Education and training for young people

Post-16 options including full-time study, work experience, apprenticeships, volunteering and work with training

You have to stay in education or training until you’re 18 and you can decide how you do this after you turn 16. Here are the options to consider.

Study full-time

You can stay at your current school, move to a sixth form or a college.

You need to find the courses or subjects you’re interested in or that offer you the best route to the qualifications you want.

What you can study

Subject based qualifications

If you enjoy a particular subject and you’re thinking of going to university, A-levels and the International Baccalaureate, could be for you.

Applied or vocational courses

If you’re interested in a particular career or industry, courses like National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) and Business and Technology Education Council (BTEC) diplomas, could be for you.

You might still be able to go to university with these courses. Talk to your careers adviser for advice.

T Levels

T levels offers a mixture of classroom learning and ‘on-the-job’ experience in an industry placement of at least 45 days. GOV.UK has more information on T Levels.

UCAS has more information on post-16 qualifications you can take.

The National Careers Service for more information and advice on learning, training and work.


Traineeships will help you get the skills and experience you need to get an apprenticeship or a job. They often involve math and English study combined with a work experience placement.

GOV.UK has guidance on traineeships.

Work experience

A work experience placement can help develop your skills in a workplace environment. Essex Youth Service can help you find a placement.


Apprenticeships combine workplace training for a specific career with study. It will help you progress into full employment or further study.

You can apply for an apprenticeship if you’re aged 16 or over.

Find out more about apprenticeships.

Work with training

If you'd prefer to work, you’ll have to do further training while in your job. To find out more speak to your school or college careers adviser or visit National Careers Service.


Volunteering is a great way to get experience in all kinds of different roles and it will help you prepare for further education or employment.

Search for current volunteering opportunities on our volunteering page.

Get help and advice

Our employability and skills team support young people aged 16 to 18 with education, employment and training options.

Special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)

If you have an education, health and care plan (EHCP), your information advice and guidance adviser will talk to you about your plans for the future and provide support on what to do next.

Find more information and advice on the Essex local offer website.