Career choices at 16

You need to stay in learning until at least your 18th birthday

If you are in Year 11, you must stay in some kind of education or training until at least your 18th birthday. This means if you leave full-time learning, you must take a job with training or an apprenticeship. You can read more about staying in learning and Raising the Participation Age (RPA) in the section below.

You can choose to do a course, apprenticeship or job with training.

Start planning now, think about:

  • yourself – how you learn best, your interests and skills, your expected exam results
  • your career ideas – if you don’t have firm career ideas, think about how you can keep your options open
  • all the choices – what’s available and how these fit in with your career ideas
  • the future – where the decisions you make now can lead in the future.

There is a lot to do but you are not on your own. Check out the info and advice on this page.

Need help with career options?

Your teachers and advisers in school or college can help.

Some schools and colleges have careers information and access to online careers websites.

Find more information on Planning your future.

You can also contact:

  • the Progress Team, for advice and information on jobs, training, apprenticeships and career choices
  • The National Careers Service helpline call 0800 100 900.
The Islington Progress Pledge

Developed with the help of young people, the Progress Pledge sets out the support you can expect from the Progress Team, to help you find employment, education or training:

  • careers guidance with our qualified advisers
  • job coaching
  • mock interviews
  • support in English and maths up to Level 2
  • one-to-one support into education, a traineeship or apprenticeship, or employment
  • up to 100 hours of work experience or volunteering
  • help to access other support services.
What is Raising the Participation Age (RPA)?

RPA (Raising the Participation Age) increases the minimum age you can leave learning.

After Year 11 you will have to stay in some form of education or training until at least your 18th birthday.

In fact, most young people already choose to stay in learning between 16 and 18, gaining the skills and knowledge employers ask for and that will be needed by jobs in the future.

RPA doesn’t mean you must stay in school. You can choose an option to suit you from the following choices:

  • work-based learning such as an apprenticeship or job with training. (Training has to be for at least 280 teaching hours a year and lead to an Ofqual accredited qualification)
  • part-time education or training if you are employed, self-employed or volunteering for more than 20 hours a week
  • a full-time course in school or college.

RPA begins from the last day of the summer term. However, if you have an offer of a place on a course with a September start date, you will not be expected to do any other learning before you start the course.

There is more information on RPA on the government website.

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