Post 16 Vocational routes


What is an Apprenticeship?

It is a job with training i.e. you work, you learn, you get paid and you have holidays just like other workers only an apprenticeship is designed to be completed whilst you are at work rather than in your own time. At the end of the apprenticeship there is an assessment to complete which then leads to a certificate of achievement that belongs to the apprentice, not the employer. There are also lots of apprenticeship training providers that have some very good support systems in place for all would be apprentices, no matter what their backgrounds or academic abilities are.

Courses are designed to meet the specific needs of employers and job sectors. This means that students develop the skills and knowledge that employers want – increasing their employability and likelihood of finding a job after completing their studies.

Vocational courses can be assessed in a variety of ways, rather than the more traditional essay and exam method favoured by academic courses like A-levels and degrees, this can be advantageous to people who prefer to be assessed differently and demonstrate their skills in other ways.

Studying for a vocational qualification can help people decide whether a particular job or job sector is actually right for them.

The options for vocational study are much more varied than in the past: they are no longer just for people who want to pursue careers in construction, plumbing and hairdressing, for example, aspiring graphic designers, IT specialists and music producers are just as likely to find a course that will help them towards their dream job.

Apprenticeships combine practical training in a job with study and take 1 to 5 years to complete depending on their level.

As an apprentice you will:

  • work alongside experienced staff
  • gain job-specific skills
  • earn a wage and get holiday pay
  • get time for study related to your role (usually one day a week)

For more information on occupational routes and the apprenticeships attached to each, click on the link provided;

All the apprenticeships that are currently available, and there are many, are listed alphabetically or you can click on the box to the left of the occupational route that might be of interest to you and it will list the apprenticeships that are suited to that area of work.

Where and when to look for an apprenticeship?

You can search for apprenticeships on the national government website or more locally at It is also worth searching on the websites of companies that are of interest to your son or daughter. Look for the careersearly careersapprenticeships or working for us pages. Remember, an apprenticeship is a job. Like any job, there may be many people applying for on job. You need to make sure that you stand out from the crowd.

Local colleges and training providers will also help you with applying for and getting into an apprenticeship.

If you are a year 11, then you will be looking at finding an apprenticeship and applying from around February. This is not always the case though as some businesses will be recruiting from November so be on the look out early.


Traineeships help 16 to 24 year olds – or 25 year olds with an education, health and care (EHC) plan – get ready for an apprenticeship or job if they don’t have the appropriate skills or experience.

Traineeships are free. The cost of training is given directly to training providers by the government.

From the training provider you get:

  • training to prepare you for work including CV writing and what to expect in the workplace
  • support to improve your English and maths if you need it

From the employer you get:

  • a high-quality work placement of at least 100 hours
  • an interview for an apprenticeship or job if available, or an exit interview with written feedback

Programmes can be tailored to meet your needs or those of the business and local labour market.

A traineeship isn’t a job and employers are not required to pay you for the work placement.

T Levels

T Levels are new courses which were first introduced  in September 2020. T-levels will follow GCSEs and will be equivalent to three A levels. These two-year courses have been developed in collaboration with employers and businesses so that the content meets the needs of industry and prepares students for work. They will provide the knowledge and experience needed to open the door into skilled employment, further study or a higher apprenticeship. There will be a large range of courses on offer, including Finance, Accountancy, Media, broadcast and production.

The traditional academic route involves taking A Levels (usually 3 or 4) and these can include subjects that you are already aware of (like History, Music or English) but also subjects you may be less familiar with like Psychology, Sociology and Geology.

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