Life after Year 11

In 2013 the Participation Age Law was passed that stated that young people must be in some form of education or training until they are 18 years of age. This means that you must remain in education or training; this can be at Whickham Sixth Form, another school Sixth Form, at a College or with a training provider as part of an Apprenticeship scheme.


Option 1 – Full Time Study

Sixth Forms and Colleges typically focus on Level 3 (Advanced level) qualifications.  These are two-year courses that end in an overall examination and are graded A* – U, following a similar structure to GCSEs but looking at the subject in more depth.

Entry Requirements: Typically, sixth form colleges usually ask that students have five GCSEs at grade 4 or above but it’s important to do your research before applying, as some courses, such as A Level Maths, Physics, Biology and Chemistry, require students to achieve a grade 6 at GCSE to demonstrate their deeper understanding of the subject.


Option 2 – Apprenticeships

An apprenticeship is a paid job, with hand-on experience and the chance to train while you work.  You will be treated just like all other employees with a contract of employment and holiday leave. If you’re over 16 and not in full time education you can become an apprentice

  • Your apprenticeship can take between 1-6 years to complete depending on what level you choose
  • You will get paid and train with at least 20% of your time spent in off-the-job training, often at college university or with a training provider
  • You train to be fully competent in your chosen occupation
  • You’re on a career path – with lots of future potential for you

More information is available on our Apprenticeships Page


Option 3 – Traineeships

Traineeships give students aged 16-24 the opportunity to gain relevant skills, qualifications and work experience before starting an apprenticeship. Traineeships involve a programme of up to six months of study, including a work placement, qualification in Maths and English (if needed) and support with finding a job or apprenticeship once the course is completed. Students are not paid for taking part but can apply for a 16-19 Bursary Fund to help with costs.  Traineeships offer:

  • High quality work placements – where you can learn what’s expected of you in the workplace, and develop links with local employers
  • Flexible training – in other relevant areas to help you get ready for work, such as job search and interview skills, time-keeping and team working
  • Study in English and Maths (if appropriate) – employers value these essential skills very highly.
  • At the end of your traineeship, if there is a job or apprenticeship vacancy with the work placement host, you should receive an interview.

If there isn’t a job or apprenticeship opportunity at that time, you will receive an exit 8 interview with the employer who provided the work placement. In this interview you can discuss what you’ve learned, and how it might help you with things like updating your CV and getting into a job or an apprenticeship. Whether you go for a traineeship or apprenticeship will depend on your age and qualifications.


Option 4 – Part-Time Study with Employment/Volunteering

This could be working in a full-time job (classed as any work that takes place over more than two months and is over 20 hours per week) or volunteering (again, over 20 hours per week) while studying part-time at college or with a training provider (totalling 280 hours of learning per year).


Decisions, Decisions!

Making the decision about what to do after Year 11 can be tricky.  To help with these decisions you may want to think about:

Will my Post 16 choice take me where I want to go?

Think about your future career aspirations, for example, will you need a university degree or an apprenticeship? It is important to know whether the qualifications you are taking from 16-18 can help you to progress onto these pathways.

If you’re not sure what kind of job or career would be of interest to you – you should start by asking yourself:

  • What employability skills do I have?
  • What are my likes (and dislikes)?
  • What am I good at and enjoy doing?
  • What other skills and knowledge will I need to get me where I want to be?
  • What would I not want to spend all day doing?
  • What are my values and preferences?


There are many great websites and resources available to help you to understand more about your skills, strengths and personaility along with entry requirements, qualifications and pathway options for jobs and careers that you are interested in:

  • Review the Job Profiles using the UNIFROG Careers Library and complete the interests and personality quizes
  • Prospects website can help you match your skills and personality to over 400 job profiles
  • Buzz Quiz will help you discovger your strengths and wht makes you tick
  • Check out the Job of the Week Information for some inspiration
  • Contact Mrs Ross, the School Careers Advisor
  • Visit the National Careers Service for Job Profiles and Careers information
  • Career Pilot website can help you to plan for your future
  • UCAS is not just about University – it has lots of helpful information about what you can do next
  • Watch this video from Aim Higher Plus about Colleges and A Levels
  • Watch this video from Connexions about your Post 16 Options