Options overview

Pathways from 16+

Young people in England are required by law to stay in education or training until aged 18. Yet many don’t feel informed enough to decide which training or education pathway is right for them and can end up rushing their choices at 14, 16 and 18 without thinking them through.

Having regular conversations with your child about their job and career goals and their training and education options, will hopefully help the big decision times go more smoothly. This should result in your child making choices that are right for them as well as the career they have in mind.

Pathways from 16+ - Talking Futures

Pathways from 16+

Young people in England are required by law to stay in education or training until aged 18. Yet many don’t feel informed enough to decide which training or education pathway is right for them and can end up rushing their choices at 14, 16 and 18 without thinking them through.

Having regular conversations with your child about their job and career goals and their training and education options, will hopefully help the big decision times go more smoothly. This should result in your child making choices that are right for them as well as the career they have in mind.

Understand
the options

There are several pathways for 16 to 18-year olds to choose from, depending on what they're thinking about doing next.

If your child is ready to begin a level 3 programme they could take a T-level or A-levels. Or take up an apprenticeship, a traineeship, or select part-time learning whilst working or volunteering.

Apprenticeships

  • Apprenticeships combine study with training in a paid job.
  • Apprentices spend most of their time at work, with at least 20% of their time spent learning on the job.
  • Apprenticeships are offered at all levels, but most 16-year-olds would enter an apprenticeship at Level 2 or 3. Level 2 is equivalent to GCSEs and Level 3 is equivalent to A-levels and T-levels.
  • Apprenticeships are offered by employers, who advertise when they have vacancies. Vacancies are also advertised locally, for example through colleges, or on national websites.

T-levels

  • T-levels were introduced in 2020 and are being rolled out across the country over the next couple of years. More subjects are becoming available every year.
  • A T-level is a two-year course that focuses on technical skills. One T-level is equivalent to three A-levels.
  • T-level students spend approximately 80% of their time at college or school, learning the knowledge and skills that employers need, and 20% of their time on an industry placement.
  • After T-levels, young people can either choose to continue into employment (including opting for an apprenticeship) or select a higher education course aimed at the career they want. This could be a higher technical course or a degree.

A-levels

  • A-levels are a two-year course of study.
  • Most students study three A-levels, but you can also combine them with other qualifications.
  • After A-levels, many young people go onto higher education at college and/or university to do degrees and higher technical qualifications, while others begin working at age 18.

Education providers

Extra support

 

  • Your child’s school or college is required to publish a careers plan, which you will find on its website. These career plans include details of events and activities you and/or your child might want to attend.
  • The website will also have contact details of the careers leader who will be a useful starting point for any career discussion.
  • You may feel more comfortable speaking to a teacher you already know, such as your child’s form tutor. They can also provide guidance on where to access more information and the careers specialists who can help.
  • You can speak to a specialist careers adviser through the National Careers Service website.
  • If your child has special eduactional needs and disabilites (SEND), their current school or college can help you find out what support is available in your area.
  • Different sources may explain things differently and with different levels of detail.
  • It may feel overwhelming, but exploring the options with your child can be just as valuable as having the answers yourself.