Post-16 choices

What are my options after leaving school?

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

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. View more information on A-levels

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. Read more about T Levels


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. You can study from Level 2 all the way to Degree Level! View our Apprenticeships page for more details.


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. Find out more about volunteering

Help with planning and applying for post-16 options

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.


Referrals are currently closed

We are unable to take referrals at the moment. Instead, our drop in locations are open weekly:

  • Mondays 12pm-3pm in Central Library
  • Tuesdays 1.30pm-3.30pm in Testlands hub, Millbrook

Contact the Southampton post 16 service - UNDER REPAIR

Flying Start Southampton

Resources to help you decide your options and plan for the future can be found on the Flying Start website


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.

If you have applied and don't hear from them – contact the college:

Applications for Apprenticeships

Make sure you are registered. 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.

Alternatively you can contact National Careers Service through the National Careers Service website.

Or you can call 0800 100 900 or email

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.