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Leaving school (16-18)

Thinking about your options after school? Check out how we can help you decide what your next step will be ...

So, you’re either counting down the days, or maybe school has already ended. Whether you feel excited or sad to leave, you’re bound to have one big question…Now what?

You may be thinking:

  • What should I do next? 
  • How will I decide what to study?
  • Will I enjoy being in college? 
  • How will I make new friends? 

It can all feel a bit overwhelming – but Activate Learning is here to help. We offer free advice and guidance and tell you about the exciting choices ahead so you can make the right decisions for your future. 

Discover the exciting future ahead

Our focus is to transform lives through learning. We offer two main routes to career success: full-time study programmes (A Level or vocational) and apprenticeships. And if you are aged 16-18, there are no fees to pay. 

With Activate Learning, you get more than a qualification – we prepare you for successful progression to university-level education or employment. We provide you with a career pathway – a plan, with clear, practical steps you can take to achieve the career and salary of your dreams. We meet your individual learning needs via our unique Learning Philosophy, which unlocks your potential for learning. Start preparing for an exciting future today!

We work with employers to equip you with the attributes that are in demand in the workplace. We will boost your core skills, such as English, maths and digital.

Everything we do is geared around helping you to succeed and have the best student experience – from our high-quality teaching and learning, to on-site training workshops, our employer-led programmes, links with businesses, and industry standard facilities. The quality of our teaching has been recognised by Ofsted as ‘Good.’

Your next steps

So what next? 

A Levels

A Levels are still the most popular route to get into university in the UK.

Our full-time A Level programmes (three subjects) typically include four hours of teaching per subject per week, plus tutorial and independent study time. Most courses include examinations and coursework assessment.

You’ll study in a dedicated sixth form centre. You’ll develop independent study skills, supported by specialist teachers and advice from our Activate Careers team, who will make your UCAS application stand out from the crowd.

What will I study?

Discover our A Level subjects and locations

We have worked with universities to organise our subjects into clusters and career pathways which are 'template plans' to help you accelerate your entry to university or the career of your choice. .

Each pathway explains which combinations of A-levels would enable you to gain enough UCAS points for your university application, and support your career.

Why Activate Learning?

Last year our students went on to study at 11 of the 24 Russell Group universities, including the University of Oxford and King's College London.

We have close links with leading universities, including Southampton Solent, Reading, Oxford Brookes, Warwick, Newcastle, and King’s College, London.

We believe in developing the whole person. During your time with us, we will encourage you to broaden your skills and experience by taking part in additional work, as well as social and leisure opportunities. This helps to make your UCAS application as strong as it can be, so that you can impress university admissions teams.


If you are passionate about one subject and know which career you want to pursue, an Activate Learning vocational course might be for you.

We are proud to offer a range of work-based qualifications across many industries at Levels 1, 2 and 3, with each curriculum designed by businesses to help you get into work. Discover voctional opportunites.

Study with us and you will gain real-life experience in our industry standard facilities, which include hair and beauty salons and restaurants, or through work experience placements. Our facilities have been specially-designed to replicate real work environments.

Our aim is to support you every step of the way, until you’re ready for progression to work or university-level learning. 

We have worked with employers to organise our vocational subjects into clusters and career pathways. These are combinations of subjects and courses that we know will help accelerate your entry to the career of your choice, or further education.

Why Activate Learning?

Our extended Level 3 Diplomas give you the chance to specialise in your chosen area and area equivalent to 3 A-levels, giving you the UCAS points you need for university.

The curriculum of each vocational course has been designed in partnership with business, to maximise relevance of the course, whether you’re looking to go into further study or heads straight to work. Many of these employers stop by to share tips, insights and potential work experience opportunities with our students.

Our career pathways approach will help to accelerate your entry to the career of your choice, or further education.


Become an apprentice and you will get the best of both worlds – the ability to ‘earn while you learn.’

Apprenticeships combine a paid job and training at work, often enhanced by studying at college. An apprenticeship might be the right route for you if you want to:

  • Earn money in a real job
  • Learn more in real life and less in a classroom  
  • Work with top brands to get ahead
  • Boost your CV and career

How does it work?

As an apprentice, you will work for, and be paid by, an employer. You may spend one or two days a week at college, learning extra skills including English, maths and IT. Or you may learn entirely in the workplace, with our dedicated assessors visiting you on site to see how you’re getting on.

Programmes usually last for between one to two years and offer a direct route into employment, giving you the opportunity to develop your skills.

Businesses value apprentices so much that the government has agreed to create another 200,000 opportunities by 2020. Industry knows that apprenticeships are a win-win for the economy and individual learners.

How can I find an apprenticeship?

Activate Learning is the largest apprenticeship partner in the region. Our Activate Apprenticeships, team supports 16,000 apprentices and over 1,250 potential employers of all sizes, including: BMW, Decathlon, Merlin Entertainments Group, Miele and Halfords.

You can find out more about the opportunities available and how to apply on our Activate Apprenticeships website.


If you didn’t quite get the grades you need at school, try not to panic.  

We offer you another chance to study a wide range of GCSE subjects – only this time in a more adult and independent environment. We think you’ll like it.

Check out our range of GCSE subjects.