Explore your options

Options after your GCSEs

There are different routes you can take, as long as you stay in some type of full-time education or training until you are 18. The main options available to you include full-time education, an apprenticeship, traineeship or supported internship, part-time education or training when combined with either employment, self-employment or volunteering for 20 hours or more a week or volunteering. This is part of the Raising the Participation Age statutory duty. 

The leaflet below will provide you and your employer with some guidance about the Raising of the Participation age. 

Explore your Options  - RPA both                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Page 1 of 2

 The aim of this section is to provide you with information to understand the options available. 

The following video provides a brief overview of the options available. 

The below guide has been put together by the Department of Education for you and your parents/ carers to easily see the different options.

whats next

Below, will provide you with detailed information about the different options available after your GCSE's.

Use the >log on | move on> opportunities section to find out what is available locally.

Advanced level qualifications (known as A levels) are subject-based qualifications that can lead to university, further study, training, or work. You can normally study three or more A levels over two years. They're usually assessed by a series of examinations.

The below video explains the key factors that you should be thinking about when deciding on which A levels to take. Whilst the video focuses on progression to university, the same would apply to any post 18 option you chose to take. 

This first link helps you to see what university courses you could do with your A Levels: 

informed choices


The second tells you which A levels are needed to progress onto a particular degree:

uni explorer

Now take some time to check out what A Levels are available on the Opportunities section of > log on | move on > 


What is an Apprenticeship?

Apprenticeships are an excellent way of gaining qualifications and workplace experience. As an apprentice, you can earn as you learn, and you gain practical skills from the workplace. 

The key benefits of an apprenticeship are:

  • You gain valuable workplace skills and experience.
  • You work in a real job for a real employer.
  • You are paid a salary and have a contract of employment.
  • You achieve an apprenticeship recognised by employers.
  • You get support from your colleagues and training organisation.
  • It’s a career pathway that helps you achieve your goals.
  • Show skills, achievements and work experience on your CV.

To hear from some apprentices and find out more about an apprenticeships watch the below video:


You could start with an intermediate apprenticeship and work your way through to a degree apprenticeship.

The below shows the different levels of apprenticeships and their educational equivalent:




Equivalent education level






A level


4,5,6 and 7

Foundation degree and above


6 and 7

Bachelor’s or master’s degree


What is an intermediate or advanced apprenticeship?

An intermediate apprenticeship is a Level 2 apprenticeships, and generally considered to be the same level as five GCSE passes.

As an intermediate apprentice, you will study towards qualifications at the same level as five GCSEs, such as NVQ Level 2, and a knowledge-based qualification such as BTEC Diploma and Certificate, relevant to the sector and job role. You can go on to complete advanced and higher apprenticeships. 

Entry requirements for intermediate apprenticeships vary, with some employers asking for two or more GCSEs, although you may not need any formal qualifications. If you don’t have GCSEs in English and maths, you are usually required to take qualifications in these subjects as part of the apprenticeship.

Advanced apprenticeships are also called Level 3 apprenticeships, and generally considered to be the same level as two A level passes.  

Entry requirements vary, but you will usually need at least five GCSEs with grades 9 to 4/A* to C, including English and maths. 

Careers adviser, Victoria Geary, talks you through the things you might want to consider when working out which apprenticeship to apply for in the below video.


Where to find apprenticeship opportunities?

You can search for apprenticeship opportunities and live vacancies on our Employer Apprenticeship live vacancies

You can also find apprenticeships using the national website https://www.gov.uk/apply-apprenticeship

Both systems will allow you to see:

  • Detailed information about the job.
  • The employer.
  • Training.
  • Pay and the qualifications you will be working towards.

Higher Education is accessible after doing an Apprenticeship.

Hear from Danny on job searching, including tips on social media.

You should:

  • Look at the vacancies notice board in schools, colleges, academies or Connexions/ YSS centres.
  • Look in local shop windows.
  • Make copies of your CV to give to local businesses.
  • Read local newspapers and magazines.
  • Look at websites of companies that you would like to work for to see if they have any vacancies.
  • Use your personal network - family, friends, neighbours, etc.
  • Write to companies that you would like to work for asking if they have any opportunities available.

Do some research - find out as much as you can about:

  • what the company does.
  • what the employer wants.
  • and what the job involves.

Searching for a job isn’t easy and you will need to be:

  • Positive.
  • Realistic.
  • Organised.
  • Persistent.

Then work out how much your interests, abilities, experiences and achievements match this job.

Finding out about the types of jobs that people do, where these jobs are located and how many people are employed in different types of jobs is called Labour Market Information (LMI)

If you want any help with applying for jobs, contact your Connexions or YSS Adviser who will be able to help.

Remember when emailing or phoning:

  • Always end your email or phone call on a friendly and positive note
  • No not use text speech
  • Always use a professional email address
  • Always thank people for their time

Here’s where you can find some job vacancies

Employment agencies.

Agencies can specialise in different industries and vacancies can be temporary so check the details carefully with each agency. You can also find online agencies including Indeed, Reed and Monster. 

Social Media

You can use social media platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn to search for jobs. Local employers also use these platforms to search for potential employees, so you will need to create a professional profile. 

Jobcentre Plus Jobs tend to be for 18+. 

There is an internet linked service, you can visit your local centre or you may also telephone Job Centre Plus on 0845 60 60 234.

Search for job vacancies on  >log on | move on >

Don't forget, if you are under 18 you need to participate in 20 hours training alongside a full-time job.

If you have a good business idea, being self-employed or starting a small business can be very rewarding but it can take a lot of hard work and dedication. 

Self-employment can offer:

  • An opportunity to do something you enjoy and are good at.
  • A chance to be your own boss.
  • Flexible working hours.

How to get started?

  • Is there a gap in the market for your idea?
  • How much money will you need to set-up?
  • Where will this money come from?
  • What equipment will you need?
  • Where will you work from eg home or an office?
  • Will you need to employ anyone else?

There is plenty of free information, advice and practical support available to help you set up your own business.

The following website provides comprehensive information to help you to get you started.


Useful Contacts

Business advice and start up - The East Riding of Yorkshire Council runs Enterprise Clubs, which are designed to bring your business ideas to life.  

Hull Youth Enterprise Club -  The club provides young people with a place to meet and exchange skills, make contacts, share experiences, receive support and encourage each other to work through their business ideas. 

John Cracknell Youth Enterprise Bank - For young people aged up to and including 21 years old, and offers grants of up to £1,000 for individuals or groups of young people who need finance to help make their idea happen.

Humber LEP Start-Up  - Your gateway to finding finance, advice and support for starting or growing your business in the Humber region.

The Princes Trust Enterprise Programme - Support for young people aged 18-30 to explore self employment.

Gov.uk - For free access to online tutorials and advice on how to start, including developing your business idea, tax, finance and marketing, visit 

Start up Britain - A national campaign set up by 8 entrepreneurs last year, with the support of the government. It offers links to many sources of information.

Business in You - Case studies of successful entrepreneurs and help to find a mentor.

Enterprise National Accelerator - Amazon Small Business Accelerator is a free, online educational programme for anyone who wants to start a new online business or grow an existing one. 

What is a Supported Internship?

 A Supported Internship is one type of study programme specifically aimed at young people aged 16 to 24 who have an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan, who want to move into employment and need extra support to do so.

Where will it take place?

 A Supported Internship will usually be based at an employer.

How long will it last? 

A Supported Internship normally lasts for a year, including unpaid work placements of at least 6 months. 

What will I do? 

You will complete a personalised study programme which includes the chance to study for relevant qualifications, if suitable, and English and maths. 

What happens after? 

Wherever possible, you will be supported to move into paid employment at the end of the Supported Internship.

Benefits of a Supported Internship

  • Develop skills valued by employers
  • Have chance to show your value in the workplace
  • Build confidence in your own abilities
  • Gain experience to put on your CV 
  • Improve your skills in English and Maths 
  • Become an independent traveller 
  • Show everybody you can do it!

How is a Supported Internship different from an Apprenticeship or Traineeship?

They are similar, but they have a few differences. You will receive a higher level of support on a Supported Internship. This will probably include a job coach and further help with your learning that you do away from the workplace. Supported Internships are also usually longer than a Traineeship, giving you longer to get ready to progress into an Apprenticeship if this is what you would like to do.

Watch Steven's story. Steven took part in an Supported Internship in the kitchen's at Bricknell Primary School

A Traineeship is an education and training programme with work experience that unlocks your potential and prepares you for your future career by helping you to become ‘work ready’. If you are aged 16 to 24 and don't yet have the appropriate skills or experience needed, a traineeships could provide the essential work preparation, training, English, maths and work experience needed for you to secure an apprenticeship or employment. 

A Traineeship - why they work 

Watch the below video to hear about Holly's journey on a Traineeship with Derby City Council

Watch the below video to hear about Rukhsar's journey on a Traineeship with Spinning Top Nursery in Bradford

Traineeship Student Activity Pack

The below is an activity pack where students can learn all about Traineeships developed by Amazing Apprenticeships


For more information https://amazingapprenticeships.com/traineeships/

Where to find traineeship opportunities?

You can search for traineeships in our Opportunities section 

You can also find traineeships using the national website https://www.gov.uk/find-traineeship

Now take some time to check out what Traineeships are available in our local opportunities section

What are T-levels? 

T Levels are a 2-year qualification that you can do as an alternative to A levels, other post-16 courses or an apprenticeship. They bring classroom learning and an extended industry placement together on a course designed with businesses and employers. T Levels are ideal if you have finished your GCSEs and want the knowledge and experience to get straight into employment, an apprenticeship or higher education.

You’ll spend 80% of your time in the classroom and 20% on a 45-day placement with an employer to give you the skills and knowledge companies look for.

Watch the new T Levels film featuring a wide range of teachers, careers advisers, students and employers. The film is ideal for teachers and careers advisers but is also relevant for students and their parents and carers.

What employers say...

Hear what employers large and small have to say about industry placements and the benefits for their organisation by clicking on the video link below. 

How are T-levels different to apprenticeships?


Time Split


80% classroom learning; 20% industry placement


80% on-the-job; 20% classroom learning

What students say...

Hear what students have to say about industry placements and why they would recommend them to others by clicking on the video link below.

How do T-level grades work?

T-level grades will be given as pass, merit, distinction or distinction*.

  On completing a T-level, you'll be awarded a nationally recognised certificate with a breakdown of your achievements, which will also confirm that you've met the necessary Maths and English requirements and completed an industry placement.


Check out the guide below for how UCAS tariff points will work for T-levels: 

UCAS Tariff Points

T-Level Overall Grade












Pass (C or above on the “core”)



Pass (D or E on the “core”)


Find out more 

Like what you see from the videos, why not visit https://www.tlevels.gov.uk/ to learn more. Or check out the full time courses section of >log on | move on> to find the T Levels available in our area.

Now take some time to check out what T-Levels are available locally on the Full Time courses prospectus 

Vocational courses are designed to teach students in a practical way about a particular job area. Vocational qualifications can lead to employment and higher education. Some level 3 qualifications, such as BTEC, allow you to earn UCAS points towards higher education, like you would with A levels. National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) are achieved through assessment and training. The following table shows you the UCAS points needed for vocational courses.  


BTECs which stands for the Business and Technology Education Council are specialist work-related qualifications. They combine practical learning with subject and theory content. Students study to gain skills and knowledge in their subject area, then put those skills into practice in real-life scenarios.

A BTEC at levels 1 and 2 are equivalent to GCSEs. The BTEC level 3 equivalent is A-Level. 

You study a BTEC alongside A-levels, or you can do a standalone BTEC at college or sixth form.

Now its time to check out what courses are available locally on Full time courses under the opportunities section

If you have a degree subject in mind, you can check out the entry requirements required for higher education providers.