Whether you've got a clear idea about your future career and or you don't yet know which route to take, during Year 11 you can explore your career ideas and make some important decisions about your future education, training or employment.

Some schools will give you the chance to go on work experience during Year 11. Year 11 is also when you will take your exams, which is obviously a very important time.

Routes available to you after Year 11

Your main options after Year 11 are:

  • To continue your education full time, either at school or college
  • To continue your learning through an Apprenticeship or other work-based learning programme
  • To find a job, hopefully one in which you'll be able to continue your learning

Everybody is different - don't just pick what your friends have chosen. Choose the option which is best for you and your own future.

Further education

Further education courses can be studied within a school sixth form or at a college of further education. There's a wide range of courses on offer leading to a number of different types of qualification.

Moving onto further education offers you the opportunity to gain further qualifications which will help your employment prospects or let you progress to higher education. You can also study new subjects that would not be available at school. Courses are available for all levels of ability and can be combined to provide a programme of study tailored to your needs.

When deciding which route to apply for, compare courses - the same course may be available at several institutions. Find out how the courses differ and what students from that course go on to do.

When comparing further education institutions, try to find out about the facilities available, the age mix of students and entry requirements.

Institutions often run open days, open evenings or taster courses so you can find out more. Details of these events are usually posted on the institution's website.

Work-based learning 

Work-based learning may be the route for you if you want to work but still gain a qualification. There is a wide range of training opportunities available. Work-based learning caters for all abilities and offers you the opportunity to get all the work skills and qualifications employers demand in the job market.

There are various options available through work-based learning:

Intermediate Level Apprenticeships

Intermediate Level Apprenticeships lead to qualifications at NVQ Level 2 or 3. If you are an employed apprentice, you will receive a wage of at least £2.60 per hour, although some employers pay more.

Advanced Level Apprenticeships

Advanced Level Apprenticeships lead to qualifications at NVQ Level 3. On Advanced Level Apprenticeships you will be employed and will normally receive a wage that reflects your skills, experience and ability.

Foundation Learning

Foundation Learning is available to all young people between the ages of 16 and 18. Foundation Learning offers support to young people who might not be ready for an Apprenticeship, further education or employment and can help with Basic Skills and Key Skills, vocational skills and personal development.

Full-time employment

Connexions can help you if you want to start looking for full-time employment once you leave Year 11, but you can’t work full-time until after your official school leaving date - that is, the last Friday in June, regardless of how old you are then.

You will be entitled to the National Minimum Wage if you are aged 16 or 17 (and not in an Apprenticeship or other Government-sponsored training programme).

The vast majority of jobs require you to develop and continually update your skills and knowledge in order to be effective at what you do, particularly if you wish to progress.

Self-employment

Running your own business can be an exciting idea, but it's not an easy option for 16-19 year olds. Make sure you have thought it through and talk to agencies that offer advice and help on becoming self-employed

Discuss your ideas with your Personal Adviser, visit the Prince's Trust website or click onto Shell LiveWire.