Work Wiltshire
Raising the Participation Age (RPA)
The government has increased the age to which all young people in England must continue in education or training, requiring them to continue until the end of the academic year in which they turn 17 from 2013 and until their 18th birthday from 2015

What is Raising the Participation Age (RPA)?

If you were born on or after 1 September 1996 you will be amongst the first to be required to continue in education or training beyond 16. If you completed year 11 in 2013 you must continue learning until July 2014. If you complete year 11 in or after 2014 you will continue learning at least until your 18th birthday.

What are my post 16 options?


An apprenticeship means you can work and earn money at the same time as training as many companies are happy to pay for you to go to college while working for them. Lots of skills, from engineering to childcare, are best learnt on the job.

You can find out more on the apprenticeships website.

A Levels

Become a mini-expert in the subjects you like. You’ll study just a few, including choices you may not have had before, like psychology or economics. After a year you’ll take AS levels, a mix of coursework and exams, and then decide which subjects to take on to full A Level (A2) in the following year.

Other further education courses

There are many other courses available through colleges or training providers such as

  • Vocational training courses
  • Foundation courses
  • Work based learning


If you choose to be in work for 20 hours or more you must also continue with accredited learning alongside your employment.

Volunteering for 20+ hours

How about volunteering in an area of interest to you and study independently alongside this worthwhile work.

Can I train to do a job?

Yes. If you know the career you wish to follow you may choose a specialist training provider. They offer work experience alongside key qualifications specific to that career. Or how about an apprenticeship? There are nearly 200 different job roles available as apprenticeships under which you will be employed to work and also access training either on site or at college.

You can find out more on the Wiltshire Choices website

Where can I learn?

There are many ways to access learning and training. You may choose a further education college or a school6th form. They all offer different types of qualifications, such as vocational, life and work skills, foundation learning as well as a range of GCSE’s, AS and A levels. Or you may prefer to gain qualifications while training with an employer.

Do I have to stay at school?

No. You may still leave school at 16 and access learning through college or work based learning.

Can I earn while I am learning?

Yes, for example the pay for an apprentice may start at £92.50 per week.

Can I get any job?

No. You can only get a job if you are also doing some accredited learning alongside it. This may be

through an apprenticeship scheme, work based learning or you may work part time and attend college outside of your working hours.


By staying in learning you can achieve the qualifications you need to help you succeed. You’ll also have more chance to develop the knowledge and practical skills that employers are looking for. That

means you’ll find it easier to get a better job, with better pay and career prospects. Plus, you can do all this very flexibly: you don’t have to stay in school or college if you don’t want to!

Can I do nothing?

No. The purpose of raising the participation age is to provide every young person with more time to develop the skills required for a successful career and working life. To find the best way for you to learn and develop your skills contact your school’s careers