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Young people are required to continue in education or training until their eighteenth birthday.

​This could mean choosing to stay in full-time education at Birchwood College or another local college, or finding a job or an apprenticeship that involves some form of training.

The choices are:

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




Traineeships are designed to help young people aged 16 to 24 who don’t yet have the skills or experience needed to get an apprenticeship or job.​

The programme can last a minimum of six weeks and up to a maximum of six months, with the content tailored to individual career needs.

Traineeships include:

  • A high-quality work experience placement with an employer.

  • Work preparation training with a training provider.

  • English and maths if needed provided by a training provider.


Apprenticeships are jobs with training leading to further qualifications. There are 4 levels of apprenticeships: 

  • Intermediate

  • Advanced

  • Higher

  • Degree

Intermediate and advanced apprenticeships can be done straight after year 11, but higher and degree apprenticeships require level 3 qualifications (A’levels, BTECs, Diplomas) so they are usually taken after a college course or after completing an advanced apprenticeship at age 18.

Why Go To University

Choosing higher education has many benefits. These include: developing valuable skills to give you wider opportunities, studying a subject you’re passionate about, gaining a qualification to help you follow your chosen career, higher earning potential.

​With a huge range of courses available, it’s important to do your research to decide what’s right for you.

UCAS – How it all Works

University applications are made through UCAS. There is a lot of useful information help and support on the UCAS website, both for students and their parents/carers.

Student Life

Make sure you have a look at Student Finance. You may be entitled to extra support. There are also other websites which can give you advice on the best way to manage financing further education.

Extra Curricular Activities and Volunteering

Whilst it is important to work hard and aim for the best possible grades at school/college it is also important to take part in activities to help build up skills and experience.

 Employers are looking for the following key skills: Communication, team-working, using initiative, working well under pressure, IT skills and enterprise.

 There are many extra-curricular activities run by school but also lots outside school e.g. Aircadets, St John’s Ambulance and through Warrington Youth Club.

For volunteering opportunities visit the Do It website.

Career Planning

Career Planning is important if you are to find that perfect career and will help you increase your chance of entering your career of choice.

There are 4 Stages in career planning 

Stage 1: Know Yourself

The first stage in any career plan is to increase your self-awareness.  Identifying your strengths and weaknesses and likes and dislikes, will help you narrow down the type of work you might enjoy. Think about: 

  • What is important to you?

  • What do you love to do?

  • What are you good at?

  • Where do you want to work? E.g. inside, outside, office, hospital, airport. 

The “Buzz Quiz” on is a useful starting point for this.

Stage 2: Know Your Options

Once you have built up a more detailed picture of yourself, the next stage is to see how this relates to the career opportunities out there.  Read up and do your research into different careers and find ones that match your skills, interests and values. 

The National Careers Service is a good place to start with over 800 job profiles in an easy to read format.

Prospects, the graduate careers website has equally as many graduate careers for you to research and some real life case studies for you to read.

The employer sponsored website Careersbox has some interesting video clips on different careers sectors. 

The more visual Icould has career videos linked to school subjects and job types.

Stage 3: Make Plans

What do you need to do next? 

 A specific course at college/6th form

  • University

  • Apprenticeship or traineeship

  • Further your skills and experience through work/volunteering

Stage 4: Take Action and Apply

4 Stages in Career Planning

  1. Thinking About Me
  2. Researching My Options
  3. Making Plans
  4. Taking Actins