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What are my options when I leave school?

Posted 6th June 2023

It is compulsory to be in education or training up until the age of 18 in the UK, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to stay in school! There are plenty of routes for people over 16, whether that is A levels, a vocational T level course or an Apprenticeship.


At what age can I leave school?

Legally speaking, you can leave school from the last Friday in June so long as you are going to turn 16 before September. However, you do have to have further education or training set up from September. There are several options for everyone at this age:

  • Staying in school full-time to complete A levels, go to college, do T levels or other academic qualifications
  • Work or volunteer for 20 or more hours a week while in part-time education or training
  • Start an Apprenticeship, where you can earn while you learn.


Can I work full-time after leaving school?

Though you can work, paid or voluntary, you will still need to be taking part in some form of education at the same time. This must lead to a regulated qualification. Your part-time education/training must account for at least 280 hours per year, or about one day per week being taught by a lecturer, supervisor or tutor.

If this sounds appealing to you, an Apprenticeship could be a good route to go down! Your learning will continue as you work full-time in your chosen field.


What is an Apprenticeship?

This is a fantastic opportunity to work within your chosen field, getting paid while doing off-the-job training. There are a huge number of vacancies within multiple industries, allowing you to focus on what you want to do and gain skills for life.

An apprenticeship includes:

  • paid employment with holiday leave
  • hands-on-experience in a sector/role of interest
  • at least 20% off-the-job training
  • formal assessment which leads to a nationally recognised qualification

Apprenticeships can start at any level, but some may require qualifications, such as English or Maths. We support our Apprentices at any point in their journey, including with Functional Skills training to get learners ready to start their Apprenticeship!


What are the benefits of an Apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships are an exciting option for people who want to earn a wage while upskilling in their chosen industry. You gain invaluable insights and experience on the job, being able to put your learnings immediately into practice.

Benefits of an Apprenticeship include:

  • experience and skills development
  • a nationally recognised qualification (with no tuition fees)
  • employee benefits and a wage
  • exposure to industry professionals


Getting advice on what to do after school!

If you are confused about what to do after you finish school, there are plenty of places to get advice. It can seem overwhelming, but there are many people who are there to help. All state-funded Secondary Schools must provide independent careers guidance, including appointing a Careers leader. They will oversee the school’s Careers Program.

The National Careers Service is also always available for free and impartial advice for people over the age of 13.

If you would like to specifically find out more information about an Apprenticeship in education, please feel free to contact us at any point. We have more information on each of our apprenticeships here:

Teaching Assistant Level 3

Early Years Practitioner Level 2

Early Years Educator Level 3


See all of our current Apprentice vacancies here.