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School Leavers – Your Options at 16

School Leavers – Your Options at 16

Think carefully about the options open to you after year 11 before deciding on your next steps. There are many college courses, apprenticeships and training programmes to choose from. Find out about your options so you can compare them and decide what will suit you.

How to find out about your options:

  • Look on college websites, attend college open events, and talk to your careers adviser in school. Use the careers websites on the other side of this page to research A levels, BTECs, and Apprenticeships.
  • Talk to your family and teachers about your options, as they know you well and what may best suit you.

Courses start at different levels depending on your GCSE grades – a level 4 equals a Pass (C)

Types of courses & training offered:

Vocational Learning – BTEC Diplomas

  • This is a mixture of hands on learning, classroom learning and work experience
  • You are assessed through course work and exams
  • Courses directly relate to a career area like childcare, social care, I.T, hospitality and public services
  • There are different levels of Diploma (Level 1, 2 and 3) depending on your GCSE results

Academic – A Levels

  • Are more classroom and exam based and you usually choose 3 or 4 subjects
  • Most are now linear and you study for 2 years before taking your A Level exam
  • You can choose subjects that you did at GCSE, or you could choose different subjects that you have not done before like Law, Psychology, and Sociology
  • To get onto most A Level courses you will need to achieve at least 5 GCSE’s at grade A*-C (9-4 ) including Maths and English, with a 5/6 in the subject you wish to study. Some colleges may ask for higher grades so always check individual college entry requirements


  • This type of learning involves on-the-job practical training
  • You would usually go to college or a training provider one day a week then work for 4 days a week with an employer at their premises
  • You can do an apprenticeship in many career areas. To find out more look on the apprenticeship web site
  • You may have to find your work placement yourself and competition for vacancies is high, so you will need a backup option such as a full time college course, a study programme or a traineeship


  • If you are not quite ready for an apprenticeship, and may need some work experience to help you secure a placement, a Traineeship may be suitable.

Study Programmes

  • Designed to help you to improve your skills to be ready for a traineeship or apprenticeship and are based at small providers throughout the City.

Useful Careers Information Websites for School Leavers

Careers Sectors

Animal & Land Based




Farming & Food

Health Care


Media Careers

Motor Vehicle


Public Services



Sports Careers


Labour Market Information

Other providers

PM Training

Reasons to choose PM Training:


Construction & Engineering Course:

Office / Business / IT / Accountancy Courses:


Apprenticeship Vacancies:

Virtual Tour:

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