After 16, most people choose to follow either a vocational (work-related) or an academic route. Some opt to take a mixture of the two.
Vocational qualifications are related to a work area and are supported by employers and professional bodies. Examples include Cambridge Nationals, BTECs, and City & Guilds qualifications which are available for you after the age of 16 at a range of different levels.
Work-related qualifications are on offer in a range of subjects covering:
A general, broad area – for example art and design, engineering, or hospitality and catering. These are often on offer in school or college and may include practical assessments and tests as well as written exams.
Or a narrower job-specific area linked directly to an occupation for example graphic design, car mechanics or food and beverage service. You will have to produce evidence to show that you have gained the skills you will need to do the job, and there may be some exams. You may be able to study while you are at work – or your employer may send you to a local college or training provider to complete your course.
You may take vocational qualifications as part of an Apprenticeship or as part of your programme in full or part-time education.
Vocational or work-related qualifications can lead to the same opportunities on offer to anyone who has followed an academic route so you can go into employment, an Apprenticeship, to further training or into higher education.