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Choices at 16 - Making the right decision

Decisions, decisions. ...during Year 11 you will be making some pretty major ones about your future. This is the chance for you to decide what you want to do.


So what are the choices?

  • Stay on in full-time education - either at school, college or sixth form centre
  • Start an Apprenticeship or a job with training - earning and learning at the same time.


Staying in full-time education

General qualifications

This includes A/AS levels International Baccalaureate (IB) or maybe more GCSEs.

These type of courses could be for you if you:

  • have a strong interest in taking particular subjects further
  • need specific subjects for the career you want to do
  • don't want to commit yourself to a particular career but keep your options open

A wide range of subjects are available and you can combine general courses with more applied ones if you wish.

Applied and Technical level courses

Applied and Technical qualifications can be studied at different levels and are recognised through Awards, Certificates and Diplomas.

These courses are provided by a range of exam boards e.g. OCR, BTEC

This may be the route for you if you:

  • have an interest in a broad career area and want to find out more
  • you're sure that you want to train for a particular career
  • want to know a definite progression route
  • learn better when study is applied
  • you want to develop your skills and knowledge before getting a job
  • you need to get relevant qualifications before starting work

There are courses available at different levels and where you start will depend on the GCSE grades you get.

Personalised programmes

Personalised programmes of learning are designed to help young people develop their skills and prepare for work, training or a course at college. These programmes combine learning about an area of work or subject, developing personal and social skills and improving skills in English, Math and ICT.

There is a requirement with personalised programmes of learning that any student who gained a  D in English or Maths will have to re-sit these at post 16.

Personalised programmes are made up of units which can lead to qualifications at entry level or level 1.

Personalised programmes may be offered by schools, colleges or work-based learning providers.



More information to help you decide if staying on in full-time
education is the right choice for you



Other things to think about


Start an Apprenticeship or job with training

Apprenticeships combine working and training,to gain relevant qualifications. There are opportunities in different sorts of jobs from retail to warehouse carpentry to catering and more.

For more information about Apprenticeships check out our Apprenticeships page

Whatever you do try and keep on learning as jobs without training usually offer lower pay and fewer prospects.

Making these choices can seem bewildering but there is plenty of help and support around.

Who can help?

  • Your school or college - your teachers can help you with your choices and give you realistic advice on what you may achieve
  • Your careers co-ordinator - can help you find out about career plans and entry requirements
  • Parents/carers - know what makes you tick
  • Friends - can all support each other making choices
  • Information Adviser - if you want to talk over your plans with an Adviser contact your nearest Youth Support Centre


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