Post 16 options | National Careers Service (2022)

You can leave school on the last Friday in June if you'll be 16 by the end of the summer holidays. You must then choose whether to:

  • stay in full-time education - for example at school, sixth form college, further education college or University Technical College (UTC)
  • start an apprenticeship or traineeship
  • spend 20 hours or more a week working or volunteering while also doing part-time education or training

Your local authority has a duty to make sure you are offered a suitable place by the end of September. This is known as the September Guarantee. Contact your local authority for information on who can help find you a suitable offer.

You may be eligible for the 16 to 19 Bursary Fund, which can help with things like books, travel or equipment if you will struggle with education or training costs.

(Video) Department for Education Post-16 Choices Animation

If you have anEducation Health and Care (EHC) plan, you can get support to choose your next steps and extra help when you are in education, training or work.

Stay in full-time education

You could take a range of subjects that lead to qualifications that keep your options open, like GCSE or A levels. Courses like T Levels or BTEC allow you to focus on a chosen career area like construction, healthcare science or digital careers. Some careers may ask for specific qualifications, so always do some research into where the course you are interested in might lead.

Combine work and study

Gain practical skills, get work experience and a qualification that employers need.

Stay in full-time education

A levels

  • Description:Carry on studying subjects you took for GCSE to a higher level, or pick new ones you may not have done before like economics, law or psychology. You could take 3 very different subjects you are interested in to keep your career options open or choose more closely related subjects if you you need them for a specific career.
  • Duration:2 years
  • Assessment:Mostly exams at the end of the course
  • Level of study:3
  • Entry requirements: Typically 5 GCSEs Grade 9-4 (usually including English and maths)
  • Work experience: Your school or college may offer short periods of work experience, usually during year 12
  • Leads to:University or college courses, higher and degree apprenticeships, work
  • Find out more: UCAS Information about A levels
(Video) What to do After Year 11? Post-16 Options

T Levels

  • Description:Designed in partnership with employers to give you the skills and knowledge to get on in the workplace. You'll combine classroom learning with real work placements. 1 T Level is the equivalent of 3 A levels.
  • Duration:2 years
  • Assessment:Exams, projects and practical assignments
  • Level of study:3
  • Entry requirements:Course dependent
  • Work experience: At least 45 days on industry placement
  • Leads to: Work, higher and degree apprenticeships, college and university courses
  • Find out more: information about T Levels

Vocational and technical qualifications

  • Description:These courses teach you the practical skills and knowledge for a particular area of employment. They can prepare you for a broad employment sector, like engineering or travel and tourism, or for a specific job like a chef or a hairdresser. Qualifications which teach you how to do tasks specifically related to the industry and role you want to be involved in.
  • Duration:1 or more years
  • Assessment:Can include coursework, skills tests and exams
  • Level of study:1+
  • Entry requirements:Course dependent
  • Work experience:You'll learn in real situations in college, for example in a college restaurant or a salon that is open to the public. You may also have the chance to go out on a work placement with an employer.
  • Leads to:Apprenticeship, work, college or university
  • Find out more: Speak to your local college or training provider or talk to an adviser

Applied qualifications

  • Description:Qualifications that give you a broad overview of working in a specific sector, like business, media, engineering, leisure or science and technology. A mix of classroom-based learning with the chance to get some practical skills.
  • Duration:Course dependent
  • Assessment:Course dependent (coursework and exams)
  • Level of study: 3
  • Entry requirements:Course dependent
  • Work experience:Course dependent
  • Leads to:University/college, apprenticeship, work
  • Find out more: information about applied qualifications

Exam retakes

  • Description:If you didn't get the results you wanted, you can resit some of your courses or sign up for some new qualifications.
  • Location: School sixth form, sixth form college or further education college
  • Duration:1 year
  • Entry requirements:16+
  • Qualifications: Level 2 and 3 qualifications like GCSE, A level and BTEC
  • Leads to:Higher level or degree apprenticeship, further education, higher education, work
  • Find out more: Speak to your school or college careers leader or careers adviser or our careers advisers
(Video) NCS Portal में Job क्यों नही मिल रही |National Career Service Registration 2022 | NCS Portal kya hai

Combine work and study


  • Description:A course that includes a work placement that will get you ready for an apprenticeship or a job. You’ll get work experience and some help to apply for your next steps. You can also improve your maths and English skills. You’ll get work experience and some help to apply for whatever you do next.
  • Location:You’ll spend a minimum of 70 hours in a work placement with the rest of your time in college or a training centre
  • Duration:6 weeks to 1 year
  • Entry requirements: You need to be aged between 16 to 24 or up to 25 with an Education Health and Care Planwith no higher than a level 3 qualification
  • Qualifications:English, maths, digital and work-related qualifications
  • Leads to:Apprenticeship, further education, work
  • Find out more:
    • ask your local college or training provider
    • speak to your school careers adviser
    • speak to your Jobcentre Plus adviser if you receive benefits
    • find a traineeship in your area

Supported internships

  • Description:Supported internships are for young people with learning difficulties or learning disabilities, who need extra support to get a job.
  • Location:You'll spend most of your time on placements with an employer, learning skills for work. You'll also get help from a tutor and a job coach in college or with a specialist provider.
  • Duration: A minimum of 6 months
  • Entry requirements:Aged 16-24 with an Education Health and Care Plan
  • Qualifications:GCSE English and maths
  • Leads to:Work, traineeship, apprenticeship
  • Find out more:
    • from your school or local college
    • speak to your social worker or a transition worker
    • speak to your Jobcentre Plus adviser


  • Description:Intermediate, advanced higher and degree apprenticeships combine practical on-the-job skills training with off-the-job learning. You'll get training that is relevant to your job and be paid a salary. Start at a level to suit you, with support if you have special needs or a disability.
  • Location:You’ll spend 80% of your time in the workplace and 20% off-the-job with some study in a college, training centre or Institute of Technology (IoT)
  • Duration: Aminimum of 1 year
  • Entry requirements: Will be dependent on the industry, job role and apprenticeship level
  • Qualifications: apprenticeship certificate, diploma, degree and masters depending on level
  • Leads to: Work, next level of apprenticeship, further education, higher education
  • Find out more: information about Apprenticeships

School leaver schemes

  • Description:A chance to learn and train with a large company while earning a wage. Offered in sectors like accountancy, engineering, finance, IT, law, leisure and retail. Similar to graduate employment schemes run over a longer period of time.
  • Location:You'll often rotate between different locations with the same company to get experience and it can include distance learning or time in college or university
  • Duration: 3 to 7 years
  • Entry requirements:Usually high grade A levels or equivalent and a keen interest in the sector you want to work in
  • Qualifications: A university degree and/or professional qualification
  • Leads to: Professional employment
  • Find out more: Directly from company websites
(Video) Post 16 Options
(Video) #Post16CareersWeek | Virtual Exhibition | National Careers Service - Stand 45


What can I do after a Level 3 diploma? ›

Your main options after you have finished your level-3 studies are to:
  1. apply for a university course.
  2. take a gap year.
  3. look for a job.
  4. apply for an apprenticeship.
  5. spend some time volunteering or gaining experience.

Do you have to pay for college at 16 UK? ›

Further Education tuition is free for 16–19 year olds. Students of this age go to college for all sorts of courses, such as A levels, vocational courses, Art foundation and apprenticeships.

What can you do after sixth form? ›

Options after sixth form or college
  • higher education.
  • apprenticeships.
  • school leaver programmes.
  • employment.
  • gap year.

What does post 16 options mean? ›

Post-16 options are full-time education (e.g. at a school or college), an apprenticeship or traineeship, or part-time education or training - as well as being employed, self-employed or volunteering for 20 hours or more a week.

What is a post 16 qualification? ›

There are three types of qualifications Post 16: Academic, Vocational and Occupational. Most people focus on one of these but occasionally students study more than one.

What age is college no longer free UK? ›

Many courses in reading, writing and basic maths are free, and you may not have to pay for tuition if you're under 24 and studying for your first qualification equivalent to GCSE or A level. Find out about financial support, for example for your course or day-to-day living costs.

What age can you dropout of school UK? ›

You can leave school on the last Friday in June if you'll be 16 by the end of the summer holidays. You must then do one of the following until you're 18: stay in full-time education, for example at a college. start an apprenticeship or traineeship.

Can you go to college without GCSEs? ›

To answer in short: can you get into college with no GCSEs? Yes, you can. Now, that's not to say that it will be easy, and there will be financial costs along the way, but it is encouraging to know that there are alternative routes to college out there.

Can I get a full time job at 16 instead of college? ›

Some teenagers wonder if it is okay to leave school or college with the intention of working on a job full-time. In reality, it is not legal to get a full-time job before a student hits the school leaving age.

What happens if I don't stay in education until 18 UK? ›

This is a curious situation. On the face of it, the law has been changed so that 16-year-olds must stay in education or training until they are 18. But what happens if you break the law? Nothing.

How many hours is full-time education post 16? ›

Option one is to study full-time at school, college or with a training provider. The definition of full-time participation is at least 540 hours a year; this is around 18 hours per week.

Can you go from sixth form to university? ›

University is a common choice for those leaving Sixth Form, and in many ways that makes perfect sense. In a way it is a continuation of the academic path you have been taking since you first went to school. You can specialise your learning while also getting some new-found freedom by moving away from home.

DO YOU NEED A Levels to go to university? ›

Although A Levels are primarily for those seeking to get into university, yes it is possible to get to university without A levels and qualify for a university course. An Access to Higher Education (Access to HE) course is a flexible way of getting into university and suits those who are returning to education.

What jobs can I get with just A Levels? ›

A-level School Leaver jobs
  • Nursery Practitioner level 3 qualified. ...
  • Excellent school leaver opportunity - Laboratory technician - DMPK. ...
  • Apprentice Air Conditioning Engineer. ...
  • FX Desk Junior. ...
  • Apprentice - Aspiring Leader. ...
  • Apprentice - Networks Engineering (Level 4) ...
  • In school Maths/English/Science Tutors (would suit gap year)

Is Post 16 sixth form? ›

The September that comes after young people turn 16, is when the Post 16 Service welcome you to the post 16 cohort. This is when most young people start year 12, this could be sixth form, further education college, an apprenticeship, or employment with training.

Do I have to stay in education after 16? ›

School leaving age

Children can leave school on the last Friday in June of the school year in which they reach 16 years of age. They must however do one of the following until they are 18: stay in full-time education, e.g. at a college. start an apprenticeship or traineeship.

What options are available to children that leave school at 16? ›

What are the choices for my child at 16?
  • Full time education at a school or college e.g. A Levels or Vocational Qualifications;
  • A 'T Level' - new two year Level 3 qualifications - equivalent to 3 x A levels, delivered in college and related to a job role.
  • An apprenticeship or traineeship.

What is the next course after diploma? ›

After Polytechnic, the students can go for lateral entry to the second year of B. Tech in the stream which they prefer. The candidate should have pursued 12th or Diploma from a recognised institute. The candidates can also go for a lateral entry admission to B.E. in the preferred stream of Engineering.

What follows after a diploma? ›

Postgraduate qualifications are structured as follows:

Postgraduate diploma. Master's degree (coursework) Master's degree (research) Doctoral degree.

What to study after getting a diploma? ›

Boost your skills by studying any one of the following courses:
  • Business Management Courses.
  • Educare Courses.
  • Financial Management Courses.
  • Human Resource Management Courses.
  • Legal Secretary Courses.
  • Management Assistant Courses.
  • Marketing Management Courses.
Sep 6, 2022

Which degree is better after diploma? ›

Bachelor of Technology is the best course to pursue after completing diploma. It is generally recommended to diploma holders to apply for the B. Tech course which I will also recommend to you. There will be no need to pursue the 4 years of B.


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