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Article: Your options at the end of year 11

Summary

This article looks at what you can do when you leave Year 11. It gives information on taking further qualifications, following a training programme and finding employment. There's also advice on how you can make the best decision for you.

What are the choices?

When you start to look at what you can do when you finish Year 11, it can seem bewildering. The main choices you have when you leave school are:

  • carry on studying for qualifications
  • do some training, leading to a work-related qualification. This could be done on an apprenticeship
  • find a job (which must include training)

If you think about it, you already have some experience of making choices about your future - when you decided which GCSEs to take, for example. The things you thought about then - what you enjoyed learning, what you were good at, what you thought would be useful - are the things you need to think about now.

Continuing with education

If you want to continue studying, you might be able to stay on at your school, or you could consider going to a sixth form college or a college of further education. These colleges might have a wider choice of subjects available than your own school, so it could be worth looking around.

Courses you could do include AS levels, A levels, GCSEs, and (Edexcel) BTEC, OCR or City & Guilds vocational qualifications.

If you're thinking of going to university, you'll need to take A levels or equivalent level 3 qualifications. Some schools and colleges offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma as an alternative route to higher education (HE).

Getting some training

Colleges, training providers (companies that train people for other companies) and employers all provide training. The main difference is that if you do your training by going to college, you won't get paid, but if you're training with an employer, you usually will.

There might be a bit of overlap, because some employers will send you on day- or block-release to college and some colleges will help you to find work experience placements. Good schemes should lead to a qualification that's recognised anywhere in the country.

If you're looking for a job with training (rather than going to college), you could do an Intermediate Level or Advanced Level Apprenticeship. These are available in a very wide range of areas, including engineering, hairdressing, agriculture, customer service, marketing and health - clinical healthcare support.

For information about Apprenticeships, please see the Apprenticeships website in 'Further Information'.

Getting a job

Leaving school to get a job can be very tempting, as this offers the chance to earn some 'real money'. But remember that what might seem like a good wage now may not be quite as good in a few years' time.

In England, if you do decide to work you must also work towards an accredited qualification.

Deciding on the best option

Firstly, you need to think about yourself - your strengths and weaknesses and what you hope to achieve in the short- and long-term. You need to consider what your GCSE results are likely to be, whether your skills are in academic or practical areas (or a mixture of the two) and how much, or how little, training you want to do before or during work.

Then, you need to get more information on the options that are available in your area. You can find out more from your Careers Teacher or Careers Adviser at school.

Colleges and training providers often have open days where you can look around and find out more about courses. These are a good opportunity to take a good look at the place and maybe talk to students who're already studying or training there. Your school should have information on these open days.

Getting some training (Apprenticeships)

Colleges, training providers (companies that train people for other companies) and employers all provide training. The main difference is that if you do your training by going to college, you won't get paid, but if you're training with an employer, you usually will.

There might be a bit of overlap, because some employers will send you on day- or block-release to college and some colleges will help you to find work experience placements. Good schemes should lead to a qualification that's recognised anywhere in the country.

If you're looking for a job with training (rather than going to college), you could apply for an Apprenticeship. These are available in a very wide range of areas, including engineering, hairdressing, agriculture, customer service, marketing and health - clinical healthcare support.

At 16 it is likely that you will be interested in an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship.

For information about Apprenticeships, please see the Apprenticeships and Careers Wales websites in 'Further Information'

Further Information

Apprenticeships: Get In. Go Far

National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)

Tel: 0800 015 0400

Email: nationalhelpdesk@findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk

Website: www.apprenticeships.org.uk

What Next After School? All you need to know about work, travel and study

Author: Elizabeth Holmes Publisher: Kogan Page

Choosing Your A Levels

Author: Cerys Evans Publisher: Trotman

Website: www.careerpilot.org.uk/information/a-levels/choosing-your-a-levels-what-you-need-to-consider

Careers Wales (Provides careers information, advice and guidance)

Website: www.careerswales.com

Welsh Government Education & Skills

Website: www.wales.gov.uk

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