Post-16 choices

It can seem daunting when you're considering the next steps after school, or if you want a change in career and are looking to retrain. But here's a great place to start to help you understand your options and make the right decisions.

You might be deciding whether to stay on at school, go to college, university, or maybe into a job. As with every key stage in your education and career, it's important to stop and reflect on what's important to you and think about your learning style. Not everyone will thrive in further education but that doesn't mean they won't succeed in the world of work. Finding your own path is the important thing and there are many choices, but we've outlined a few to get you started.

Find your strengths, key skills and motivations

We'd recommend you start with a bit of personal reflection. Do you have a good understanding of what your key skills and strengths are? It's also helpful to think about what you're passionate about and what motivates you.

To help you look at your strengths and find out what you're best at, we've created the Find Your Potential tool for people aged 16-24.

Find your potential

What are my options?

College and vocational courses

Vocational training is training designed with a specific job in mind that's related to a career or industry. It's training that focuses on developing skills and knowledge specific to that job and is great if you already know what job you want to do.

Find out about vocational courses


Apprenticeships are a good option if you know what job you want to do and like the idea of getting some on the job experience - which you usually get paid for - alongside studying. These programmes usually lead to a qualification at the end, some of which can be at degree level.

Learn more about apprenticeships

Starting a business

Budding entrepreneur or just want to be your own boss? NatWest Group runs a great programme working with schools for pupils aged 16-18 called Dream Bigger. Dream Bigger may help you explore if entrepreneurship is for you.

Visit Dream Bigger

Finding a job

Read more about how taking the time to research your options and plan for your applications will help you make a more informed choice.

Get help finding a job


Typically, a full-time university degree will last between three to four years and most people can access funding to support them. Make sure you check out UCAS to explore the full range of options in addition to their further support and information. While you're at university, you can start exploring internships and graduate programmes.

Find out more about Internships
Explore Graduate programmes

Getting support

If you're still at school, there are a number of charities and organisations that can help you gain valuable work experience before you leave. This will help you understand what you enjoy doing, as well as help with applications for further education or work.

CareerSense partners with a number of charities including: