Year 11 Careers Advice and Guidance – For Students and Parents/Carers

Year 11 is a very important time in high school and as well as GCSE examinations there are key decisions to be made in regards to post 16 education or training.

There are a range of assemblies, base group time sessions as well as careers focused lessons in the curriculum that are aimed at building self-esteem, confidence and aspirations for the future. Students and parents/carers have access to apprenticeship, training, further and higher education providers via our bespoke assemblies, post 16 pathways evening and open events which are hosted by the providers. In addition to this, there is a careers fair in the summer term which provides students with the opportunity to talk to employers and training providers about prospective career pathways.

Options After Year 11

Students can go onto study theory based qualifications such as A levels or vocational qualifications (practical) such as BTECs.

You can study these at:

  • College
  • Sixth form
  • Training provider

Or students can complete work based learning qualifications – apprenticeships.

When deciding which post 16 route to apply for, consider the following:

  • Career pathways of interest
  • Preferred way of learning
  • Readiness to enter the world of work

Year 11 students will  get support and advice from various people in their  life about what to do after high school. This can range from teachers and careers leaders to family members but it is important to remember that it is your future and only you can make that decision.

Below is a summary of the different types of qualifications available to students should they wish to study at a sixth form or college after year 11.


An apprenticeship is where you work as an employed member of a company as an ‘apprentice’ as part of your job and you will do a qualification alongside usually at college. Apprenticeships can be done after GCSEs or after college/sixth form.

Apprenticeships are offered in a wide range of sectors from hair and beauty to aerospace engineering. It is paid work and apprentices will be paid at least the minimum wage for their age range and holiday pay.

You can get a full time job from an apprenticeship or go onto university to study for a degree (this may be part time whilst you still work as a higher level apprentice). 

Apprenticeship Levels

Apprenticeships are a great option for when students leave school, however we strongly recommend that young people apply for college or sixth form as well so that all options remain open to them.

Below are some useful online resources to help you find out more about apprenticeships and current vacancies in the local area.

Suffolk New College – click here

Apprenticeships Suffolk – click here

Take Your Place –


All students and their parents/carers have access to Unifrog which is an online careers platform that provides information and resources to help young people explore their interests and compare the full range of pathways available to them. Unifrog provides one place for students to draft all materials needed for applications such as CVs and Personal Statements.

Careers Library Tool – This tool can help when choosing Post 16 options, it can help to understand some of the different job roles and careers that subject combinations can lead to. This can help you recognise if the subjects are the right fit for you.

Subject Library Tool – You can search for information about specific subjects you could study further at university by clicking on the subject library tool.

College/Sixth Form Tool – Here you can search for qualifications and courses you are interested in – you are then provided with a list of educational providers who offer that subject/qualification in your area.

Apprenticeships Tool – Use this tool to search for apprenticeships that interest you in your local area. Once searches are generated you can filter options by various preferences. Once final shortlists are created you can click on links that take you directly to the provider’s website, so you can apply. To access Uniforg click here – login details have been shared via email.


National Citizen Service (NCS) helps 15-17 year olds build skills for work and life by taking part in new challenges and meeting new people, gaining confidence and independence along the way. Typically running in the school holidays,  the NCS programme is delivered by more than 100 local businesses, youth centres, sports clubs and grassroots initiatives.

Students are encouraged to participate in the National Citizen Service (NCS) scheme to help them prepare for post 16 education or training as well as the world of work. Please click here to find out more about NCS and how to sign up.

Post 18 Options

Once students have completed education or training and are 18 years old, they can go onto study at a higher level or get a job.

Higher Education

Higher Education covers all types of higher-level education (Level 4 qualifications and above) that you can study, following post-16 education. This includes Higher Education at university, and at FE Colleges (studying qualifications ranging from HNCs, HNDs, and full degrees).


A range of apprenticeships can be studied following post-18 education. This can range from Level 2 apprenticeships, all the way through to degree level apprenticeships (Level 6).


Students who are considering entering the world of work after their post-18 education/training may also consider the apprenticeship pathway, as that combines further training with real-work. Students should look to job vacancy websites to explore live opportunities, such as Indeed, Reed, and Linkedin. There are lots of local job opportunities available to students, so you should consider looking at local labour market information (please refer to our website ), to see which sectors may be more likely to have job vacancies and opportunities.

Last updated June 4, 2024