Options after you finish college

Whether you think you know what you’d like to do next, or have no idea, find out about your options and which one is right for you.

What to do when you're about to finish college

If you’ve finished your A Levels, a Level 1, 2 or 3 vocational course, or if you're coming to the end of your college education, there are several things you should consider. Book an appointment with staff at the Youth Employment Hub if you need more support.

Talk about your options with people around you

Your tutors can be helpful so talk to them about the subjects and careers you're interested in and get their opinion. You can also get support from your college careers adviser. Ask at student services how to book an appointment.

Find out if you need qualifications or experience

If you have a specific career in mind, research the qualifications or experience you'd need as this may help you decide on your next steps

If you have already left college

If you’ve already left college and you're not sure what to do next, book an appointment with staff at the Youth Employment Hub.

Your options

After college, you can carry on learning, do a training course, get a job or apprenticeship, or take a gap year.

Whatever you choose will depend on whether you have a particular career in mind and the opportunities available.


If you've just finished A Levels or another Level 3 programmme, university could be your next step.

This is a big choice, with lots to think about. You will need to consider what you want to study and where, and if you want to go straight away or take a gap year.

University could be the right choice if you:

  • enjoy academic learning
  • have a career in mind that requires a degree
  • have the number of UCAS points you need
  • want to study away from home

Find out more about how to apply for university.

Further study

You may want to stay at college and study a different subject or level. Your options will depend on your existing qualifications and age.

Further study could be the right choice if you:

  • enjoy learning
  • have a career in mind which requires certain qualifications
  • have the grades you need to get into the course you’d like to do
  • prefer a practical, hands on style of learning
  • have subjects that you particularly enjoy or are good at

Find out about different local course options.


You may feel ready to get a job. Perhaps you have qualified in a vocational subject through your study, or want to get out of the classroom and start earning some money.

Starting a job could be the right choice if you:

  • know how you will cover your expenses while you are job seeking
  • have found vacancies available in the areas you're interested in
  • have the skills, qualifications and experience required to get the job you want
  • have a CV you can use to apply for vacancies
  • are punctual, reliable and can follow instructions
  • know how and where to search for vacancies

Get advice about finding and applying for work.


Apprenticeships are a way of learning and working. Places are available throughout the year, not just in September. You will need to search and apply for vacancies and have an interview.

An apprenticeship could be the right choice if you:

  • prefer a practical, hands on style of learning
  • are reliable, punctual and can follow instructions
  • know what career you would like to pursue
  • have found vacancies available in the area you are interested in

Search and apply for apprenticeship vacancies.


Traineeships are programmes that prepare you for an apprenticeship or job. They are offered in a range of sectors and give you industry experience as well as qualifications if you need them.

A traineeship could be the right choice if you:

  • lack the work experience you need to get the job or apprenticeship you want
  • prefer practical, hands on learning
  • have found traineeships on offer in the area you are interested in

Find out more and apply for traineeships.

Short course, personal development and training opportunities

There are lots of short course, personal development and training opportunities available in Brighton & Hove. They are a great way to improve your CV and make you stand out.

They could be the right choice if you:

  • need to gain a specific skill or qualification
  • are considering self-employment
  • need to develop employability skills
  • want to do something you can add to your CV

Search for short course, personal development or training opportunities.


Volunteering is a great way to gain experience and skills while also supporting your community. There are lots of opportunities to volunteer in and around Brighton & Hove.

Volunteering could be the right choices if you:

  • want to give your time to a good cause
  • think volunteering will help you gain the skills you need for your future career
  • know what kind of opportunities are available in Brighton & Hove
  • know how will you cover your expenses

Find out about and search for local volunteering opportunities.

Gap Year

A gap year is an opportunity to meet new people, gain independence, skills and experiences, while giving you time to reflect and consider your next steps.

You might feel you need a break from study, or you might plan your gap year to align with your career goals. It can be a great thing to add to your CV or Personal Statement.

A gap year could be the right choice if you:

  • know what you want to achieve
  • know how you will cover your expenses
  • plan to defer your university entry or apply next year
  • know how you will spend your time

Read the UCAS guide to find out about taking a gap year

How to get help with your finances

If you are under 18 and in education, or have recently left or finished a course of education, find out if your parent or guardian can get Child Benefit.

Many short course, personal development, training and volunteering opportunities offer to cover expenses. Check with the provider or organisation you're applying to about what you can get.

If you are a parent under the age of 20 and studying a publicly funded course, find out how to get help with childcare costs from Care To Learn.

If you're 18 years old or over you can find out more about Universal Credit and start your application.

You can also get information about funding for adult education, for those 19 years old and older.