Options at 18
There are a whole range of options to choose from once you reach 18.
- Continue your studies
- Take an apprenticeship
- Get a full time or part time job
- Apply for a traineeship
- Start your own business
- Volunteer / take a gap year
Continue your studies
You could go to university and study for a degree qualification or take a higher education course at your local college. There are a vast range of courses to choose from and you will need to consider what is right for your to allow you to fulfil your career ambitions.
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You may be entitled to Student Finance
If you are unable to study full time at university due to other commitments or you don't have traditional entry qualifications you could study through The Open University
Take an Apprenticeship
An apprenticeship will give you the opportunity to earn money while learning on the job and gaining a qualification. Wages vary by employer and can be higher than you might expect for some roles. (Click here for the minimum wage for an apprentice) You will also be entitled to paid holiday. Apprenticeships normally last between 1-4 years depending on which level you take.
There are various levels of apprenticeship which offer different qualifications and skills.
- Level 2 - intermediate (equivalent to 5 GCSEs grades 9-4)
- Level 3 - advanced (equivalent to 2 A Level passes)
- Level 4 & 5 - Higher (equivalent to a higher education certificate/diploma or a foundation degree)
- Level 6 - Degree (equivalent to a bachelors degree)
- Level 7 - Degree (equivalent to a master's degree)
- Apprenticeships (.gov.uk)
- Apprenticeships Norfolk
- Apprenticeships Suffolk
- Find an apprenticeship on icanbea... or on gov.uk
Get a Full-time or Part-time job
Firstly you will need an up to date CV - if you haven't created your CV or you would like to improve the one you have, check out our CV Wizard which may be able to help you or take a look at our CV Tips page.
You could also check out our Jobseeker support page which will give you some tips on where to look.
Apply for a Traineeship
A traineeship is a course that includes a work placement which will prepare you for an apprenticeship or a job. They last from 6 weeks to 1 year and will allow you to get work experience and help to apply for your next steps
Start your own Business
Becoming self employed and starting your own business could be an option. You will need think carefully about what you would like to do and you will need to create a business plan. For further information and help take a look at The Princes Trust self employment vs employment and Support for young entrepreneurs
Volunteer or take a Gap Year
You may want to think about taking a gap year before you go to university or start a full time job. A productive gap year could be valuable on your CV and will give you some time off from studies to reflect on what you want to do next.
There are various options for your gap year but it is important to plan what you want to do well in advance, some voluntary work projects have strict deadlines and some can be quite expensive.
The following are a few ideas:
Volunteer in the UK or abroad - There are various organisations that provide gap year opportunities for young people, such as:
- Project Trust
- Year Out Group
- Real Gap Experience
- Volunteering England
- Volunteer Scotland
- Volunteer Wales
If you are using an agency or organisation, check them out first to ensure they are reputable and financially sound.
Travel - you may decide to explore the world and immerse yourself in new cultures.
Paid employment or a work placement - Relevant experience may be useful in the future if you are looking to get into a particular career or industry.
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