Post 16 Options
School Sixth Form
Being a Sixth Former is very different from being a student in Year 11. The curriculum is very different, relationships between students and staff will be different and often more relaxed. Sixth Forms are generally tend to provide a more structured and supportive environment than colleges. They enable students to choose up to 3 or 4 subject areas – offering a wide selection of both A Level and BTEC courses to ensure students options remain open. More information can be found by visiting the school’s website(s) and attending information evenings.
Colleges and training providers offer a wide range of training courses that can be full-time or part-time. These include A levels and vocational courses in work-related qualifications like BTECs or NVQs. There are many factors to consider when choosing a college, not least does it offer the course you want to do? Considering a college or training provider at post-16 is not just about studying but it is about meeting new people, having experiences in a new educational environment and widening your horizons. The majority of people choose this option for the vocational aspect while remaining in education. The most valuable method to research these is to view the providers’ website and attend their open day(s). You will then have the opportunity to speak with course leaders and make well-informed and realistic decisions on your next steps.
If you are over 16 and live in England, you could apply for an apprenticeship. Apprenticeships are available in intermediate, advanced, higher and degree levels and combine practical on the job training with further study. They are available in over 1500 job roles covering more than 170 sector industries, from construction to animal and health care, through to accountancy, IT and engineering. They are paid, offering a legal minimum wage and consist of working 30 to 40 hours per week. Apprenticeships offer young people the opportunity to work alongside experienced staff and gain skills unique to the workplace. Apprenticeships offer a balanced mix of work experience and education as well as studying for a well-respected National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) over a period of one to six years. It is possible to apply for an apprenticeship from Year 11 onwards with a view to beginning it after the last Friday of June. You can browse advertisements for apprenticeships, and see which companies offer them by viewing current vacancies at www.getingofar.gov.uk, college website Job Shops and job websites such as www.indeed.com
You could apply for a traineeship. This is designed to provide you with the necessary training in order to progress into employment or an apprenticeship. You will not earn a wage as part of your traineeship, but you may be eligible for some financial support. Traineeships can last up to 6 months and you can browse advertisements for traineeships and see which companies offer them by viewing current vacancies at www.gov.uk/find-traineeship
Employment with Training
There are some opportunities available for those wishing to consider employment with training after Year 11. Opportunities can cover many different employment sectors, offering you the chance to get the work skills and qualifications employers want. Similar to an apprenticeship, but without the educational aspect, employment with training offers a higher legal minimum salary. You will need a CV, covering letter or a formal application form. You can search for current vacancies by visiting the many job websites on our useful website page and by looking at local newspapers’ job advertisements too.
With these options in mind, when it comes to choosing and applying for your post-16 options, we recommend you think about the following considerations with your parents and guardians:
- Does this option choice offer the pathway that interests and motivates you most?
- Can you meet the entry requirements for the course you want to do?
- Will it give you the best opportunity to build on your past achievements and strengths?
- Is it close enough to home to enable me to commute with ease?
- What reputation does the school/college/employer have?
- How good are the facilities?
- Will this learning environment suit you?
- Would you get any one-to-one tutorial support?
- What weighting do exams have on the course?
- How much coursework will there be?
- Will you be offered the chance to do some work experience?
- Are there any opportunities to participate in extracurricular activities?
- What is your instinctive feeling about this option choice?