Choices after year 13

The thought of leaving school or college can be daunting - some of you might have been in the same school since year 7 for others it is very exciting as it is the next phase of your life!

Here are several option ideas which we hope will help you to make some plans.


You need to start planning your job search towards the end of year 13 by making sure you have an up to date CV. You can get hints and tips on how to complete one on this website.

There are many ways to search for vacancies whether it is using the internet or by word of mouth. Check out our job search section.

Make sure you get parent carer or other adult to check your applications before you send them off.

Do not become down hearted - it is a competitive market out there try and get some voluntary work or work experience to support you CV and applications


Apprenticeships give you the opportunity to gain work skills whilst studying for a qualification. Anyone over the age of 16 and not in full time education can apply for an apprenticeship.

How do they work?

There are 3 Levels:

Intermediate:  Level 2      - equivalent to GCSE Level
Advanced:        Level 3      - equivalent to A Level
Higher:              Level 4      - equivalent to Foundation Degree Level

An apprenticeship includes 3 parts:

  • A competence based element – to show you can perform job tasks effectively
  • A technical element – to show technical skills and understanding of theory behind these
  • A skills element (maths, English and ICT (if relevant to the role)
  • All apprentices will receive the appropriate national minimum wage (£2.68 for under 19 and first year apprentices, £5.03 for 19 and 20 year olds.


Where to find an Apprenticeship

Other Websites for school leavers:

Many large companies such as Barclays, BAE, Kwik fit, Superdrug and John Lewis offer apprenticeship opportunities so check out their websites too!

School Leaver Programmes

If you want to get into business but don’t want to go to university you may find a School Leaver Programme might be the option for you.

These are generally well paid and you may find run parallel to many graduate schemes. They have the attraction of being less competitive at A level entry.  These schemes are becoming increasingly popular with employers and school leavers. Programmes last between 3 to 5 years and will enable you to obtain higher level qualifications whilst gaining valuable work skills.

There are a wide range of companies that offer these schemes however you may need to move away from the Medway area to find an opportunity.

Find out more information about school leaver programmes and how to apply.

Higher Education – University

In January 2013, 399,342 young people aged 18 & 19 applied to go to university despite the rise in tuition fees.

Why go to university?
Choosing higher education has many benefits!

These include:

  • developing valuable skills to give you wider opportunities
  • studying a subject you're passionate about
  • gaining a qualification to help you follow your chosen career.
  • Higher earning potential.

There are hundreds of courses available across the UK so it is very important to do your research to decide what's right for you.

There are lots of websites and resources to help you make your decision and it will help to talk things through with your parents/carers, careers advisor and teachers in school and friends and relatives who have been to uni. There is so much to decide and plan such as, do you want to stay near home which will help reduce your living costs or do you want to move away and get a real taste of student life!!!

Use the following websites to get further information and advice:


Gap Year

More and more students are choosing the option of having a Gap year at the end of year 13 before going off to university. In fact last year approximately 230,000 young people decided to take a Gap Year!

You can travel work or volunteer in another country or in the UK. You need to consider the cost implications and make valuable use of your time out by improving your skills and gaining valuable life experience.

Things to think about!!!!

  • Do your research - speak to people who have been on a gap year and join online forums.
  • Take time to plan and prepare - it can take 9-12 months to plan and raise the funds.
  • Don't think of your gap year as a break from your career. Keep in mind how you will make the most of the skills and experiences gained to boost your CV.
  • Use the time to make contacts and develop networks that could help you in your future career.
  • Think about your existing skills and how you could use them, e.g. mentoring, sport, first aid certificate, language skills, childcare skills

There are many websites that will help you to consider your options and give you information and advice and we found these to be a good starting point;


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