As you go through these options and consider them one by one, remember to:
Think about your long term career plans (if you have any yet): what's going to help you to achieve them?
Work out the options that fit best with your skills and interests, and your attitude to studying.
Talk your ideas over with your parent or carer. Are there any money issues you need to think about?
1. Staying on at school
The benefits of staying on at school are:
- You have the chance to carry on with subjects you have developed a strong interest in (which should help you to get more qualifications)
- You'll have more time to think about what you want to do after school and find out about the careers and courses open to you
- You might also have the opportunity to take part in other activities that will help to prepare you for further study or the world of work, including youth awards, flexible work experience placements or voluntary work
However, to make the most out of staying on at school remember:
- To get more qualifications you have to be prepared to put the work in
- Taking your time and exploring the options is one thing; just putting the decision off is not an answer
- You still need to put the time in constructively, using the careers library, using career related computer software and visiting careers and job fares
- You will have to do plenty of research on courses, and plan ahead, if you are thinking of applying to university or college next year
- When you're ready to get to a decision point, talk over your plans with the careers adviser who visits your school and work out your career action plan
2. Going to college
By going to college full time you can:
- Learn new skills, preparing you for a job or area of work
- Develop you r interest or skills in a specific career area
- Get the qualifications you need to take you into a more advanced course like a Higher National Diploma (HND) or a degree
- Find out if you have the potential for going further with studying the subject
- You'll have to get used to new ways of learning and thinking. You will have to make adjustments too. Study and assessment methods are likely to be different, often less exam focused, more practical or 'hands on'
Independence means taking responsibility:
- Managing your own time - organising your work schedule, organising your free time, and handing work in on time
- Managing your 'work life balance'- making the most of being a student, enjoying the freedom that comes with it, but putting the work in because that's how you get results
Something to bear in mind is that you'll probably have to learn to combine work and college:
Around 60% of 16 and 17 year olds in full time education also have a part time job.
3. Choosing an Apprenticeship
Apprenticeships are now the main route to employment for people straight from school.
They give you the opportunity to start a job with guaranteed training towards a recognised work based qualification.
- You can train as an Apprentice in a wide range of job roles from accounting technician to dental nursing
- Most apprenticeships don't have formal entry requirements but for some you will need some relevant standard Grades
- You may have to take an 'aptitude' test for some Apprenticeships
- How long it takes to complete your training depends on you
- You are an employee earning a wage of a minimum of £95 a week in your first year. The National Minimum Wage rate for Modern Apprentices is £2.50 an hour
- You will work towards a national qualification throughout your programme which will require dedication on your part to completing your work under the guidance of your adviser
You can get more information from talking to Performance Through People's advisers who can guide you through your options.
4. Going straight into a job
You could decide to look for a job. Opportunities are out there for school leavers, but the current economic situation means that they are limited. So, it's really important that your job search skills are good.
To give yourself the best chance of finding a job that suits you should:
- Prepare your CV
- Get ready to take the initiative, get networking and contact
- employers that you think might have suitable vacancies
- Brush up on your interview techniques
And make sure you contact your local Careers Centre for information on local opportunities and for help with the skills involved in looking for a job. You can find out more by visiting: