Welcome to Access Southampton


Your possible Career Pathways

Pathways after GCSEsPathways after turning 18Pathways after further education
A LevelsUniversityPostgraduate Courses (Masters or PHD)
T LevelsApprenticeshipsGraduate Schemes
BTECsDegree ApprenticeshipsEmployment
Vocational TrainingHNCs / HNDsDegree Apprenticeships
Supported InternshipsSupported InternshipsVolunteering
Functional SkillsEmploymentWork experience
Gap Year

There’s no right or wrong option, everyone is different. Explore all of your options and decide what would be best for you based on your career goals, how you prefer to learn and what you want to achieve.

What are my options after leaving school?

After year 11 you need to stay in some form of learning until you are 18.

Raising the Participation Age

Research your options, UCAS gives a great overview of what paths you can take after your GCSEs.

There are three main options available to you:

  • Vocational courses at college
  • Academic subjects at a school sixth form or college
  • An apprenticeship or other work based learning


A-levels are an academic choice. If you enjoyed studying GCSEs this could be right for you. You can choose to study at a 6th form college or in a school sixth form.

There are three colleges and two school sixth forms in Southampton.

There are also many excellent colleges just outside Southampton:

You’re going to be dedicating a lot of time to the subjects you choose, so it’s important to take things that interest you and that you want to study further.

CIFE have created guides on a range of A Level subjects where you can find more information on your chosen subjects: www.cife.org.uk/article/guide-individual-a-level-subjects

T Levels

T Levels are a brand-new, 2-year qualification that you can do as an alternative to A levels, other post-16 courses or an apprenticeship. They bring classroom learning and an extended industry placement together on a course designed with businesses and employers.

T Levels are ideal if you have finished your GCSEs and want the knowledge and experience to get straight into employment, an apprenticeship or higher education.

You’ll spend 80% of your time in the classroom and 20% on a 45-day placement with an employer to give you the skills and knowledge companies look for.

Find out more about T Levels: www.tlevels.gov.uk

Who offers T Levels in the area?


This is a route to gain qualifications while working. You can start an Apprenticeship from the age of 16 and there is no upper age limit. If you’re looking for your first job, already in a job and want to gain professional qualifications, thinking about re-training into a different career, or returning to work, an apprenticeship can help you to develop important skills while gaining valuable work experience. You can study from Level 2 all the way to Degree Level!

Go to our Apprenticeships page for more details. 

Help with applying for College, Apprenticeships or Jobs

Young Adults Employment Hub

Southampton City Council are working in partnership with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to support the city’s young people into training, apprenticeships and employment opportunities with the Young Adults Employment Hub.

We are able to signpost to advice and support around housing, benefits, health and wellbeing to provide a holistic and person-centred service for young people.

If you’re aged 18-24, are in receipt of Universal Credit and live in or around Southampton, you can get support from us to find employment. To get support from a dedicated Young Adults Employment Hub Worker:

Speak to your Work Coach or leave a note in your Universal Credit Journal

Email us or call us on 023 8091 7585

Complete a self-referral form and email it back to us

Engagement Support

If you are aged 16 to 18 (25 if care experienced or SEND), currently not in education, employment or training or at risk of leaving education, employment or training without a progression plan, you can get support from one of Southampton City Council’s experienced Engagement Officers to help you explore your options and support you back into employment, education or training.

Please complete this form if you are a young person, or on behalf of a young person, and the team will be in touch: Engagement support – Referral form | Southampton City Council


Not feeling ready for the next step? Hundreds have benefitted from a short time on one of these local programmes.

  • The Enham Trust Training and employment programmes that help disadvantaged people of all ages to take control of their lives and find success in finding work.
  • Skills to Achieve for young job seekers aged 16-19 currently not in education, employment or training.
  • The Military Preparation College Designed specifically for 16-19 years olds. The college equips you to make informed decisions in unfamiliar environments and situations. Fusing physical training, vocational instruction, academic work and personal development.
  • The Prince’s Trust programmes that aim to support young people back into education, employment or training through developing young people’s personal and social development and enhance work skills.
  • Safe helps isolated and disadvantaged young people rethink their options and find new ways to move forward.
  • Southampton City College An opportunity to work on maths, English and employment skills. The aim is to support progression to a career-led course; apprenticeship or a job
  • Active for All delivers further education programmes to people aged between 15 and 19 years old


Volunteering is a great way to build up your experience and impress employers.

Flying Start Southampton

Flying Start – Southern Universities Network

Resources to help you decide your options and plan for the future

Applications to college

If you have applied to college you will receive information on next steps from that college. They may ask you to bring predicted grades to enrolment or you may sit an assessment to make sure you’re on the right level of course.

You can still apply for college, interviews will be over the phone.

If you have applied & don’t hear from them – contact the college:

Richard Taunton Sixth Form College

City College Southampton

Itchen College

Bitterne Park 6th Form

St Annes 6th Form

Applications for Apprenticeships

Make sure you are registered Here vacancies to start in the autumn will be out already and increasing over the next few months.

Support with applying can be found on our Apprenticeships page.

Unsure about your September plans? Contact your school careers department for support

ONLINE with National careers – link to webchat on the home page or: 0800 100 900, or email nationalcareers@cxk.org

What you choose to do will depend on where you want it to lead you. What career ideas have you got? Do the research and make sure you are heading in the right direction.

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