When someone turns 16 after completing their GCSE exams, they will have a lot of important choices to make alongside celebrating their results and their first tentative steps into adulthood.
The choice that was previously implied and has since been enshrined into law is that from 16 to 18 a person must have some form of education or training, with a few options to fit different types of career path.
There is the full-time education route, as well as going part-time in combination with 20 hours per week working or volunteering, or a young adult can search for apprenticeship providers to start their career early, learning and earning in the process.
Here is what you need to know if you are thinking of taking that route.
Apprenticeships Can Wildly Differ
There is a belief that post-16 apprenticeships are very similar to each other, but in practice, an apprenticeship can be a single year of learning and earning to help consider your options, or it can lead to a degree-level qualification in a highly skilled industry.
The only aspect all apprenticeships have in common is that at least 20 per cent of it is spent in a classroom. Everything else is tailored to the needs of the industry.
You Do Not Need To Pay A Penny
At 16, a lot of young adults are making choices that will have a considerable and tangible effect on the rest of their life, which can include taking on student loan debt to pay for a degree.
Apprenticeships are different; the employer pays them through a dedicated apprenticeship levy if they are large enough, and the Government pays for the rest.
This means that whilst some graduates enter the workforce with tens of thousands of pounds in debt, an apprentice might have been earning and learning for half a decade, giving them far more flexibility for the rest of their lives.