The Raising of the Participation Age introduced changes to education from September 2013.

Young people and parents/carers of young people in year 11 need to be aware of these important changes.

What is changing?

Young people in England who are presently in year 11 will be required to stay in learning until their 18th birthday. This does not mean that they have to stay at school; there are a range of exciting options available to them at 16.

The aim is to help them succeed in work by allowing them to develop the knowledge and practical skills employers are looking for.

What are the options at 16?

Learning doesn't just mean that young people have to stay in school. There are a wide range of exciting opportunities including:

  • full time education in school, college or with a training provider
  • an apprenticeship, combining on the job training with working towards a nationally recognised qualification
  • getting a job, becoming self-employed or volunteering, all alongside part time accredited learning

What are the benefits of staying in learning for longer?

  • the longer you learn, the more you earn
  • more skills gives you more options
  • a wider choice of jobs
  • more options to have the life you dream of
  • it is important to prepare for employment as it is predicted that by 2020 there will be a 50% increase in the proportion of jobs that need high level skills

What to do now

  • young people can get advice from the Information, Advice and Guidance adviser at their school, college or training provider
  • they can also seek advice from their parents or carers
  • they should research jobs and careers of interest to them and the skills and qualifications that are required
  • if the young person is not in any form of education, employment or training they should also contact Connexions Wolverhampton for free and impartial advice

What other young people say about gaining skills

"I stayed on at school into the sixth form as I wanted to gain A-levels in order to go on to study Geography at University. The existing relationships with teaching staff and other pupils and the excellent facilities available made this the right decision for me." (Shelley)

"I've always had an interest in IT and doing an apprenticeship has really boosted my knowledge and given me lots of hands-on experience. I'm learning about software, installation upgrades and communication and am able to put what I'm learning at college into practice at work." (Kieran)

"I left school after doing my GCSEs and hoped to become a personal trainer. As well as practical sessions in the gym we also study anatomy and physiology. Since starting the course I've become more confident and knowledgeable about the fitness industry and hope this will help me become a more successful personal trainer in the future." (Ryan)

"I left school at 16 without any qualifications as full time education wasn't for me. I decided to volunteer at KICFM after meeting them at a careers fair. Since then I have gained two accredited qualifications in radio production, a peer mentoring award for outstanding achievement and I have gained unbelievable experience in an industry I want to pursue a career in. Choosing this route post 16 has given me confidence, skills and a great platform to develop a career." (James)

Information for employers

These changes do not mean that school leavers cannot be employed. What it does mean is that if in employment, young people must undertake training which is accredited and which must be for a minimum of 280 hours over the course of a year - equivalent to around a day per week.

The Government has provided a fact sheet which helps employers to understand how the changes affect them.