What are my options after leaving school?

Due to a recent change in the law, you are now required to stay in education until your 18th birthday. This is known as Raising the Participation Age.

Leaving school can be daunting, particularly if you don’t know what you want to do next. There are a lot of options available to you so it’s important to research all of your options to help you make the right decision for you.

Secondary Academic Support: would you like to have somewhere to go after school to get your homework done in a quiet supportive environment? visit into university  to find out about the Redbridge Homework club.


UPDATE: A-level study is changing. find out how this affects you; a-level reform facts

If you are leaving school, you may want to continue your education by going to college. There are 3 colleges and 2 school sixth forms in Southampton, so it is important to research them all so that you can choose the one that offers the courses you want.

There are also many excellent colleges just outside Southampton:

if you aren’t sure visit the National Careers service site where you can look at where the courses you want to study are run. Be aware that search words are very specific so check local college to make sure. national Careers service


After leaving school, you may decide you would prefer to apply for an apprenticeship. There are a range of options available to help you earn while you learn and acquire all the training and skills you need to pursue your career.


Other Options – Entry to Employment, Traineeships

STEP Programme

  • JOB

Not sure which to choose? Know what you want but not how to get there? Not sure what you want to do?

If you are unemployed or just about to leave Year 11, we can offer you one to one support to:

  • Plan what you want to do next
  • Develop a plan of activities to help you achieve your goals
  • Recognise your skills, talents and ambitions
  • Match you to the right opportunity, whether that’s education, employment traineeship, apprenticeship, further training or volunteering opportunities
  • Stay on track with that opportunity through continued advice and guidance
  • Create your CV, support with application forms and practice interview techniques

How the support is funded

The STEP Programme is funded by the European Social Fund as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England. The Department for Work and Pensions (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for the England European Social Fund programme. Established by the European Union, the European Social Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support skills development, employment and job creation, social inclusion and local community regenerations. For more information visit



When leaving school, you may feel like a change in learning environment but aren’t sure what to do next. Whether you don’t feel ready for an apprenticeship, or you didn’t get the grades you were hoping for, work-based learning might be the solution for you.


  • The Enham Trust have numerous skills, training and employment programmes that help disabled and disadvantaged people of all ages to take control of their lives and success in finding work. Every year they enable hundreds of people, with or without a disability, to develop their skills and work opportunities.
  • Skills to Achieve is a unique programme of support for young job seekers. They support young people aged 16-19 currently not in education, employment or training, through a unique programme of learning, they aim to help you find work, begin apprenticeships or start full-time education.
  • The Military Preparation College Designed specifically for 16-19 years olds (depending on when you turn 19), the MPC offers specific training and qualifications in uniformed and public services. The college is run across several locations in England and Wales.All of the activities on the course are designed to prepare you for the challenges of a worthwhile career in the Armed Forces or Public Services. You will leave the college equipped to make informed decisions in unfamiliar environments and situations.The pioneering programme at MPCT fuses physical training, vocational instruction, academic work and personal development. MPCT operates a roll-on-roll-off programme with a regular intake of learners. The course is tailored to the individual.
  • The Prince’s Trust offers programmes that aim to support young people back into education, employment or training. They provide programmes to develop young people’s personal and social development and enhance work skills. They help young people identify which programmes would be most suitable for them based on their interests and the skills
  • Safe helps isolated and disadvantaged young people rethink their options and find new ways to move forward. They offer support to help young people progress in life and work
  • Southampton City College offers learners the chance to join City Horizons at any time of the year to work on their maths, English and employment skills. The aim is to support progression to a career-led course of their choice; apprenticeship or a job
  • My Coaching delivers further education programmes to people aged between 15 and 19 years old
  • LeanDirect works with 16-18 year olds on a pre-apprenticeship programme. The 10-16 week long programme is designed to make young people apprenticeship and employment ready. This is achieved through employment skills training and a work experience placement with local businesses. We will also work with the young people to achieve Functional skills qualifications in Maths and English while on programme. For more information please contact our team who will be able to give you more information
  • The Wheatsheaf Trust offers individualised mentoring support for young people aged 14 – 24 to access education, training and employment opportunities. Travel expenses are reimbursed


Volunteering is a great way to build up your experience and impress employers. You can contact local charities and businesses to ask about work experience opportunities. It’s a good idea to send a CV and covering letter when you apply.

You can choose from a range of different options that can help you progress in your chosen career path.

  • Do-it can help you find volunteering opportunities
  • Vinspired will help you find ways of improving your employability through volunteering and work experience


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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