Your choices at 18

Things to consider and all your options

You now need to choose your options at 18, and there are plenty of things to choose from.

The choices you make will be affected by many things like your financial situation, interests, your attitude to study, your qualifications, the job market, etc.

Another big factor is the job or career you have in mind and now is a good time to really get into the detail about which job sectors you are interested in, what sort of opportunities they offer and what qualifications they are looking for. Find out more about jobs and Job Sectors.

Choices you could consider at 18

As always, getting advice and support from those who know you or are career specialists is very important, as is finding out about the different employment options available to you and the qualifications and skills you need for a particular career.

Higher education

If you have Level 3 qualifications like A Levels, Advanced Apprenticeship, BTEC Level 3, etc. you could explore higher level study. If you haven't, but would be interested in higher level study later, there are lots of ways in, through Access Courses and through study alongside work.

The Lifepilot site has information for over 21 year olds on how to get into higher level study - even without Level 3 qualifications, using skills and experiences from life and work.

Not Going to Uni

If you are thinking that university is not for you then you could explore alternatives, such as:

The Not Going to Uni site and Student Ladder site have lots of information about the alternatives and advertise vacancies and opportunities for the different options.

Why skills are also important

Remember - young people with qualifications are more attractive to employers than those without and that work experience and general employability skills, such as team work, communication skills, etc. are also valued.

Read this article to find out more about the skills employers want.

Complete HE Skills Map which will help you identify your skills and how to promote them when applying for courses and jobs.

It’s back to those three important questions again:

  1. Where am I now? (What qualifications, skills, interests, etc. do I have?)
  2. Where do I want to get to? (What job/career would I like to be doing in 5 years time? What will be important to me - to have my own place, etc?)
  3. How will I get there? (What course or training is likely to get you where you want to go?)

If you would like to get online or telephone advice from a careers adviser you can click this link to access an adviser from the National Careers Service

If you need to write a CV for a job follow this link to find information explaining how to do it.

See how qualifications can affect pay

Often the more you learn the more you earn! That's not always true but the graph below shows that in 2015, 21-30 year old graduates (people with a degree) earned £6,000 more than non-graduates, on average.