What are Your Options at 16?

Are you thinking about what to do next after your GCSEs and missed our post-16 session? Well, look no further because I’ve summed it all up for you!

You have to be in education or training until you’re 18, but this can look different depending on what you’ve chosen to do.

The main post-16 options are:

  • College and more education.
  • Training programmes, such as apprenticeships and traineeships.
  • Working alongside part-time education or training.


College courses can be totally different depending on the subject of the course and the delivery of the teaching. No one course is the same!


What? A-Levels, which means advanced level qualifications, are subject-based courses that are often assessed with exams at the end of the two years. You can pick three or more subjects to study, and different courses have different GCSE grade requirements.

Why? If you’re unsure of what job you want to do in the future or are sure you want to go to university, then choosing to do A-Levels is a great choice! Even though universities will accept other qualifications, A-Levels are usually their preferred choice.

Click here to explore A-Levels.


What? BTECs, which the Business and Technology Education Council developed, are more practical and vocational-based qualifications. A BTEC course will often involve a work placement, so you can go out and experience the world of work in the industry related to this qualification.

Comparing them to other qualifications, one BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma is equivalent to 3 A-Levels.

Why? If you know what you want to work as in the future, BTECs offer both learning and hands-on experience. One of the most popular BTEC subjects is childcare because it’s great if you want to get straight into the industry, as you have the relevant qualifications and work experience to help boost your CV.

Click here to find out more about BTECs.


What? T-Levels are the new technical-based qualifications that aim to help you step into a career. Like a BTEC, one T-Level is equivalent to three A-Levels and involves a work placement. The 45-day work placement gives you hands-on experience and the space to apply your learning. The course usually lasts for two years and is assessed by several exams and placement-based projects.

Why? Like BTECs, if you know what job you want to do in the future, then T-Levels are great for preparing you for the world of work.

The selling point of T-Levels is that the qualifications have been developed in line with job standards, along with guidance from various employers.

For more information about this type of qualification and to find out about local courses, check out this video by Inspiring Worcestershire or click here to go to the T-Levels website!


Supported Internships (if you have an ECHP).

What? If you’re interested in starting work, supported internships give you the experience and skills that will help you gain crucial employability skills. Supported internships are structured work-based study programmes for SEND individuals who benefit from practical learning and experience. Supported internships are supported by learning providers, such as colleges, and can involve around 70% of learning in a workplace.

Supported internships are often at least six months long and can be part of full-time education courses. The work and experience completed during this internship will help your course and improve your employability skills.

Why? Supported internships are great for increasing a wide range of skills, as well as providing you with a careers coach to help you during your placement.

If you’re interested in this type of education, click here to learn more about supported internships.


What? Traineeships allow you to gain work experience and improve your employability and functional skills (i.e., maths and English). They are often described as a pre-apprenticeship step and involve a work placement of 70 hours or more, as well as a mock interview with career advice.

Training providers can help with deciding on a suitable traineeship course, as well as supporting you with your next steps afterwards. The following steps may involve staying with this provider to complete an apprenticeship.

Why? Traineeships are usually short courses (less than six months), so if you’re unsure of what to do next, enrolling on a traineeship can be highly beneficial in enhancing essential skills that can help you with any job.

Watch this video on what a traineeship is, or click here for more in-depth information about traineeships!


What? “Earn while you learn”. Apprenticeships are a mixture of learning and working, so you gain a qualification and paid work. An apprenticeship involves 20% of learning a week, but check out this video to learn more about how apprenticeships work!

Apprenticeships usually last over a year, with the endpoint assessment involving a work-related project and coursework. Depending on the type of apprenticeship and your employer, you may even be offered a permanent contract once the training ends!

Why? There are so many benefits to an apprenticeship (as a Business Admin Apprentice, I might be a bit biased 😉). If you’re worried about money, some employers will pay the regular minimum wage, so it’s always worth finding out more!

If you’re looking at moving into an apprenticeship, make sure you apply for as many of them as you can, as well as having a backup plan. Getting an apprenticeship is like getting a job, so it’s important to apply for lots!

For more information about apprenticeships, click here to go to the Worcestershire Apprenticeships website.


What? If you’re under 18, then you still have to be in education, but you may also want to undertake work to support your study. Alongside your working hours, you’ll also have to complete qualifications, but this can look very different depending on what you want.

From a training programme to several accredited short courses, the important thing is to participate in 280 hours of guided learning each year alongside employment.

Why? Choosing to start work alongside part-time study gives you the freedom to explore more courses, as well as earn money and start your career path.

For more information, click here to learn more about working alongside part-time study.

Remember – If you have any questions or worries about your next steps, we’re always here to help! You can click here to book an appointment with an advisor or email us at CareersAdmin@worcestershire.gov.uk

Don’t forget to check our calendar to stay updated on future events and activities!


The Good, the Bad, and the GCSE results!

A Blog by Emma from Careers Worcs

Thursday 24th August = GCSE Results Day!

Even though I finished high school many, many years ago (hey! I’m not that old!), I still remember how nervous I was picking up my GCSE results.

It was a nerve wracking experience that now, as an adult, I can look back on and realise that I spent too much energy on worrying and being nervous about them. I’d done the exams – I couldn’t change what was already written and I couldn’t change the grades I was about to get.

After getting results that I wasn’t thrilled with, I admit that I was really confused about what to do next.

I spent a lot of time worrying about my next steps, as my GCSEs meant that I didn’t meet the entry requirements for the course that I always wanted to do. It did upset me, and I didn’t really know who to turn to for advice.

I wish I knew then what I know now!

I know now that I shouldn’t have spent so much energy on worrying. That there were alternatives available…I just didn’t know what they were at the time or where to find them!

It’s important to remember that whether you’re happy with your GCSE results or not, you are worth so much more than your grades!

I wish a support system, like Careers Worcs, was available when I was stressing about my future!

It would’ve been great to sit with an Advisor to discuss all my options and how to get into my dream career.

Getting the results!

If, when you have your GCSE results and they aren’t what you wanted, why not pop in for a chat with one of our friendly Advisors? They can talk through your options and support you with your next steps – there are so many routes to achieving your goal!

Hey, even if you did get the results you wanted, why not come and see us to look at what other pathways are open to you. You might be surprised at what else you can do.


Come down and visit us at our Hub @ The Hive, Worcester.

We’re open weekdays from 8.30am – 4pm and we’re inside The Hive on the first floor (turn left at when you come in and left again). or give us a call on 0300 666 3 666


– Emma

Students look at their exam results in a school corridor