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Your choices at 16

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Work or voluntary work route

Choosing to work and learn at 16



The law has changed so that students have to be in some form of recognised education and training until at least their 18th birthday.

This does not mean you have to stay in school until you are 18, you can choose from a range of things:

  • Full-time education, such as school or college;
  • An Apprenticeship;
  • Part-time education or training if you are employed, or self-employed for 20 hours or more a week;
  • Part time education or training plus volunteering for 20 hours or more a week.

If you do choose the work/voluntary work route this will involve you working towards a nationally-recognised qualification as well as being employed; self-employed or volunteering for 20 hours or more a week.

If this is of interest to you then you need to discuss this option with your teachers, tutors, careers advisers, parents and carers to ensure this route will:

  • meet your needs, both now and in the future;
  • give you opportunities for future employment;
  • ensure you have options for further training later.