Choices at the end of Year 11

As well as taking exams, you will have important decisions to make about your future

Students completing year 11 must stay in learning until at least their 18th birthday - see Raising the participation age

Your main choices are:

  • an apprenticeship or job with recognised training
  • self employment
  • a full-time course

Investigate all the choices – what’s available and how these fit in with your career ideas.


Apprenticeships are jobs with training - a mix of on and off-the-job training leading to qualifications at level 2-7, although you will normally start at level 2 or 3.

Intermediate apprenticeships are at level 2, advanced apprenticeships are at level 3 and higher and degree apprenticeships are at level 4 and above.

Skill areas include hairdressing, business administration, accountancy, IT, sport and leisure, hospitality, motor vehicle work, construction, engineering and retailing and others.

Most employers set entry or selection tests or ask for specific GCSE qualifications.

Apprentices are paid and earn at least £4.30 an hour from April 2021 (the National Minimum Wage rate) this changes every April but most earn a lot more.

The National Apprenticeship Service has details of all the apprenticeships offered. You should register online for vacancies. Find out more about local and London-based apprenticeships.

You need to look for a job that offers training, qualifications and prospects for the future.  

For more advice about vacancies and training providers, see Apprenticeships and jobs and for job hunting help see Finding jobs and apprenticeships

If you need help with job applications in Islington, contact the Progress Team at Lift or Platform and their team can help you. 

Self employment

To have a successful business you need the right personal qualities, business skills and a business idea that has a good chance of succeeding. You need to research your ideas and plan your business carefully.

These organisations offer training, help and advice

Full-time study at a school sixth form or college

 There are courses to suit all interests and students of all abilities.

 Courses and qualifications include:

  • A Levels, T levels or International Baccalaureate. These are good if you want to take a range of subjects, like studying and do well in exams. A Levels are the main qualifications taken for entry to university. School and college entry requirements are usually GCSE grades 5/4 or above including maths and English, plus a spread of other subjects.
  • Work-related courses. These cover broad career areas such as IT, music, art and design, construction, performing arts or business administration.  They are good if you want to specialise in one subject. They can be studied at all ability levels. Qualifications include BTECs and Cambridge Technicals. These are also accepted for some university courses - check UCAS before deciding.
  • Occupationally specific courses. These will give you the skills needed for a specific job such as hairdressing, nursery nursing, business administration, beauty therapy, IT or catering.

Check out all the level 2 and 3 qualifications you can do between 16 and 18.

Find out which school or college offers the subjects and qualifications you want to do

You can check this out online at UCAS Progress, or go to the websites of local school sixth forms and colleges

For colleges across London see London Colleges Website.

All schools and colleges have open evenings or events where you can talk to tutors and teachers, and find out more.

The website Informed Choices offers advice on A level subjects and other courses needed to do Russell Group of universities' degree courses; see also individual university websites.

leading universities offers advice about A level choice and university.

Voluntary work may help you get a job or an apprenticeship or decide if a job is right for you. To find out more about volunteering and the opportunities available near you, go to:

See Related Links and External Links on this page for further information.

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