Not sure about university?
Are you in Year 11, 12 or 13 and wondering what to do after leaving school or sixth form? Here are some of your options if you decide not to go to uni.
Not everyone chooses to go to university. Your choices may be affected by your financial situation, what you’re interested in, or what qualifications you’ve got. Or maybe you just don’t know what you want to do. There are lots of good reasons to study for a degree, but if it’s not for you then that’s ok too!
Let’s look at some of the options available to you, and where you can get more help. Remember that you can always go back into education later if you want to! Bear in mind that there are less jobs for people who don’t have many qualifications than there used to be.
The rules if you’re under 18
After Year 11 it is a legal requirement that you are in some form of education until the age of 18. This could be studying full time or doing work based training.
Your options are:
- general academic courses – A levels and applied A levels in sixth form or at college
- work based training – learning on the job linked with a learning provider
- vocational courses – like BTECs or NVQs at your sixth form or local colleges
- volunteering for 20 hours a week – as long as you’re working towards a qualification.
For more information on the courses that could help you get into your chosen area of work, check out our career choices pages.
Find out more about different types of work
If you’re in Year 11
- Do you have a career or future job in mind?
- If not, take our skills and career quizzes to see what type of job might suit you.
- If you still don't know what area of work to go for, you may want to choose a subject that interests you, like an A level in English Literature or a BTEC Diploma in Art and Design.
Take our skills and career quizzes
If you’re 18
Here are some options for you to think about. You could:
- do a level 1 to 3 college course – like a BTEC Level 1 Diploma in Creative Technologies, Beauty Therapies Diploma at Level 2, or City and Guilds Legal Secretary Diploma at Level 3. Getting onto courses like these depends on your qualifications.
- study a higher education course at college – Higher National Certificates, Higher National Diplomas and Foundation Degrees can be studied full or part-time. Some colleges have lower fees than universities, but check first.
- take an apprenticeship or higher apprenticeship
- find a job or volunteer work.
Finding work isn’t always easy. You’ve probably heard in the news that there’s a high level of unemployment among young people. You can help yourself by:
- being realistic – about what kind of job you might get at first. It may not be the best pay, and it might be part time, but it will give you experience. Then you may get a chance to move up to a better job with the same employer or find work elsewhere.
- being willing to travel – whether it’s by car, by train, by bus or on the London Underground. If you look further from home, there will be more jobs you can apply for.
- getting more qualifications or training – you may need training or a qualification first to get into the job you want. If so, look at the possibility of apprenticeships or further study.
Other people who can help
Get talking to anyone and everyone about your plans for the future. Start with your:
- friends – yours and your family’s
- careers teacher
- careers adviser
- nearest careers service – they’ll have a list of local training and apprenticeships.
Where to go to find out more
There are loads of great websites that can help you work out what to do next. As well as checking out your local colleges to see what courses they do, have a look at these sites to get you started:
Apprenticeships and training providers
Other useful websites
This site has loads of interesting information on apprenticeships, jobs, gap years and distance learning.