Options after Year 14

After year 14 there are lots of options open to you. The choice you make will be influenced by many things such as your career aspirations, financial situation, if you want to continue with your education and also employment opportunities.

Higher Education (HE)

If you are thinking about going to university, you will need to decide on which course to do and which universities best suit your degree choices. You will also need to be fully aware of the application process, entry requirements and application closing dates. It is important to know that these vary between UK (UCAS) and Republic of Ireland (CAO) applications systems.

Further Education (FE)

FE colleges offer a wide range of vocational and academic courses to suit all ages and abilities up to degree level. If you are interested in going to FE College, you should research the various colleges via their websites and visit open days for further information. Northern Ireland currently has six Regional Colleges and an Agricultural College.



The Apprenticeships programme offers training to 16 year olds and over, across a wide range of jobs and leads to a recognised vocational qualification at Level 2, Level 3 and higher levels. Your employer will pay you just as they would any other employee.

Training for Success

This programme is primarily for 16-18 years olds but may be available for those up to 24 years of age who require additional support.

Training for Success training gives you the tools and skills you need to get a job.

Work Experience Programme

The Work Experience Programme offers short work experience placement opportunities with local employers. These placements can last between two and eight weeks and will give you the chance to try out various tasks in a real work situation and develop skills needed to help you get a job.


You may want to start working when you leave school but remember that skills, experience and qualifications are important in this very competitive job market. Job vacancies can be found in newspapers or online:


If you have an idea for starting your own business you will need good advice. There are organisations that provide help and advice to young people wanting to set up their own businesses.

Gap year

A gap year can be a great opportunity to have a break from studies, earn some money, gain valuable experience, meet new people, increase independence and learn new skills. Universities, colleges and future employers support gap years. A gap year takes planning. It is important to have a goal, rather than just taking a year off without any real direction or purpose.


Volunteering is a good way to learn new skills and get experience in the workplace, especially if you cannot find work or training straight away. Volunteers can work anything from a couple of hours per week to a full week.

Watch a video about choices in education

If you're waiting on your A-Level results, watch a video explaining next steps you can take in education.  

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