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WITH changes to the age at which youngsters can leave education, “staying on” into the sixth form is an increasingly popular choice among the 18,000 or so youngsters in Kent who earned their GCSEs this August.

The government’s decision to raise the education participation age to 18 may not have gone down well with all of you, but it does offer more time to figure out exactly what it is you want from the world of work and an opportunity to get more qualifications. Indeed, evidence shows that people with more qualifications, such as two or more good A levels are likely to earn around 14% more than those without.

As well as providing more opportunity to cram your CV with the kind of qualifications to hook the right career opportunity when you do leave or go on to university, the new rules contain other less academic choices for those reaching the age of 16. You can:

Carry on in education at school or a further education (FE) college;

Earn and learn by taking up an apprenticeship or traineeship;

take on voluntary work; employment or self-employment for more than 20 hours a week alongside part-time education or training.

Roger Gough, KCC Cabinet member for Education, said: “It’s great news that thousands of young people have already accepted offers to go to college, stay on at a school sixth-form, take up an apprenticeship or start some other kind of employment with training. For those who haven’t got that far yet, it’s important that young people take their GCSE results and think about what they can do with what they have got.”

It’s also worth speaking with your careers teacher, friends and family, but remember, this is about you and what you want to do and it’s a decision that will determine just how much you get from your job – not only money, but satisfaction. website has

more about the options and a host of suggestions that will help you to shape your future in education. You can even apply to more than one sixth form or college on this site if you fancy changing schools or finding another that offers just what you want, be that academic courses or more vocational opportunities.

Look out for school open days, which will give you a chance to check out first-hand what’s on offer at schools in your area and at Kent’s seven FE Colleges, many offering academic and vocational courses at all levels, with particular specialisms. It’s worth doing your homework now to ensure all that effort takes you towards your intended career goal.

Useful contacts

Check out your options and apply for sixth form and FE places at

Make an appointment with your career’s advisor or contact the National Careers Service Hotline on 0800 100 900

Take advantage of the dozens of other websites offering you a chance to get a clearer idea of your career path, such as:;;; or for free information on starting your own business or becoming self-employed and other inspirational organisations;

Class notes – in brief! Up until the age of 18:

If you are not in school, college or in an apprenticeship, you will need to do a minimum of 280 hours of training per year

You can get a job - but you will need to carry on learning or complete accredited training alongside it (be aware, not all employers are familiar with the government's new rules)

Apprenticeships offer the chance to earn and learn at the same time and can pay about £100 a week. There are more than 280 different types of apprenticeships available and more than 500,000 students have opted for this career path since 2010.

You could start your own business - and train at the same time

 11+

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5 pm – 8 pm, Thu 13th Oct. Open Mornings 2016

9 am, Mon 17th –Wed 19th Oct by prior appointment only

Buckland Road Maidstone ME16 0TJ Tel: 01622 759036 Website: Email:

Maidstone East October 2016 19 

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