2FViYruJ78DOkkJJFx0%3d
    Opps, sory about the long link!! Have no idea where you are so they may be unsuitable, refine your searcg criteria.
    It is all 'very in the media' that there are no jobs but there are apprenticerships out there especially for those with a level 2 qualification (5Cs at GCSE).
    My advice would be to start the college course and whilst there continiue to actively look for an apprenticeship in an area that he is genuiniely interested in, not one that may be good, is 90 minutes away and he actually may hate. He is 16 years old with a career in mind, don't rush him into any old 'job' at such a young age.
    Here's another link from a good webite www.eclips-online.co.uk (passowrd needed, if you want it I'll send it to you). This explains the route into becoming a train driver:
    http://www.eclips-online.co.uk/full_leaflet.php?leafletID=WD 01
    A quote form the article, if you can't be bthered to look through it all!
    "Apprenticeships in rail transport operations are available, leading to qualifications in the following areas: train driving, shunting, signal operations, control room operations and passenger services. Young people should contact their local Connexions/careers service for information." (Connexions is still around in some areas of the country)
     
  12. I am registered with the apprenticeship webite and can therefore look at further details of the apprenitcehips I linked you to. They are with various training providers including Siemans, Silver Track Training and Vision Apprentices, the entry requirements are Entry Level not 5Cs at GCSE.
    Go for it!!
     
  13. For the OP - the e clips link doesn't work without the password, so here's the information. The links need to be copied but hope this may help.
    The railway network carries millions of passengers, parcels and tonnes of freight each year. To meet the customers' needs, some routes operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Most rail companies recruit locally. There are opportunities at all qualification levels.
    The railway industry employs around 160,000 people in a wide range of jobs. Job titles and opportunities vary so much, with different employers, that it is impossible to list every job here. However, in broad terms, the industry is divided into four main sections.
    <h2>Train operating companies (TOCs)</h2>There are over 20 mainline TOCs responsible for operating passenger services. Each region of the country has its own TOC, and recruitment and training vary from one company to another. London and other big cities have additional local rail services, such as the London Underground.
    <h2>Freight operations</h2>Freight companies carry a variety of cargo across the UK and to European destinations, through the Channel Tunnel.
    <h2>Railway infrastructure</h2>Network Rail owns, operates and maintains the rail infrastructure. This includes over 22,000 miles of track, 30,000 signals, 10,000 miles of electrified lines and 18 key stations. TOCs manage the remaining 2,500 stations found across the UK.
    <h2>Support services</h2>These include catering, business systems, fire services, engineering, scientific services and rolling-stock provision.
    <h1>What it takes</h1><ul class="margin">[*]You need to be safety conscious &ndash; the railways can be a hazardous place to work and, in some jobs, lives depend on you!
    [*]Because some railway jobs can be dangerous and/or involve lots of responsibility, by law, you have to be a certain age to do this work. For instance, to learn to drive a train, you need to be aged 21 or over and for signalling work, you need to be at least 18. However, you can sometimes start training in related work before you reach these ages.
    [*]For some jobs, such as train driving, you need to be physically fit, with good eyesight and hearing. Other jobs, such as track work, involve a lot of heavy labour, so it's important to be strong and able to lift and carry. Normal colour vision is important for signalling work, driving, track and overhead line work, electrical work etc. You may have to pass medical tests.
    [*]You should be able to work under pressure and be able to concentrate on the job in hand; signals staff, for instance, are chosen for these personality traits.
    [*]For some jobs, you must be willing to work shifts, including evenings and weekends.
    [*]For some areas of work, you have to be prepared to undergo random drug and alcohol tests
    [*]You need to be good at dealing with people &ndash; especially important in jobs on board trains and at stations, where you work directly with the public.[/LIST]<h1>Railway operations</h1><h2>Train drivers</h2>Drivers usually work alone. They have to be very responsible and reliable, with quick reactions. Qualifications are not essential for entry, but good GCSEs in maths, English and science are useful. You have to pass a series of aptitude tests. Training to drive with a rail company takes up to 18 months. You can apply to drive a goods train, local commuter train or fast express, but you have to qualify to drive each different type of train. Drivers may work towards a Level 2 NVQ Diploma in rail services (driving).

    Shunting wagons into sidings, loading and discharging wagons etc may be carried out by platform staff, or, particularly in freight companies, by shunters. There is a Level 2 NVQ Certificate in rail services (shunting).

    Specially trained Eurostar drivers drive trains through the Channel Tunnel. Applicants need to have experience of driving high-speed trains. They also have to pass aptitude and personality tests. Drivers need to speak French to be able to communicate by radio with control centres.

    Eurotunnel employs train drivers for the shuttle service through the tunnel. Entrants are usually staff who have experience as shuttle train crew and who are then provided with full driver training.
    <h2>Conductors</h2>Conductors (also known as guards or train managers) are responsible for the safety of the train and its passengers. They deal with passenger enquiries, check tickets, make announcements and check the train's equipment, such as the heating and lighting systems. Good communication skills and the ability to deal effectively with passengers are important. Conductors (and station staff &ndash; see below) may work towards a Level 2 NVQ Diploma in rail services (passenger services).
    <h2>Station staff</h2>Various jobs exist in stations. All station staff have contact with the public, and often answer queries.

    Station officers or station assistants make announcements over the public address system, operate destination boards, and display posters and timetables. They may also help passengers with luggage, unload parcels from trains, keep the platforms clean and tidy and ensure that trains arrive and depart safely and on time. Some station assistants check tickets at the barrier and carry out other security checks. They also have to respond effectively to any incidents and emergencies. Duties and entry requirements vary from company to company &ndash; some do not require academic qualifications, while a few may ask for some GCSEs at grades A*-C. Station assistants may be employed by Network Rail or the TOCs.

    Station managers are responsible for everything &ndash; including passengers, staff, and ticket income &ndash; at their station.

    Train despatchers are employed at some stations, specifically to ensure passengers are safely aboard and all doors are shut before signalling to the driver to leave.

    There are also opportunities in catering, and work as a steward or stewardess at stations or on trains. You would either be employed by a TOC or a contract catering firm.
    <h2>Control rooms, signals and planning and scheduling</h2>Some employees have important behind-the-scenes roles controlling the work of the rail system.
    <ul class="margin">[*]Control room staff: fleet allocation and maintenance provision &ndash; working for TOCs, they coordinate the movement of trains across their network. They ensure that the correct rolling stock is in the right place at the right time, and that crews are available. They deal with problems such as crew shortages and delays. They make sure that faults are investigated and routine maintenance is carried out according to a schedule. Control room staff are responsible for the safety of many thousands of passengers. For entry, most companies ask for some qualifications, such as GCSEs at grades A*-C in English and maths. Control room staff may work towards a Level 2 NVQ Diploma in rail services (control room operations).
    [*]Control room staff: signal and electrical control are responsible for overall control of the signalling operations, and they check and control the supply of electricity. People often start as signal operators and work their way up to control room operations. They may also work towards a Level 2 NVQ Diploma in rail services (control room operations).
    [*]There are no set entry requirements to work as a signal operator, but applicants take aptitude tests. The ability to maintain high levels of concentration is important. Signals vary from hand-operated levers to computerised systems. Entrants undertake an initial, full-time training course lasting several weeks, followed by continuous skills updating. There is a Level 2 NVQ Diploma in rail services (signal operations).
    [*]Planning and scheduling departments create the schedules and timetables for the train drivers to follow. Schedules have to be worked out well in advance.[/LIST]<h2>Apprenticeships </h2>Apprenticeships in rail transport operations are available, leading to qualifications in the following areas: train driving, shunting, signal operations, control room operations and passenger services. Young people should contact their local Connexions/careers service for information.
    <h1>Engineering work</h1>Railway engineers work on design, construction and maintenance in three broad areas.
    <ul class="margin">[*]Civil engineering &ndash; railway track, embankments, bridges, tunnels, stations and other buildings and structures.
    [*]Controls and communications engineering &ndash; mechanical, electrical and electronic equipment.
    [*]Mechanical and electrical engineering &ndash; track and systems, engines and rolling stock.[/LIST]
    Incorporated and chartered engineers have higher education qualifications in subjects such as mechanical, electrical, electronic, communications or civil engineering. They undertake further learning and experience to become members of appropriate professional engineering bodies. Sponsorships are sometimes available to undergraduate engineers, who can combine degree course work with periods of practical training in their holidays, or with the industrial experience gained during a sandwich course.

    Sheffield Hallam University offers, in conjunction with Network Rail and other employers, a foundation degree in railway engineering. Students must be sponsored by an employer. The course is studied part time over three years. With extra part-time study, it's possible to top up the foundation degree to an honours degree. Also available from Sheffield Hallam University is a BEng in railway technology, which can be studied over three years full time, or over four years including a one year work placement.

    Graduate training schemes are offered by Network Rail in civil, mechanical and electrical engineering. Other specialist engineering companies may also offer graduate training schemes.

    Technicians work on the complex jobs in signalling and telecommunications, mechanical, electrical and civil engineering. Entry qualifications vary, but may be four GCSEs at grades A*-C &ndash; including English, maths and science &ndash; or equivalent.

    Craft trainees are needed for a range of mechanical and electrical work. There are no specific entry qualifications, although an ability in maths and science is important. Some employers may ask for particular GCSE grades. Training takes around three years, and may be based away from the trainee's home area. Trainee technicians and craft workers can work towards NVQs at levels 2 and 3 in railway engineering.

    Apprenticeships and Advanced Apprenticeships in rail transport engineering involve training based with an employer. They lead to qualifications at level 2 or 3 respectively. Local Connexions/careers services can provide information for young people. Network Rail offers an Advanced Apprenticeship specialising in track, signalling, telecoms or electrification and plant engineering. You spend the first year at the Network Rail Training Centre, based within a Royal Navy residential training centre in Gosport. This is followed by two years' training with your local, experienced maintenance team, leading to level 3 qualifications in railway engineering. Applicants need four GCSEs at grades A*-C, including maths, English and science/engineering, or equivalent qualifications. For more information, and to apply online, see:
    www.everydaybrilliance.co.uk
    <h2>Track and overhead line workers</h2>They maintain the railway track and electrical power lines. The work is heavy, involving much lifting and bending. Qualifications are not essential for entry, but you will be expected to have a good general standard of education. You may have to pass an aptitude test.
    <h2>Railway fitters and electricians</h2>These workers are responsible for maintaining and repairing locomotives and rolling stock. Fitters and electricians also have to maintain the back-up equipment &ndash; the cranes, lifts, power supplies and pumps. Entry qualifications vary with each depot, GCSEs in English, maths and science are often required to start training with an employer.
    <h1>Administration</h1>Administrative staff are employed in all areas of the industry, from the local station to a TOC's headquarters. They handle:
    <ul class="margin">[*]customer enquiries
    [*]human resource matters
    [*]ticket booking and issuing
    [*]travel consultancy queries (perhaps at a call/contact centre)
    [*]the compilation of duty rosters
    [*]accounts work
    [*]other administrative tasks.[/LIST]
    Entry requirements vary. For some positions, employers ask for four GCSEs at grades A*-C, including English and maths, or equivalent. Those with A levels, a BTEC National qualification, or equivalent, may start at a higher level. Applicants without the stated minimum entry qualifications may be able to take a test.

    Individual railway companies may offer suitable training programmes, including Apprenticeships and Advanced Apprenticeships. Young people should ask for details at their local Connexions/careers service.
    <h1>Management</h1>All organisations in the railway industry require managers. Opportunities exist in catering, control and communications, engineering, finance and accountancy, general management, human resources, research and development, supplies management, and surveying. You can get into many management positions by promotion from within the industry.

    Management training schemes are available to graduates of any discipline, for general management. Graduates of transport, logistics, business or maths are particularly sought for operational planning, and graduates of health and safety-related courses for safety and environmental management. Network Rail offers graduate training programmes in commercial property, finance, operations and customer services, information management, contracts and procurement, and project management. Other companies may also run graduate training schemes.
    <h1>Prospects and pay</h1>There are opportunities for promotion within the industry to senior positions, based on experience and achievement. Some station staff and train crew may get the chance to train as drivers.

    Salaries vary between the companies. Experienced drivers can earn &pound;25-35,000+. Technicians, fitters and electricians are paid around &pound;13-28,000. Graduates with Network Rail start on at least &pound;24,000, and their Advanced Apprentices start at &pound;8,400, rising to around &pound;14,000 in the third year. Pay rates for station assistants and conductors depend on their job role and experience, but range from &pound;15-25,000. Signallers earn around &pound;19-25,000. There are sometimes perks, such as free or cheap rail travel.

    Adults: The railway industry often recruits people with relevant experience. If you are unemployed, ask at your local Jobcentre Plus for information about training programmes for adults.
    <h2>For further information<a name="further">[/URL]</h2>GoSkills &ndash; tel: 0121 635 5520 0121 635 5520. The Sector Skills Council for passenger transport.
    www.goskills.org

    www.careersinpassengertransport.org

    Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) &ndash; tel: 020 7841 8000 020 7841 8000. A list of TOCs can be found on:
    www.atoc.org


    Network Rail
    www.networkrail.co.uk


    For information on Network Rail's graduate training schemes, tel: 0845 601 4228 0845 601 4228. You can also view information on these and apply online at:
    www.networkrailgraduates.co.uk


    Eurotunnel
    www.eurotunnel.com


    London Underground &ndash; tel: 020 7222 5600 020 7222 5600. Part of Transport for London. Offers Apprenticeships in customer services and graduate schemes in a range of disciplines.
    www.tfl.gov.uk/tube


    DB Schenker Rail (UK) &ndash; tel: 0870 140 5000 0870 140 5000. A major rail operator involved in engineering, hire and freight services.
    www.rail.dbschenker.co.uk


    The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (UK) &ndash; tel: 01536 740100 01536 740100.
    www.ciltuk.org.uk


    Working in Transport & Logistics &ndash; published by Babcock Lifeskills, &pound;8.50. Includes a profile of a railway customer service representative.
     
  14. I thought EXACTLY the same. Had an image of the lad when he's about 25 doing a "Saturday night, Sunday morning" scenario and getting drunk just to get away from the horrors of his job!

    I say let him do what he wants. At 16 he has the world awaiting him and as he has got some Cs already in his GCSEs he is clearly capable of things other than what nepotism can bring him. I think the lad needs some good careers advice and should be allowed to follow HIS dream and not security in a low paid job. BTW what IS a job for life today?

    I wish him well.
     
  15. dusty67

    dusty67 New commenter

    Thanks very much for all your comments.

    Husband very much of the thought that we should leave him to follow his heart but I'm a person who likes security. I've never been without a job (started a Saturday job when I was 13), I find the concept of not having a mapped out path hardAlso, I've worried about this son since he was very young as he was always shy, unconfident and socially awkward. However, he's grown into a fantastic young man, who can hold his own in most situations. He still doesn't have many friends his own age, and he never seems to go out socially. He spends most of his free time train spotting and through this he does have a community he is actively involved in. I think being a mum of teenagers is so much harder than being a mum of younger children. Knowing when to let go is really hard, and I don't like it! You want so much for your children to have success, and you worry so much about whether they will ever be able to afford somewhere decent to live etc. Things were hard for us as teenagers, but I think its even harder today

    Thanks very much gigirl for all those links, I'll certainly be investigating them.
     
  16. He is 16, old enough to make a descision but young enough forguidance. Sit him down wiht HIS pros and cons.
    Taking either the college course or the apprenticship will not stop him being a train driver and either would help.

    BTW so nice for a kid to have a 'normal' ambition not think they are going to win X factor or be a super model
     
  17. My son is 18, I wish he had any clue as to what path to take. I've had jobs where you spend the day clock watching, it's depressing. Much better to be doing something you enjoy -with the retirement age upping he could be doing it for over 50 years!
     
  18. My pleasure, I work for Connexions in an area where it's still operating, so your concerns are those I hear all the time. My main advice is to let your son make the decision, with good advice and guidance he'll hopefully make the right choice. (But if he doesn't he's young and it'll all add to life experiences. [​IMG]
     

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