Post-18 options summary
Your main options are higher education, doing an apprenticeship, finding a job , further education or taking a year out.
Art foundation courses
If you wish to study art at university you may need to study an art foundation course first, so you must check the specific entry requirements for your chosen universities.
Reasons for taking a gap year vary. For example, you may want to use the time to review your future plans, go travelling, do work experience (possibly linked to your chosen course or future career plans), develop new skills, earn money to fund your university place or volunteer in the UK or abroad.
For more information, check out useful websites, such as Prospects.
It is also possible to study abroad and increasing number of students are considering this option due to the cost of UK university tuition fees. Use the following websites to carefully research your options and the financial implications.
- A Star Future Use to search for courses taught in English abroad.
- The Student World This gives guidance about where to study, why, the process and financial implications.
- Eunicas Enables UK and Irish students to apply to degree programmes, taught through English, in universities across Europe.
- Fulbright Commission Use to explore studying in the USA.
- Study in the USA Use to explore studying in the USA.
- Study options Use to explore studying in Australia and New Zealand.
- Study portals Provides a database of courses around the world.
- StudyLink Information and guidance about studying abroad.
- Medical Doorway Free advice to students aiming to study medicine, dentistry or veterinary medicine in Europe.
If you are ready to start work, then an apprenticeship could be worth considering.
There are lots of opportunities available and benefits include earning a salary, getting paid holidays, receiving training, gaining qualifications and earning job-specific skills.
There are different levels of apprenticeship you can apply for depending on your current skills and qualifications. These are:
- Intermediate level apprenticeship. These are generally considered to be the same as five GCSE passes.
- Advanced level apprenticeship. These are generally considered to be the same as two A level passes.
- Higher apprenticeship. These can lead to NVQ Level 4 and above, or a foundation degree.
- Degree apprenticeships. These enable apprentices to achieve a full bachelor's or master's degree as part of their apprenticeship.
For further information and to search for opportunities check out the following:
- The national apprenticeship website Includes general information about apprenticeships and has real apprenticeship vacancies.
- Get my first job Includes apprenticeship and traineeship vacancies.
- Careermap Search and apply for apprenticeships.
- Rate my apprenticeship Includes useful information and apprenticeship vacancies.
- Amazing Apprenticeships. Further information about apprenticeships.
Degree and higher apprenticeships
If you have level 3 qualifications, such as A levels, you can also consider Higher and Degree apprenticeships:
The UCAS website conveys that higher apprenticeships provide an opportunity to gain a higher education qualification, such as an NVQ Level 4, HND or foundation degree. They can take from one to five years to complete, and involve part-time study at a college, university or training provider.
In March 2015 these were launched by the government. They have been developed by businesses, universities and colleges. Apprentices will split their time between university study and the workplace and will be employed throughout – gaining a full university bachelor’s or master’s degree while earning a wage and getting real on-the-job experience in their chosen profession.