In Years 10 and 11, you will be working on your option subjects and getting to know which subjects you enjoy, and which ones you find less enjoyable. This is the ideal opportunity to help you decide which direction you want to take after Year 11.
It’s never too early to look at your options post-16. Speak to your careers adviser or teachers in school to discuss your future options.
If you'd like to continue your education, colleges hold open events and taster sessions during the summer term. By attending these, it will give you a head start when it comes to deciding what you want to apply for in the autumn term of Year 11.
If you don’t want to go to college or sixth form, think about what sort of apprenticeship or job you might like to do. Remember, if you decide to work, you’ll also need to do part-time education or training too.
See the map of colleges and sixth forms for further details.
Some schools still offer work experience opportunities in Year 10 or 11, but not all do. However, you can find your own work experience that you could do during the school holidays. The benefits of work experience are:
you can try out an area of work that interests you
you will learn new skills and meet new people
helps you to decide if that’s the right career for you
it might lead you to a part-time job, or full-time job later
you can gain a valuable reference from an employer.
Decide what you would like to do. Will the focus be to try out an occupational area or gain a part-time job?
Ask the people you know, family, friends and neighbours.
Search local newspapers for jobs that interest you and local companies.
Use websites to research local businesses, such as online directories.
Start by preparing a CV and a letter that you can post or give to an employer – this shows you are serious about doing a placement.
Remember – if you are going to see an employer face-to-face, dress appropriately and think about what you are going to say so that they get a good impression of you.
Chris was interested in working as a plumber so he contacted local companies and managed to secure two weeks work experience during the school holidays at the end of Year 10 with two companies. He did very well and both employers said they would give him a reference if he needed one. He was able to include this experience on his CV. He started a course at a local college and then an apprenticeship and he thinks that his experiences gave him a definite advantage over other candidates.
If you are still at school, working at the weekend or evening is a great way to earn some extra money and gain valuable work experience. Paper rounds, shops, restaurants, cafes, hotels and hairdressers are all ideas of where to look for work. You could also think about babysitting, car washing, pet-sitting or walking, or gardening for family and friends.
From the age of 13 you are allowed to do light work and limited hours until you are no longer of the compulsory school age (the last Friday of June when you are 16). Light work should not be harmful to your safety, health and development or interfere with your education. There is no minimum wage under 16 years old – this is negotiable between you and your employer. Find out more about child employment.