Post 18 options

There are a lot of options to choose from at 18. What’s right for you will depend on your situation and the career or job you have in mind. 

You may be eligible for the 16 to 19 Bursary Fund, which can help with things like books, travel or equipment if you will struggle with education or training costs.

If you have an Education Health and Care (EHC) plan there may be different and more suitable options available to you.

You can find out about financial support for university from Student Finance.

Combine work and study

Improve your skills and get work experience. Some options allow you to earn while you learn. Spend time in a real workplace while working towards a qualification that employers need.

Continue your studies

You may need to improve your results before taking your next step. You could do a course that gives you time to explore your options or get a work-related qualification.

If you want to move on to a higher level of learning, you could study at a university, college, Institute of Technology (IoT) or a National College. There are opportunities to learn online as well as to study part- time.

Get straight into work

Earn a wage, try out a job and start networking. You could even get the skills to start your own business.

You may also want to take a gap year before continuing with your studies or getting into work.

Speak to an adviser

You can call 0800 100 900 or use webchat to speak to an adviser.

We're open:

  • 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday
  • 10am to 5pm Saturdays and bank holidays

We're closed on Sundays, Christmas Day and New Year's Day.

Combine work and study


  • Description: A course that includes a work placement that will get you ready for an apprenticeship or a job. You’ll get work experience and some help to apply for your next steps. You can also improve your maths and English skills. You’ll get work experience and some help to apply for whatever you do next.
  • Location: You’ll spend a minimum of 70 hours in a work placement with the rest of your time in college or a training centre
  • Duration: 6 weeks to 1 year
  • Entry requirements:  You need to be aged between 16 to 24 or up to 25 with an Education Health and Care Plan with no higher than a level 3 qualification
  • Qualifications: English, maths, digital and work-related qualifications
  • Leads to: Apprenticeship, further education, work
  • Find out more:
    • ask your local college or training provider
    • speak to your school careers adviser
    • speak to your Jobcentre Plus adviser if you receive benefits
    • find a traineeship in your area

Supported internships

  • Description: Supported internships are for young people with learning difficulties or learning disabilities, who need extra support to get a job.
  • Location: You'll spend most of your time on placements with an employer, learning skills for work. You'll also get help from a tutor and a job coach in college or with a specialist provider.
  • Duration: A minimum of 6 months
  • Entry requirements: Aged 16-24 with an Education Health and Care Plan
  • Qualifications: GCSE English and maths
  • Leads to: Work, traineeship, apprenticeship
  • Find out more:
    • from your school or local college
    • speak to your social worker or a transition worker
    • speak to your Jobcentre Plus adviser


  • Description: Intermediate, advanced higher and degree apprenticeships combine practical on-the-job skills training with off-the-job learning. You'll get training that is relevant to your job and be paid a salary. Start at a level to suit you, with support if you have special needs or a disability.
  • Location: You’ll spend 80% of your time in the workplace and 20% off-the-job with some study in a college, training centre or Institute of Technology (IoT)
  • Duration: A minimum of 1 year
  • Entry requirements:  Will be dependent on the industry, job role and apprenticeship level
  • Qualifications: apprenticeship certificate, diploma, degree and masters depending on level
  • Leads to: Work, next level of apprenticeship, further education, higher education
  • Find out more: information about Apprenticeships

School leaver schemes

  • Description: A chance to learn and train with a large company while earning a wage. Offered in sectors like accountancy, engineering, finance, IT, law, leisure and retail. Similar to graduate employment schemes run over a longer period of time.
  • Location: You'll often rotate between different locations with the same company to get experience and it can include distance learning or time in college or university
  • Duration: 3 to 7 years
  • Entry requirements: Usually high grade A levels or equivalent and a keen interest in the sector you want to work in
  • Qualifications: A university degree and/or professional qualification
  • Leads to: Professional employment
  • Find out more: Directly from company websites

Continue your studies

Exam retakes

  • Description: If you didn't get the results you wanted, you can resit some of your courses or sign up for some new qualifications.
  • Location: School sixth form, sixth form college or further education college
  • Duration: 1 year
  • Entry requirements: 16+
  • Qualifications: Level 2 and 3 qualifications like GCSE, A level and BTEC
  • Leads to: Higher level or degree apprenticeship, further education, higher education, work
  • Find out more: Speak to your school or college careers leader or careers adviser or our careers advisers

1 year funded course for ages 18 to 19

  • Description: If you can't access work or work-based training in September 2020, you can take a free course to gain work related or technical skills needed by employers. Subjects include engineering, construction, health and social care, and ICT. You can also resit maths and English GCSE if you do not already have a grade 4 or above.
  • Location: With a college or training provider
  • Duration: Up to 1 year
  • Entry requirements: Age 18-19
  • Qualifications: Level 2 and 3 high value qualifications needed for specific employment sectors
  • Leads to: Work, higher level or degree apprenticeship
  • Find out more: By calling our advisers or speaking to your local provider

Higher technical skills courses

  • Description: Learn the higher level skills that employers want in sectors like finance, engineering, management and scientific jobs on a classroom-taught course.
  • Location: College or university, some of which specialise in subjects as part of an Institute of Technology or National College
  • Duration: 1 to 2 years
  • Entry requirements: Varies by course
  • Qualifications: Higher Nationals (HNC/Ds), foundation degrees, certificate/diploma of higher education and various other technical qualifications
  • Leads to: Skilled employment in higher technical job or higher levels of study
  • Find out more: By calling our advisers or speaking to your local provider

University degree

  • Description: An academic course that's usually studied at a higher education institution. Learn through lectures, seminars, group projects and independent study. There's funding available to support you and you can study full or part- time.
  • Location: At a university, college or online. You could go away to study, stay local or go abroad.
  • Duration: 3 to 4 years
  • Entry requirements: Universities set their own entry requirements. You'll usually need A Levels or equivalent qualifications
  • Qualifications: Ordinary or honours degree
  • Leads to: Postgraduate taught or research degrees, professional qualifications, graduate employment
  • Find out more: UCAS information about undergraduate degrees

Get straight into work


  • Description: A period of work experience where you can try out a job and get to know an industry.
  • Location: Workplace
  • Duration: 1 week to 1 year
  • Entry requirements: Age 16+
  • Qualifications: N/A
  • Leads to: Work, university/college, traineeships, apprenticeship
  • Find out more: Information about internships

Start a business

  • Description: Becoming an entrepreneur can be exciting, but think carefully about your ideas and make a solid business plan.
  • Location: Likely to start at home or shared office
  • Duration: N/A
  • Entry requirements: You may need special skills, qualifications or experience before you can start a business. There may also be start-up costs.
  • Qualifications: N/A
  • Leads to: Work
  • Find out more: Information about setting up a business

Get a kickstart job

  • Description: Get a 6 month paid Kickstart job with a local employer funded by the Government.
  • Location: Workplace or from home
  • Duration: 6 months
  • Entry requirements: Must be aged 16 to 24, in receipt of Universal Credit and at risk of long term unemployment.
  • Qualifications: N/A
  • Leads to: A stronger CV and better chance of securing your next job
  • Find out more: Talk to your Universal Credit Work Coach or check the jobhelp site

Get a job

  • Description: Get straight into the working world to start earning. You'll need an up-to-date CV and cover letter.
  • Location: Workplace or from home
  • Duration: Dependent on job offer
  • Entry requirements: Requirements differ between employers. You may need qualifications or experience for some jobs.
  • Qualifications: N/A
  • Leads to: Work
  • Find out more: Search for vacancies and advice on applying for jobs