With GCSE Results Day finally upon us, hundreds of thousands of teenagers across the country will be weighing up their options for the future.
Although A-levels remain the traditional educational route after GCSEs, they are not the only option. More and more students are turning towards apprenticeships and further education as real alternatives.
Many of the teenagers picking up their results have already been in education for the best part of 12 years.
But these days, teenagers - up to the age of 18 - are legally required to stay in education, training, or get a job with accredited training - which the government calls ‘raising the age of participation’.
Being in further education or training doesn’t mean teenagers have to stay in the same school. There are lots of options.
So, for those students who didn’t do so well in their GCSEs, or don’t find the prospect of another two years at school studying A-levels appealing, here are our top three options for life after GCSEs:
• Do an apprenticeship
Apprenticeships have had some mixed press. The quality and rates of pay have been in the news, but there are lots of good apprenticeship opportunities out there and lots of organisations who can help, and offer you the right information;. Check out ‘The Student Room’s’ new Apprenticeship Hub, which is full of accurate and up-to-date information - and it can even help to dispel some of those apprenticeship myths.
• Do a traineeship
If you are not quite ready for an apprenticeship and need to work on your skills, then don’t worry; there are lots of opportunities for you to complete a traineeship.
• Go to your local college
There are two types of college – Sixth Form college and Further Education college. Sixth Form Colleges are mostly geared up for students between 16-18 years old, and tend to concentrate on academic education.
Further Education colleges are generally much bigger than Sixth Form colleges and offer a wider range of subjects, including vocational education (BTECs and NVQs). Plus, they are not just for teenagers; Further Education colleges offer adult education and higher education too.
• The Gov.uk website can help you find more information about courses offered by schools and colleges in your area if you are between the ages of 14-19.