Your options for working and learning
There are many ways you can both work and learn. The key advantages of doing this is that you can:
- earn money;
- continue learning;
- develop real experience and work-based skills in a specific job sector.
At age 16:
At 16 you have a range of options. You might want to try and find an apprenticeship, which is a job with training, or find a part-time job to do alongside study.
The law has now changed and everyone needs to be in some form of recognised education and training up to the age of 18.
You won't be forced to stay at school – you will be able to choose one of the following options:
- full-time education, such as school or college
- an apprenticeship
- part-time education or training if you are working or volunteering for 20 hours or more a week
At age 18:
At age 18+ you have a few more options. You might want to try and find an Advanced Apprenticeship, Higher Apprenticeship or Degree Apprenticeship. You might look for a job that offers training or you might find a job but then want to develop your skills by studying and working, which could include doing a college course at a local provider or higher education level course – either full-time, part-time or by distance learning.
Qualifications and skills
If you can, it’s important to pick a job that you can combine with training leading to a nationally recognised qualification.
Increasingly, employers are looking for people with higher level skills and qualifications, so, if you want to start work, finding a job which you can combine with training will give you better long-term prospects. Many employers are supportive of training, so talk to your employer about the training that might be available and where it might lead.
What if my employer doesn't offer training?
If you find your perfect job and your employer doesn't offer training, there are lots of ways in which you can continue to develop your skills and gain qualifications. For example, you could study part time during evenings and weekends, or through distance learning.
Higher level study alongside work
You may be able to use the qualifications you gain through work-based training as a route into university or higher education. This can further improve your job prospects and potential earnings in the future.
Your work experience could also be really useful if you want to apply to do a Foundation Degree, a Higher National Certificate or Diploma. These qualifications all combine academic study with work-based learning and many are offered part-time so you can carry on working.