Future Steps - Into Business

Today’s students are faced with a wider array of post-18 options than ever before and it is crucial that they are making informed decisions about their career options.

It is important that school leaver programmes are not considered a less respectable choice than a degree course, or a back-up option for students who miss out on a university place. Since the sharp rise in tuition fees, prestigious, global companies from a number of industries have been quick to create opportunities for post 16 students that provide salaries, intense training, employability skills, relevant contacts, and in some cases formal qualifications.

School Leaver Training Schemes are separate from the National Apprenticeship Service but are also offered by a wide variety of employers. They usually involve part-time study for a degree or professional qualifications through day release or block release alongside paid employment and on-the job training. There is no central register of these schemes but they are often advertised on a company’s own website and on some of the websites listed below. There is strong competition for these schemes but those students who have allowed sufficient time to build up evidence to demonstrate the skills and enthusiasm that employers are looking for have often gained offers of employment.


There is also the option of self employment. Self-employment requires a good business idea, as well as the skills and knowledge to run your own business and a source of finance to cover start up costs. Students interested in this pathway are strongly encouraged to develop their business acumen through participation in any enterprise activities offered in the academy as well as external events and competitions. Shell LiveWIRE provides free advice and support to young entrepreneurs aged 16-30 who are starting or running their own business and The Prince's Trust offers business start-up advice through its enterprise programme. More information is available from the National Careers Service including practical advice from webinars.

For many students university degrees, gap years, vocational courses or training will be their right pathway. The following websites will provide some insight to those students looking for alternatives to university by getting straight into business.

Pure Potential
Information and a video about options for school leavers
School leaver programmes in a variety of areas in accountancy, including audit, tax and financial services
School Leaver Programmes to become a chartered accountant
Jobs and opportunities for School Leavers interested in accountancy
Information on over 750 job profiles, advice on job hunting, starting your own business and regional job market information provided by the Local Enterprise Partnerships.
Information service for careers in the NHS in England. Register to make the most of the NHS vacancy search.
Includes an extensive list of school leaver programmes and internship opportunities.
Advice, jobs and career information for students interested in school leaver schemes.