Leaving School

What are my options after leaving school?

What's next for you?

Leaving school is a big event. It’s the beginning of the next exciting stage of your life… but what comes next? In England, you can leave school on the last Friday in June if you’ll be 16 by the end of the summer holidays. However, you must do one of the following until you’re 18:

  • Stay in full-time education, for example, at a college.
  • Start an apprenticeship or traineeship.
  • Spend 20 hours or more a week working or volunteering, while in part-time education or training.

So, what does that mean for you? Here’s a bit more information to help you decide.

Sixth form or college

One option after completing your GCSEs is to progress to sixth form (a part of school where you’ll usually study A-Levels). Often this involves learning in a classroom with some practical element. Alternatively, colleges like ours teach other further education qualifications like BTECs, NVQs or HNDs. These courses tend to give you more hands-on experience that prepares you for working in industry.

At Leeds College of Building, we offer study programmes which provide a vocational qualification, English and maths, work experience, and employability skills. Students also have the opportunity to take part in sport and enrichment activities.

Many of our students enrol on a study programme and, during their first year, transfer over to an apprenticeship when they find an employer. We work with lots of employers who regularly recruit directly from our full-time students.

Studying at both sixth form and college can lead to a job or higher-level qualifications like a Higher National Diploma, degree or higher apprenticeship, and the BTEC Level 3 is perfect for this.


An apprenticeship combines practical training in a job with study.

By picking this option, you will work in business alongside experienced staff to learn new skills. You also get time to study at college, either one day a week or on block release, and earn a wage at the same time.

Some apprenticeships may give you an additional qualification, such as a diploma. Apprenticeships take 1 to 5 years to complete depending on the level. To give you an idea:

  • Level 2 apprenticeships are equivalent to GCSEs.
  • Level 3 apprenticeships are equivalent to A Levels.
  • Level 4 & 5, also known as higher apprenticeships are equivalent to a Higher National Certificates and Higher National Diplomas.
  • Level 6 apprenticeships are degree level.

We are one of the leading construction apprenticeship providers in the UK, so there’s not much we don’t offer! From Bricklaying to Plumbing & Heating, Painting & Decorating to Roof Slating & Tiling and Civil Engineering to Transport Planning, you could join our 2,250 other apprentices.

Get a job or volunteer

If you finish school at 16, you can spend 20 hours or more a week working or volunteering, while in part-time education or training. Volunteering can be a great way to get an experience of working, improve your CV, and do something worthwhile. After 18, you can find a full-time job. Here to help If you’re still a little confused about the right career for you, please get in touch with our careers guidance team who are here to offer advice. Working in construction is an incredibly varied and exciting field.

Whatever your situation or grades, there are always plenty of options. If you would like to speak to a member of the College Team, please get in touch by emailing info@lcb.ac.uk or calling 0113 222 6002.