Do your research
As you explore your choices it's a good idea to talk to your teachers, parents and friends about what you are interested in doing and your plans for the future. You can also talk to your school's Careers Leader or Careers Adviser as they'll be able to give you impartial advice and guidance about your future plans.
You can also use the resources available in the Info & Advice pages to help you with your research.
As you have to stay in education or training until you are 18, you should think carefully about the following questions:
- Do you want to stay in full-time education?
- Do you want to work and study part-time?
- Do you want to study subjects you enjoy already or look for something new?
- Do you want to train for a definite career or keep your options open?
You should also think about what you want to be doing in 5 or 10 years time, as your future plans may affect the choices you need to make this year.
Take a look at the Year 11 calendar that will help you with your research. It's broken down into each term of Year 11 and shows you what you need to do and when.
Staying in learning until the age of 18
Don't forget that although you have to stay in education or training until you are 18 this doesn't mean that you have to stay on at school.
All 16 and 17 year olds in Norfolk are guaranteed an offer of an appropriate place in learning through the September guarantee. This means that you'll definitely be able to continue learning after Year 11 whether you go on to sixth form, college, an apprenticeship, traineeship or work with training.
By doing this you gain more skills and qualifications which increases your future employment prospects and will help you to earn more over your lifetime.
During Year 11 you should receive information, advice and guidance to help you weigh up your options and decide which is the most appropriate learning route for you, so that you have an offer of learning by the end of September (after you have finished Year 11).
Have a back-up plan
Even if you know what you want to do, it's a good idea to think about other choices in case things don't work out the way you planned. This is particularly important if you're aiming for a very popular course or career.
You may need to change your plans particularly if there are no places available on your chosen course or you're finding it difficult to find an apprenticeship or job in what you want to do; so having an alternative to fall back on is always a good idea.
Some key things to note when planning your future:
- career development is a lifelong journey
- the world of work is always changing
- having one job for life is becoming less common
- you will have a number of opportunities to change jobs, learn new skills and gain new experience throughout your career
- it's important to keep learning and developing your skills and abilities throughout your life.
More sources of help