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Information and advice for young people in Suffolk

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Choices at 16+

Which path will you choose?

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You might have heard that you need to stay in learning until you're 18, but this doesn't mean staying in school.

Because of the Raising of the Participation Age (RPA) to 18, you have a number of options you can take after leaving school.

What choices do I have?

You can:

1. Stay in full-time education

You can stay in full-time education at sixth form or college, doing post-16 qualifications or other learning programmes. This doesn't have to be the sixth form at your current school - why not see what else is out there? List of colleges and sixth-forms in Suffolk and those on the border of the county.

Taking A-levels? Keep in mind the changes being made to A-levels. There is now less coursework, and A-level exams will only be taken at the end of the two years - your AS-levels won't count towards your final grade. For more info, take a look at this guide to A-level reforms.

2. Do work with training

If you feel ready to go into work, there are a few options you can take. With apprenticeships, traineeships and supported internships you can gain work experience and learn at the same time. You may also like to look at information on supported internships at West Suffolk College.

3. Work with a training provider

Training providers offer the opportunity to gain training and qualifications, including apprenticeships and traineeships to suit your needs. There are lots of independent training providers in Suffolk and you can find out about some of them in our list of Ipswich post-16 providers 

4. Start your own business

Want to start your own business? You can do this as long as you are also learning part-time and working towards a qualification. Find out more about what it takes to become self employed

5. Take a short course to improve your skills

To find out more about your options and short courses available to you locally, such as Princes Trust (ages 16-30) or Minding the Gap (ages 15-24), take a look at our page: l've left school and I'm stuck.

Find out more:

Where do I start with my 16+ choices?

It all starts with researching your options so that you can decide which path is right for you. Visit icanbea for local careers information and careers advice pages on this website.

Watch the video on this page to hear a bit about what each option might involve, which was made by apprentices working in Suffolk.

Post 16 choices

Visit the National Careers Service website to search for learning opportunities with colleges, sixth forms and training providers: find a course.

You could also take a look at websites of local colleges and training providers to see what they offer and search for courses, training and apprenticeships.

It might help to talk to someone at school about your career ideas, and there's lots to help you understand what jobs and careers are possible in our Careers Advice section.

Explore subject areas - browse some of the subject areas that you may be able to study, with related careers and videos with people talking about their jobs.

Not managed to get a 4 grade in maths or English? 

If you've not got that magic '4' grade in maths and English, you'll have to continue studying until you do pass the exam and get that grade! 

I've left school and I'm stuck
If you've left school and didn't get the grades you expected or needed, there are still plenty of options to get back into learning, work or training. To find out more about your options, take a look at our page: l've left school and I'm stuck.

Learning opportunities for young people with additional needs

On this website we explain about the range of learning opportunities available for young people with additional needs or disabilities, to support you as you make the transition from school to post-16 education and training. You can also find more information about your options on the Local Offer website - for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

Additional needs

Thinking about doing an apprenticeship?

Start applying in January/February of your last year at school because that's when many of the best opportunities appear. To find out more, have a look at our apprenticeships pages.

Want to know what doing an apprenticeship is really like? Visit our Apprentice Lounge to hear from current apprentices in Suffolk.

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