Post-16 Pathways

For all of you, the question will now be should I go to a 6th Form, Further Education College, Apprenticeship, Traineeship or Employment/Volunteering with training i.e. Armed Forces. Each route has its only distinct learning advantages and disadvantages based upon your own learning style. Although, it is important to remember each route is deemed as ‘learning’ for the point detailed below.

Although you now get to decide where you ‘learning’ will take place next and how it will look there are a couple of things you need to consider first:

  •    You must remain in ‘learning’, until the age of 18;
  •   If you fail to achieve a GCSE grade C, in either English or Maths, then you must continue your learning in either or both subject/s, until the result is achieved up until the age of 18. Whilst studying alongside the subjects or course of your choice going into Year 12 and 13.

It is important to remember these points as you work through year 11, as you are in control off your own destiny and your efforts will decide upon the next step in your future.

To give you a helping hand, below in a nutshell, is a brief description on each particular ‘learning’ route:

 

6th Forms and University Technical Colleges

 

(A-Levels, BTEC Level 3, CACHE Level 3 and Diploma Level 3)

Students will normally be considered if you achieve 5 A*-C, including English and Maths. Other criteria will also be included, such as achieving a minimum of GCSE grade C or BTEC Merit, in your chosen course/s.

6th Form’s offer you the ability to study four different subjects which can be tailored towards a particular career path or subjects you enjoy.

Positives:

More choice, A-Levels are seen as the gold standard, 5 day a week learning and support, entry to university and employment and taught by qualified teachers.

Drawbacks:

Besides from CACHE, no other qualifications allow you to enter the workplace directly for careers such as chef, engineer, plumber and hairdresser.

 

Further Education Colleges

 

(BTEC Level 1 to 3, NVQ 1 to 3, VRQ 1 to 3, Diploma Level 2 to 3, CACHE 2 to 3 and Foundation Learning)

Students will be considered no matter your level of qualification, depending on specific course entry requirements.

Further Education Colleges allow you to gain the professional qualifications you require to enter the workplace i.e. chef, mechanic, plumber and hairdresser. This route also allows the ability to study just one course that interests you.

Positives:

Entry to the workplace, one course and a 3 day learning week and 2 day’s work experience per week, entry to university (all course dependent) and tutored by career professional’s.

Drawbacks:

The inability to change your career path without having to restart another course in September i.e. plumber to mechanic, early mornings and late nights due to travelling and cost of equipment (course dependent).

 

Apprenticeships and Traineeships

 

Students will be considered no matter your level of qualification, depending on specific career routes and course entry requirements. 

Apprenticeships allow you to ‘learn on the job’ through a professional to gain job-specific skills, and receive dedicated time for ‘learning’ through a training provider i.e. an Further Education College. ‘Learning’ can take place during the day or evening.

Traineeships are a new way for young people who are ‘work ready’ and are actively seeking employment or an apprenticeship. They provide work preparation training, Maths, English and work experience. Traineeships can last between six weeks and six months. This route has a number of different names such as ‘Pathways to Employment’. Remember, you must be in ‘learning’ for two years.

This route has to consider in place with the others provided due to a number of factors.

1. For every position, 10 to 15 others apply (on average) [Apprenticeships],
2. A small number fail to start or finish once accepted, either due to financial cut-backs or loss of interest [Apprenticeships],
3. Length of time it takes to be successful, Year 11 can start realistically applying in April of Year 11 but have to be in learning by the following September [Apprenticeships],

No matter your interest, it is worthwhile applying for a Sixth Form or Further Education College so you have a guaranteed ‘learning’ place for September.

Positives:

‘On the job’ learning, trained by fellow professional’s, paid ‘learning’ and normally guaranteed employment straight after qualifying.

Drawbacks:

No guarantee of ever getting one, high level of applicants, completion success and a 5 day working week.

 

Employment or Volunteering with Training

 

This route is slightly different to those mentioned above and requires an employer or voluntary organisation, to be understanding of your needs and legal requirement to learn. You are still required to attend a Further Education College to study part-time so you will be considered no matter your entry requirements, if you can find an employer to support you.

Your employer or voluntary organsiation must agree reasonable hours of work to enable you to attend your ‘learning’. Your employer may also be able to offer you in-house training. It is important to consider that some employers offer employment opportunities for young people that involve developing skills and experience through part-time learning and training that the employer organises themselves. This is different to Apprenticeships, which are nationally recognised training programmes with clear entry requirements that meet national standards.

As with an Apprenticeship, this route has to consider in place with the others provided due to the length of time it takes to be successful, Year 11 can start realistically applying in April of Year 11 but have to be in learning by the following September.
No matter your interest, it is worthwhile applying for a Sixth Form or Further Education College so you have a guaranteed ‘learning’ place for September.

Positives:

Paid employment, guaranteed minimum wage and the ability to be self-efficient.

Drawbacks:

‘Learning’ may not be nationally recognised so if you leave you may not secure employment with another company, reliance on the employer to allow you to learn for one day per week and companies have to pay bigger wages compared to an apprentice and unpaid if voluntary.

 

As you can see it’s going to be an exciting and worrying time not only for you but your parents as well. There are a number of useful links for you to use at the top of this page including bursary advice and career advice.

Remember, it’s your choice what happens next!