Options at age 16

Once you reach 16 and finish year 11 you have a number of choices about what you can do next. The way that you continue to learn will depend on what you want to do - the choice is yours!


Discover your options

Explore further information about options available to you at aged 16


T-levels began in 2020. There are currently seven different areas of technical focus, this is expected to expand over the next few years

More about T-levels

  • A two year course which includes a placement in industry providing you with both knowledge and skills
  • Focuses on vocational skills and is equivalent to three A-levels
  • As a T-level student you spend 80% of your time in college, being taught by industry specialists, and 20% of your time placed in industry

What can T-levels lead to?
Once you have completed your T-level you can choose whether to continue into higher education to complete a higher technical qualification (HTQ) or go into employment. The time that you spent in industry during your course will have prepared you for the reality of the world of work and form the basis of a technical career.

The main T-level areas are:

  • Digital
  • Business and administration
  • Construction
  • Engineering and manufacturing
  • Education and childcare
  • Health and science
  • Legal, finance and accounting

By September 2023 the following T-levels will be added to the list:

  • Agricultural and land management
  • Animal care and management
  • Catering
  • Craft and design
  • Hairdressing and barbering
  • Media

Apprenticeships combine study with training in a paid job. There are apprenticeships in almost any career path you want to do

More about apprenticeships

  • 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
  • You will work for a company, be treated as an employee, get paid, have a contract and your employer will pay for your college course
  • Apprenticeships take between one and five years depending on the level of the apprenticeship you are doing

At the end of your apprenticeship you will have gained a formal qualification, usually at a Level 2 or 3 for school leavers, and have experience in the career path that you want to follow.

What can apprenticeships lead to?

  • A formal qualification
  • Employment in the career you want
  • A higher or degree level apprenticeship – equivalent to a foundation, bachelor or masters degree
  • Valuable work place experience

Advanced level qualifications (known as A-levels) are subject-based qualifications that can lead to university, further study, training, or work

More about A-levels

  • You can normally study three or more A-levels over two years in a sixth form or college setting
  • A-levels are usually assessed by a series of examinations

Who are they for?

  • If you’re thinking about going to university, most higher education courses require specific A-levels or combinations of A-levels (or alternative Level 3 qualifications)
  • If you’re not sure what career or job you want to do, studying a selection of A-levels can be a good way of keeping your options open.