1. ITV Report

GCSE results: What you can do next

From A levels and university to apprenticeships or working and studying abroad, what will you do?

School's out but what do you do next? Credit: PA

Further full-time study

If you are thinking about going to university then A levels, BTEC's or subject-based qualifications like the International Bacculaureate (IB) will help you get there.

BTEC's are vocational qualifications in subjects ranging from business studies to engineering. Level 3 BTEC's are the equivalent of A levels and are accepted by many universities if you want to study further.

The IB qualification has two levels for students aged 16-19 - the IB Diploma and the IB Career-related Certificate - and is recognised around the world.

If you are unsure if you want to go on to university, the IB Career-related Certificate could be for you as it is a vocational qualification which enables students to get an internship, apprenticeship or a job as well as study further.

Another alternative are the fairly new Cambridge Pre-U's. These can be done alongside or instead of A levels and there are 26 subjects to choose from. You can take up to four subjects at a time and each is a two-year course with exams at the end.

University students are now expected to graduate with up to £30,000 of debt. Credit: PA


If you want to work, earn money and gain a qualification at the same time then an apprenticeship could be for you.

There are over 1,500 jobs you could do from becoming a fitness coach to working in fashion or social media.

Each apprenticeship lasts from between one to three years and should pay the national minimum wage, holiday and bank holidays.

To do one you need to be:

  • Aged over 16
  • Have up to five GCSEs at grade A* to C including English and Maths but entry requirements vary
  • Show you have the ability to complete the programme
There are thousands of apprenticeships to choose from. Credit: PA


If you didn't do as well in your exams or don't have much work experience then a traineeship could be for you.

Introduced in 2013 to help 16-23 year-olds become work ready, they can lead to a job or apprenticeship and last from six weeks to six months.

They are suitable for those who:

  • Have little work experience, are unemployed or working less than 16 hours a week
  • Are aged 16-19 and have less than the equivalent of two A levels grade A to C
  • Are aged 19-23 and have less than the equivalent of five GCSEs grade A* to C
Students can volunteer abroad from the age of 15 through some charities. Credit: Global Vision International

Volunteer or work abroad

If you want to travel when you have finished your studies then there are a number of schemes which allow you to get work experience too.

You may have to be 18 to do some of them but there are schemes run for 15-17 year-olds such as Global Vision International which last from two weeks up to one month.

However, many of these have to be paid for as they are run by charities so always check before applying.

Others include:

  • Projects Abroad - short-term voluntary work placements for 16-19 year-olds from building toilets in India to looking after animals in Argentina
  • The International Citizen Service - once in a lifetime opportunities for 18-25 year-olds to volunteer in Africa, Asia or Latin America
  • Camp America - work on one of thousands of summer camps in America and have fun as well as adding to your CV
Projects Abroad run summer projects specifically for those aged under 18. Credit: Projects Abroad

Work or volunteer while studying part-time

If you want to get some work experience but study at the same time then volunteering could be for you.

This could be at a charity or in a work-experience placement that interests you.

If you are unsure what you want to do take the Career Quiz and get inspired.

Working in a charity shop for just a few hours a week can boost your CV. Credit: PA

Supported Internships

If you you are a young person with learning difficulties who wants help getting a job then a Supported Internship could help.

Aimed at those aged 16-24, most of the learning is done in the workplace with a study programme put together for each individual student.

Information about them can be found at schools, colleges, from social workers or the Job Centre Plus.

For more information visit the Preparing for Adulthood website