Careers advice FAQs


Apprenticeships and traineeships

Do I have to go to college as part of my apprenticeship?

Apprenticeship don't always require the apprentice to attend a college. Some allow all of the learning to take place in the work place.

It is important to choose an apprenticeship that is not only the desired job but also offers the preferred way of learning.

What if I can't find an apprenticeship near me that interests me?

New apprenticeship vacancies are added to the Find an Apprenticeship service throughout the year so it is important to check regularly.

It may also be helpful to contact local training providers that offer training in the industry you are interested in as they will have links with local employers.

If you are already working then you might want to discuss with your employer the possibility of developing your role into an apprenticeship.

Can I apply for an Apprenticeship if I am 15?

It is possible to apply for an Apprenticeship during your GCSE year providing you will have turned 16 and have finished school when you start the Apprenticeship.

Apprenticeship application forms will ask for your National Insurance Number which you will receive between the ages of 15 years 9 months and 15 years 11 months.

If you are applying for an Apprenticeship and have not yet received a National Insurance Number as you are too young then this should not affect your application as it is only once you are enrolled on to the Apprenticeship that the number is required.


Do I have to keep studying English and maths?

Full time students starting a study programme who have not already achieved a GCSE grade 9-4 in English and maths must continue to work towards these.

Those who have achieved a grade 3) or equivalent must be enrolled on a GCSE qualification.

Those who have not achieved GCSE grade 3) will be enrolled on to a functional skills qualification at an appropriate level or an alternative stepping stone qualification.

Do I need A levels to get in to university?

A levels are not the only route to university. Vocational qualifications and apprenticeships also offer routes to higher education. You can even do degree level apprenticeships!

Is there support for disabled students in progressing to higher education?

As a higher education student living in England, you can apply for a Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs) if you have a disability. The support you get depends on your individual needs and not income.

Can I progress from AS levels to A levels?

From September 2015, AS level results will no longer count towards an A level qualification. They will be separate, stand-alone qualifications.

Can I change courses or start a course when I am 17?

Students wanting to change courses after their first year or those starting a two year course when they turn 17 may find it difficult to get a place on a new course.

This is because there is less funding available for young people over 18 years old on a study programme.


Does self-employment count as participating?

You can be self-employed and still count as participating, as long as you are doing part-time accredited education or training as well.

Further help

I have recently moved to the UK. How do I find out what the UK equivalents are of the qualifications I have already gained?

With regards to finding out what level your qualifications equate to, you may wish to contact the National Recognition Information Centre (NARIC).

NARIC can offer advice, information and opinion on vocational and academic qualifications from around the world.

Is there any help available for transport to education or training?

For those attending full-time education, information about transport schemes available to Surrey students for travel to education providers, including the Student Fare Card (offering reduced rate travel on buses and trains) can be found in the transport policy statement.

Can I get any financial support for education-related costs?

You could get a bursary to help with education-related costs if you're aged 16 to 19 and studying at school or college (not university) in England or on a training course, including unpaid work experience

There are 2 types of 16 to 19 bursary:

  • Vulnerable student bursary - You could get a bursary worth up to £1,200 if you're in or recently left local authority care, you get Income Support (or Universal Credit in place of Income Support) in your name or you're disabled and get both Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) (or Universal Credit in place of ESA), and either Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) in your name.
  • Discretionary bursary - Education and training providers set their own criteria for discretionary bursaries, for example they might look at family income. Ask student services about their criteria and any evidence you'll need.

For more, visit 16 to 19 Bursary Fund at GOV.UK.

Where can I access careers advice?

The local authority is unable to provide careers advice. If you are at school or college then you should be able to access careers advice via your institution.

Alternatively the National Careers Service offers impartial information, advice and guidance to help you with your decisions about careers, courses and work.

For more information please visit the National Careers Service website.

I don't know what qualifications I have achieved to date

If you don't know what qualifications you have achieved to date, you can request access to your personal learning record by completing a 'My Personal Learning Record' form on the GOV.UK website.

What will happen if my child does not participate in education or training?

Parents/guardians will not be prosecuted if their child does not participate in education or training.

You or your child may be contacted by Surrey County Council asking about what they are currently doing as it is the duty of the local authority to track all young people's participation.

Can I still claim child benefit/child tax credits once my child turns 16?

It is possible to claim child benefit for a young person after their 16th birthday if they continue in full-time approved education or training. This includes traineeships but not apprenticeships.

The Child Benefit Office must be informed otherwise payments will stop on 31 August after the young person's sixteenth birthday. For full details see child benefits after 16 on GOV.UK.

Similarly it is possible to claim child benefit for a young person after they turn sixteen if they continue in full-time approved education or training. This includes traineeships but not apprenticeships.

The Tax Credit Office must be informed otherwise payments will stop on 31 August after the young person's sixteenth birthday. For full details see Child Tax Credit when your child reaches 16.

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