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Your Future - Your Choice

How do you decide on the best education and training options for you?

You are now required to participate in education or training until at least your 18th birthday. It is well known that better qualified and more highly skilled people generally earn more and have more job options. Continuing in education and training and making the most you can of that experience post-16 will certainly help you to succeed.

If you are planning to go straight into a job, check that your employer will allow you to access part-time training to gain qualifications. This will mean that you have better promotion prospects and, usually, higher wages in the longer term.

There are lots of different starting points for thinking about the course or training you might want to do. Everyone is different so what might work for a friend, might not work as well for you.

What Level of Education and Training is right for you?

Levels are the only way to explain how the qualifications stack up against each other. The level of education or training you choose will depend on what qualifications you have already or are expecting to have at the time you choose your next course.

Options include:

  • Foundation Learning
  • GCSEs 4
  • A Levels
  • Vocational
  • Traineeships and Supported Internships
  • Apprenticeships
  • Higher Education

To understand how different routes compare refer to the chart on page 2 of the Your Future - Your Choice booklet.

Where can I go for further help and advice?

We recommend that you first read the Your Future - Your Choice booklet to help you understand what education and training options there are and provide you with information to help you make your choices.

Remember, parents, friends and family are often the people who know you best and a second opinion from someone who knows you well can help you organise your thoughts. Teachers have a wealth of experience with dealing with answering questions on education. Your school careers’ co-ordinator or student support officer can be very helpful when trying to understand career paths. The school, college or training provider where you might be interested in studying are best placed to answer questions on their facilities and courses. Speak to other young people who are doing the course you are interested in, or studying in the place where you are considering going. Youth Advisers are trained to be aware of the opportunities available to you and can give you sound impartial advice. For services in Poole see and for Bournemouth see

There are also links to helpful information and organisations on the right hand side of this page.