When you start your ABE Level 5 or Level 6 qualification one of the things you will need to think about is which optional units to choose. If you go on to a Bachelors or Masters programme these too may well require you to select from a list of several subject options.
For some making this choice will be easy but for others making a final selection can be difficult and stressful. It can feel like a big responsibility. Your choice can shape the types of roles you are most likely to be considered for and therefore the way in which your career could develop. Your selection may also lead you in a particular direction for future areas of study or higher level qualifications. For these reasons it is important that you have weighed up all the options and worked out what is right for you. So, if you are finding selecting optional units a daunting prospect, here are some ideas about how to approach this.
1. Understand your choices. Read the syllabus and learning outcomes of all the optional units don’t just rely on the unit title. Whilst the title is a reflection of the unit, it won’t give you a full picture of all aspects and areas of study and, with just a title to go on, it is too easy to make assumptions, so to fully understand your options make sure you really understand the content of each unit.
2. Understand yourself. Think about the subjects you liked and did well at previously, think about the sort of things you enjoy doing, what you want to learn and the areas where you shine. If you enjoy your subjects you are likely to do well at them and ultimately this could lead you build a career in a field you love.
3. Think about your ambitions. If you have a particular ambition or area of work you aspire to, find out what skills and expertise employers in that sector would value most and this may help you narrow down your choices.
4. Identify opportunities. If you don’t yet have a specific career path you want to follow find out what sort of skills would be valued in different roles. Also find out if employers feel there is a skills shortage or high volume of work opportunities in any of the areas covered by the optional units. If there are, gaining those skills could be a route to quick success.
5. Talk to your tutor. Tutors at ABE accredited centres are well placed to give you good advice from a local view point.
For points 3 and 4, a good employment agency should be able to advise. But talk to several so that you benefit from more than one perspective. Also keep an eye on job advertisements.
Finally, remember there is no right or wrong choice - all units will develop your knowledge and add to your professional skill set. These are just some ideas if you are finding it difficult to narrow things down – we hope you found them helpful and wish you all the best with your choices.