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What should I do after my GCSEs?

It’s now up to you to forge your own path into the world of work.

What should I do after my GCSEs?

girl wearing rucksack walking

The big day is has arrived. You're literally holding your future in your hands: a big brown envelope with your GCSE results inside.

This day is a big deal. Instead of being told what to study, what to wear and when to take a break, you now have the freedom to make your own decisions. You still have a few years left in education, but there are lots of options for you to choose from – it's now up to you to forge your own path into the world of work.

So, what are the options?

1. Sixth form

Sixth form is still part of a school, but you'll have much more freedom than Key Stage 4 students. In most sixth forms, you can choose 3 or 4 AS level courses which you study for one year, and then take 3 of the subjects into 2nd year as A levels. Many sixth forms offer a wide variety of subjects – from philosophy to photography; from media to marine science – so it's a great opportunity to expand your knowledge and specialise your skills.

Sixth forms often have separate common rooms, social events and uniform policies for sixth formers, so it will feel like a big step up from secondary school.

2. College

Colleges offer the same level of education as sixth forms, but they're not part of a school. Colleges also tend to offer more vocational training courses – such as NVQs, BTECs and higher national diplomas – as well as AS and A levels. This means you can study a wider range of subjects, including beauty therapy, travel and tourism, woodwork or animal care – the possibilities are endless!

If you're not sure whether college or sixth form is best for you, check out their open days to get a feel for the place and see what courses are on offer in your area.

3. Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships combine on-the-job training with study, so most apprentices usually spend one day a week at college. This means you can earn-while-you-learn and gain valuable work experience while you train. Apprenticeships normally take between 1 and 4 years to complete depending on the level, and stretch from entry level courses to degree apprenticeships.

Apprenticeships are available in a range of subjects across all sectors, and many high-quality, prestigious companies offer them – from Google to the BBC. Most apprentices stay on in the company as a full-time employee, so they're the perfect way to learn the ropes, build your experience and kickstart your career.

In fact, loads of world-renowned celebrities started out as apprentices. We've selected our top 10 celeb apprentices here – can you guess who they are?

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This article includes research and opinion sourced by OneFile at the time of publication. Things may have changed since then,
so this research is to be used at the reader's discretion. OneFile is not liable for any action taken based on this research.