Your Choices at 18

There are lots of choices for what you do after you turn 18, and you need to pick the one that will help you get the future you want. Click on the tabs below to view some of the options. Or visit the Gov website – explore your options.


If you have a career sector or path in mind and want to start earning money as you learn, an apprenticeship could be for you. You’ll do a real job for a real employer; training on the job and working towards an industry-standard qualification.

An apprenticeship combines hands-on work with the opportunity to train and obtain qualifications.  Apprenticeships, which must last for a minimum of 12 months are open to anyone aged 16 and over who is not in full-time education, there is no upper aged limit!

As an apprentice you’ll be employed and will study for a qualification with the full support and commitment of your employer, at least 20% of your working hours are set aside for learning, often at a college, university or training provider, however there are lots of ways to undertake learning depending on your organisation and job role.

Visit our apprenticeship page for more information.

Additional information on Apprenticeships can be found on the UCAS website and the Amazing Apprenticeships websites

People are encouraged to find and apply for apprentices using the Find and Apprenticeship Service


T Levels are a 2-year qualification designed to give you a head start towards the career you want. A nationally-recognised qualification that is worth the same number of UCAS points as 3 A levels. This is another option once you have completed your GCSE’s, it is 80% classroom and 20% industry placement allowing you to have a real experience of the workplace alongside your studies.

There are no tuition fees to study a T Level if you start before you are 19.

Visit our T-Level page to find out more.

College/Further Education

Colleges offer a wide variety of courses including apprenticeships.

You need to find a college that offers the courses or subjects you are interested in studying, or the best route to the career you are interested in.  If you have specialist educational needs or other support needs, you will need to talk to your chosen provider to ensure they can support your needs.

In Swindon 2 Colleges have merged and are now;

  • New College Swindon
  • Swindon and Wiltshire Institute of Technology
    The IoT is a high quality employer-led training facility delivering high level technical and digital skills training for young people and to those already in employment. The IoT specialises in delivering higher technical education providing students with a clear route to technical employment, and employers with a skilled workforce.

For more information on other further education courses visit www.gov.uk/further-education-courses

Higher Education

Higher Education refers to qualifications beyond level 3 (A level) and provision can be accessed in a number of ways;

  • Higher Education Institution (University) which offer a wider range of undergraduate and post graduate qualifications usually but not always on full time courses
  • Further Education College which offer qualifications from level 4-7 often in partnership with universities. They often offer more part time programmes and include Access to Higher Education courses intended for adults without level 3 qualifications to enable them to enter a degree or higher level qualifications
  • In the workplace through in-house or training provider led training programmes  for professional qualifications, or in the workplace through higher and degree apprenticeships delivered by training providers and universities
  • Distance learning via courses such as the Open University or Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs).

There is more information and some useful videos on the benefits of Higher Education on the WIN website.

Wiltshire College and University Centre offers a variety of degree level apprenticeships.

A growing number of employers in the Swindon and Wiltshire area are offering higher and degree level apprenticeships in partnership with universities and training providers.

Where to study and courses

There are a huge variety of courses that you can study at Higher Education and choosing which one can be difficult. Have a look at what interests you and what qualifications you might need in the future.

Visit University Compare to see what Higher Education settings are in your area or use the UCAS search tool to see what Universities offer the course you would like. UCAS’s ‘what to study’ page also has more advice and information.

Some Higher Education courses can be studied online or studied in flexible ways; therefore it is worth checking if your course offers distance learning; UCAS has more information on their distance learning and part time study page.  Alternatively you could study at the Open University which is an online University and most courses have no formal entry requirements.

If you are not sure if university is for you, why not check out Not Going To Uni and see what alternatives there are.

Careerpilot – video stories covering a range of educational paths.

The Skills Toolkit – free courses to help you learn new skills or get a new job.


Multiply is here to supports adults aged 19+ who do not currently have Level 2/GCSE maths at grade 4 (previously known as a C grade). There are various courses available, both face to face and online.

The courses can help you to improve your skills and confidence to help you move forward.

Find out more here. 

There are lots of free courses and opportunities on offer with organisations across the county that will support you into education, employment and training. Tng support.

UCAS is an independent charity providing information, advice and admissions services to inspire and facilitate educational progression. UCAS is the central organisation through which applications are processed for entry to Higher Education. UCAS services support young people making choices after their GCSEs, as well as those applying for undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

Visit the UCAS page to :

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