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The choices you make at 16 will affect the university courses or type of job you can apply for later, so it's important that you think now about your future career. You need to stay in learning or training until you're 18 but you don't need to stay in school. The important thing is that you continue to learn. This is known as raising the participation age (RPA).
Your options are:
If you are 18 or over, the options below are still relevant to you but you may need to seek advice regarding funding for further education.
Explore your options below:
You can apply to the sixth form at your current school or at a different school if they are offering the course you are interested in.
If you are thinking of changing school make sure you look on the school's website to find out when their open days are so you can look around, meet the teachers, and see the facilities to help you decide. Find sixth forms in your area.
Continuing to study will:
Sixth forms vary a lot in what they offer. This can range from vocational courses and BTEC/OCR to AS/A level and the International Baccalaureate.
You can search for courses by subject or by school.
Kent has excellent colleges offering of a range of academic and vocational courses, including agriculture, plumbing, electrical installation, office skills, beauty therapy, catering and tourism.
Continuing to study will:
If you are thinking of going to college make sure you look on their website to find out when their open days are so you can look around, meet the staff, and see the facilities to help you decide. Find out open days and application deadlines for colleges in your area.
Read our careers advice if you're not sure what you want to do yet or if you want to find out which courses you need to take for your chosen career.
16-18 year olds
You now need to stay in learning or training until you are 18, so if you decide to start work, it needs to have learning attached to it, like an apprenticeship.
If you are 18 and considering alternatives to university, you can find opportunities on the Not Going to Uni website.
Growth sectors for jobs
Find further information and opportunities within job sectors that are predicted for growth in Kent:
A work experience placement will give you the opportunity to practice and develop some important employability skills while trying out your career ideas.
Apprenticeships are a fantastic way of getting work-based training. You'll do real jobs for real employers, training on the job and earning while you learn. Find out more about apprenticeships.
Some work-based learning providers who offer apprenticeships also offer Study Learning Programmes for young people aged 16 to 19. These include vocational courses such as catering, construction, hairdressing, pre-apprenticeships and, for those not yet certain which vocational area they want to follow, personal and social development. To find out more use the apprenticeships Training Finder on the Kent Association of Training Organisations (KATO) website.
Volunteering is a great way to get valuable work experience, helps you become more employable and boosts the impact of your CV. Make sure you include it on any applications you make.
You could apply for internships, work experience or contribute to your local area by being a community based volunteer.