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If you want to earn while you learn then an apprenticeship may be the perfect option for you. You work towards a recognised qualification at Intermediate (level 2), Advanced (level 3) or Higher (level 4). You will spend most of your time in work, training on the job with the rest of your time spent at your local College. The length of your apprenticeship will take between one and four years to complete but this depends on the type and level of apprenticeship.

Higher National Diploma (HND) & Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE)

A Higher National Diploma and a Diploma of Higher Education are vocational qualifications which are usually studied full time (two years) but can be studied part time (three years) as well. You can change to a full undergraduate degree course in the relevant subject once you have successfully completed the Higher National Diploma or Diploma of Higher Education at a Pass grade or higher.

Foundation Degrees

You would usually study a foundation degree for one to two years with the idea to then go onto study a full undergraduate degree course. This is a great idea if you want to go straight into learning but are unsure if you want to spend the next four or so years in education without any long term breaks.


Becoming an Intern can open many doors. You are offered an opportunity for a fixed time which can last any time between one week and twelve months. Internships are usually full time but depending on what you are doing they can vary from role to role. Internships can be a great opportunity to gain contacts and get your foot in the media industry including fashion, advertising and TV. One disadvantage is that you do not gain any qualifications during your time as an intern.

Distant Learning & Online Learning

If you don’t want to have to move away to study then distant and online learning may be options for you. This requires you to have computer access and a quiet space to study or access to a library. This is a good way of keeping the cost of studying low as you may have the option to stay living at home. Distant and online learning can easily fit around other commitments.

Straight to Work Schemes

This scheme is becoming more and more popular each year with many big firms including PriceWaterhouseCoopers(PwC), Microsoft, BT and Ernst & Young. This is a great way to jump straight into the professional work place whilst studying towards professional qualifications. If you want to work in finance or accounting, this is fantastic way of getting into the industry. A good way to find out more is to look directly on the company’s website.

Volunteering & Gap Years Abroad

If you are unsure on what you want to do and feel like you need some time to think then volunteering and travelling may be the best options for you. You could be doing anything from building schools in China to digging wells in Africa, the options are vast. You will gain life skills that will help you in later life and in studying. There are many websites out there with loads of information about gap years and volunteering.

Re-sits and re-marks

If you didn’t get the grades you were expecting, don’t worry. It’s possible to improve your marks you got on your AS/A levels. Speak to your teachers as soon as possible, they will be able to tell you what to do and give you the contact details you need. If you are still not happy, as a last resort your school or college can appeal to the awarding body and to the Independent Examinations Board. The exams results helpline is 0808 100 8000.

Still Unsure

If you still don’t know what you want to study but know you want to stay in education you should speak to your school or college, a careers advisor, your local library or browse A good way of finding out what you might want to do career wise is make a list of the top fifteen companies you would really like to work for, and what sort of job you would like to do within these companies. Another great idea is to think of all the people you know who may be able to help you find the job that you want.

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