What Next After Year 13?


As your child looks ahead beyond completing their A-Level/Scottish Advanced Higher/BTEC Level 3/SCQF Level 6/NVQ Level 3, there is a multitude of options available to them.

Here we set out the choices they have before them, with a guide to help your child chose the right path for their next steps.

FE College

Further education colleges provide a range of vocational and competency-based qualifications such as HNC, HND, access qualifications, foundation degrees, and extended BTECs.

The courses are usually completed within one or two years during which students gain employment experience whilst building relationships with employers through work placements

They can be a back-door entry to a preferred degree programme for students that lack the required grades or pre-requisite subject qualifications.


A popular choice – about 33% of 18-year-old school or college leavers choose university, especially if they have ambitions to enter academically demanding professions.

University offers the opportunity to move away from home, to meet and share experiences with students from all walks of life and all corners of the world. University degrees usually lead to higher entry into the job market with entry salaries averaging £25,000 +

Degree Apprenticeships

Degree apprenticeships are popular with those who prefer to mix traditional university study and paid work. A Level 6, degree apprenticeship will result in a bachelor’s degree from a participating university/college with the fees for fully paid by the government.

This option is suitable a wide range of professions including engineering, IT & digital, banking, accounting & finance, law and construction.

Higher Apprenticeships

If your child would prefer to work, learn and earn, a higher apprenticeship may appeal.

It allows them to enter their chosen profession straight away and equips them with industry-specific skills. In addition, they will receive training from a college or apprenticeship training provider.

This option is becoming increasingly popular and therefore more competitive. It is however now available in most professions and disciplines.

Sponsored Degrees/School Leaver Programmes

Popular with those seeking tailored skills, knowledge and a recognised industry specific qualification, whilst earning a salary.

They provide real work skills plus a fully paid bachelor’s degree and/or professional qualification associated with the employer. Studying takes place either on campus (evening/ block-release) or through distance learning.

Full-time Employment + Professional Qualification

Your child may feel that they are ready to go to work and take on a full-time job. Employers ordinarily give new recruits the necessary on-the-job training.

An alternative option is to combine working with part-time or distance learning study for a relevant professional qualification.


A New World of Options

Higher apprenticeships, degree apprenticeships and school-leaver programmes are a real game-changer and a disruptor to the traditional higher education and young people’s career progression.

The options provide an excellent and competitive alternative to mainstream university education, allowing school-leavers to avoid student debt, whilst earning a salary, on-the-job experience, and equivalent higher education qualifications. The popularity of the programmes is phenomenal, with high profile employers such as Big-4 accounting firms, bulge bracket/top-tier investment banks, top law firms and industry leading giants all joining in the rush.