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Apprenticeships and Traineeships

When can my child leave school?

In England, your child can leave school on the last Friday in June as long as they will be 16 years old by the end of that year’s summer holidays.

However, all young people must now stay in some form of education or training until their 18th birthday.

The main post 16 options for young people

  • Full time education at a school or college
  • An apprenticeship or Traineeship
  • Part time education or training - this must be in addition to employment, self-employment or volunteering for a minimum of 20 hours per week

Full Time Education

A comprehensive range of information about the education choices available to your child - both A Levels and vocational qualifications- at the end of Year 11 is available in the Careerpilot Your Choices at 16 section.

With more qualifications young people will have more choice about what job they might want to do, so they are more likely to find a job they enjoy rather than taking the risk of having to do unskilled work. Better qualifications will give your child a chance to earn more money – and, research shows, have greater job satisfaction.


If your child has a particular job sector or career in mind, then an apprenticeship could be a choice worth considering. Apprenticeships provide an opportunity to gain an insight into the reality of working in a job area, to develop the skills required to work in that type of employment and get paid.  Your child would also have an improved chance of getting a job at the end of the apprenticeship - research shows that around 90% of apprentices stay in work on completion of their training and 71% of apprentices stay with the same employer.

There is a wide range of different apprenticeships in almost every type of work - although not all options are available in every area - some young people find that they need to travel or, sometimes, temporarily move location to undertake the apprenticeship they have chosen. Competition for some of the more popular apprenticeship placements could be fairly intense.

Further useful information about apprenticeships is available in the Parent’s Guide to apprenticeships on the Amazing Apprenticeships site and also on the government website.


If your child is aged 16 to 24 and not quite ready to start an apprenticeship, they could consider a traineeship. Traineeships are designed to help young people who want to get an apprenticeship or job, but don’t yet have the appropriate skills or experience. Traineeships aim to prepare young people for their future careers by helping them to become ‘work ready’.

Please note that from August 1, 2023, provision previously delivered through the National traineeships programme will cease to exist and instead will be “integrated” in to other 16-19 study programmes for young people.  Individual providers may however, decide to continue to offer traineeships themselves and you should check with your local college or training provider.

Work or voluntary work route at 16

If your child would prefer the work/voluntary work route, this will involve them working towards a nationally-recognised qualification as well as being employed, self-employed or volunteering for 20 hours or more a week.

Things you could do to help your child make their post 16 choices

  • Encourage your child to think carefully about their skills, interests and ambitions and help them to translate these thoughts into potential employment possibilities for the future. We have a range of interactive tools on Careerpilot.
  • Suggest that your child looks at the Help with choosing your post 16 options area of Careerpilot.
  • Seek support from your school's careers adviser.

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