Exam season is in full swing for most schools across the UK, and it’s time to think about the future. There are a lot of different choices out there for children leaving secondary education. In September 2015 the law changed, meaning young people could not leave education, training or employment with training until they were 18 years old. This law has opened up lots more options to 16 year olds.
Want to study full-time?
The most common option for most 16 year olds is continuing with full-time education, either in the form of A Levels or BTEC courses.
The key points of A Levels are:
BTECs are more work related courses and are considered more vocational than A Levels. The idea is that they teach more practical skills for employment after education. The options are also extremely varied. Courses in Business, Childcare, Health and Social Care, Hospitality, Public Services and much more. Depending on the qualification you take, you can enter further education, training, employment and you can even go to university.
Apprenticeships and Traineeships
Apprenticeships are a chance to earn a wage whilst learning skills in the area of employment you are in. Level 2 Apprenticeships can also assist you in getting further qualifications if you want to go on to do Level 3 courses (such as A Levels and BTEC courses).
Traineeships are courses that can last from 6 weeks to 6 months, they prepare you for applying for apprenticeships or other jobs. They provide you with essential job preparation such as literacy and numeracy skills and work experience in the direction you are taking.
Training or volunteering alongside part time education
There is an option to combine training and work alongside your studies. Colleges can supply part time courses in A Levels or BTECs with employment options so you can earn a wage whilst learning at the same time. Usually, with these options, you will work for a minimum of 20 hours a week with study time to further improve your work skills. But it does not need to be just paid work for this option, you can also volunteer as well as study part time to better your skills.
You can visit this really helpful website called Do-It to search a national database of volunteering opportunities.
Careers advice is an option in most secondary schools across the UK, and there are many websites out there to help you make the decision. The best thing to do, is to know all of your options, have a chat with someone with some experience if you can, and figure out which is right for YOU.