Key Information

Careers Events

Although we live in uncertain and challenging times the principles of planning ahead for the future remain the same. As we cannot predict what the future job market may look like but the best way to prepare for what’s to come is:

  • Gain the best set of qualifications you can.
  • Choose an area of study or work that you are enthusiastic about & feel confident you can succeed in.
  • Demonstrate a positive work ethic, be flexible and adaptable to change.
  • Be resilient to set backs and understand there is always more than one way to achieve your goals.  

 So when looking at your plans for next year you should be asking yourself 3 questions:

1. What type of course would suit you best?

  • Academic A levels – similar to GCSEs but studied at a higher, more in-depth level. These are exam based course taken in traditional subjects such as Maths, English, Biology, French etc which you will have studied in Yr11 but look out for new courses such as Economics, Psychology, Photography, Politics etc which you can start in Yr12 without studying before. Check out the entry requirements. Some will accept grade 4 but most ask for at least 5s and in Maths and Sciences they will ask for 6/7 grades.
  • Vocational courses such as Btecs and T Levels – these are studied in areas linked to specific areas of work such Engineering, Health, Performing Arts, Business, Computing etc. They are a mix of exams and course work and can be taken at 3 levels. Level 3 is a similar standard to A Levels and can get you to University and studied over two years. Level 2 is similar to GCSE standard, taken over one year, often with Maths or English resit and students can progress to level 3. Level 1 is for students achieving 1, 2 or 3 grades in their GCSEs or in subjects where they have no prior knowledge such as some of the construction trades.
  • Work Based Study – These can be Apprenticeships or Traineeships where you combine practical skills gained in the work place with related qualifications taken on a day or block release basis.  After Yr11 students can start level 2 or Level 3 study Apprenticeships but they can progress in some occupational areas to gain higher or degree level qualifications through their Apprenticeship.

2. Where would like to study?

The environment you study in is important to ensure it suits your personality and learning style. Would you prefer :

  • School Sixth Form – Often a smaller environment than the colleges but offering high level courses . Locally this would include Bacup & Rawtenstall Grammar, Ryburn Valley Sixth Form, Crossley Health Grammar.
  • Sixth Form College – Like the school sixth form but larger, offering more courses and on has Yr12 and Yr13 on site so you teachers will only teach advanced level courses. Locally these are Rochdale Sixth Form College and Trinity 6th Form College, Halifax
  • Further Education Colleges – Large institutions offering a whole range of courses with specialist facilities to run courses a school couldn’t such as engineering, construction, catering, hair & beauty etc. Some offer both academic and vocational courses, some specialise in just vocational. Locally these are Burnley College, Calderdale College, Nelson & Colne College, Hopwood Hall College Rochdale.
  • Specialist Colleges – These colleges offering a unique set of courses such as Myerscough College of Agriculture, BIMM School of Music in Manchester, LLS Sports Academy based in Brighouse
  • In the workplace - If you want to get your qualifications whilst working you’ll need to find both an Employer and a training Provider. Apprenticeships are organised though Training Providers who arrange your study programme with the employer placement and the off the job learning. Local Training providers are Themis Training in Burnley, NLTG covering Lancashire, Manchester and West Yorkshire, Training 2000 covering Lancashire, Calderdale College in Halifax and Hopwood Hall in Rochdale but there are many more national organisations who may deal with local employers. The Armed Forces have their own training colleges and a range of qualifications linked to their skills areas.

3. Why is this the best route for you?

You might have a range of ideas about careers beyond your Post 16 study so consider whether the course you’re taking will:

  • Get you into the type of University you’re planning to go to
  • Give you the skills and qualifications to get you into work and keep you there
  • If you have no definite career ideas now is your course flexible enough to allow to move on in different directions and explore new ideas
  • Give you opportunities to develop skills outside of the classroom such as being on student councils, gaining work experience, Volunteering opportunities, an Honours programme etc.    

How to Research your ideas further

You can click the following links to research the options for local training providers. 

Bacup and Rawtenstall Sixth Form

Burnley College

Calderdale College

Crossley Heath Sixth Form

Hopwood Hall

North Halifax Grammar Sixth Form

Rochdale Sixth Form College

Ryburn Sixth Form


Trinity Sixth Form College