Options after Post-16
At college or in the sixth form? If you start planning and researching early what to do next, it could save you loads of pressure and stress later on. Check out our Year 13 calendar to find out what happens when. The main options to think about at 18+ are:
Further Education (FE)
An extra year at an FE College is an option if you want to boost your grades, gain more skills or improve existing ones. You'll need to check with individual colleges to see if there would be a charge for this additional education. For further info ask your local FE college for a prospectus.
At 18 you can still go into work-based learning. This option usually involves taking recognised courses such as apprenticeships. With an advanced apprenticeship it's likely that you would work towards an NVQ level 3 qualification. You would spend most of your time at work and some time at either a college or a training centre. It's possible to take apprenticeships in a wide variety of job areas.
Higher Education (HE)
If you're thinking about higher education you'll probably be looking to go to either an HE college or a university. There are a range of HE qualifications in 100's of different subjects and subject combinations. Higher education could be for you if you need a degree for the career you want to enter or if you want to study a subject or set of subjects in more depth. It could also be a route to consider if you're unsure about your future career and want to keep your options open.
Jobs for 18 year olds vary depending on where you live and the type and level of work you're looking for. The wider and more flexible your search the more likely you are to find something suitable. Some firms advertise management or other traineeships for holders of A Levels (or equivalent) but there's often a lot of competition for these vacancies. To avoid ending up in a 'dead end job' it's worth checking that there's the opportunity to work towards extra qualifications.
Many young people choose to take a 'gap year' between finishing sixth form or college and starting higher education. There’s a range of things that you could do such as travelling, volunteering or paid employment. You could consider it as an option if you want to travel before entering higher education or need a bit of time before you decide what to do next. It could also be an option if you need to earn some money or get some work experience before you enter HE. If you plan on taking a gap year before entering HE you will need to decide whether or not to apply for an HE course this year and defer entry until next year.