Post 16 qualifications and pathways

There are lots of post-16 qualifications and pathways you can choose and they fall into four main types:

    • Academic
    • Applied general 
    • Technical and occupational
    • Functional and Foundation

Academic qualifications

The main academic qualifications studied post-16 are ‘A’ Levels. These are subject-based qualifications and are ideal if you want to continue studying some of your favourite subjects and are considering going to university. They are usually studied at school, sixth form or sixth form college and can lead to university, an apprenticeship or into employment. Specific entry requirements apply.

Find out more about Sixth Forms in your area.

Applied general qualifications

These qualifications are for those who are interested in studying a particular job family or industry but you might not yet know which specific job. These qualifications combine practical learning as well as helping you develop knowledge and skills. The main applied general qualifications studied are called BTECs. They are usually studied at a college and can lead to university, an apprenticeship or employment.

Technical and vocational qualifications

These qualifications are for people who know what sort of job they want to do or want a course that’s more practical and includes work experience. There are lots of different qualifications you can study, for example, NVQs or T levels. These qualifications are usually studied at a college or in the workplace via an apprenticeship and can lead to university, a higher apprenticeship or employment.

Functional and Foundation

These qualifications are aimed at helping people develop the essential skills they need in English, maths and ICT to progress into education and employment. There is a big focus on developing employability skills such as communication, teamwork and problem-solving. If you haven’t got the qualifications you need to progress into academic, applied general and technical courses, this might be the route for you.