After GCSEs or National 5s, you could continue studying subjects you like, take vocational qualifications, an apprenticeship, or work or volunteer and study part-time.

Study full-time

Schools, colleges and training providers offer a range of subjects and courses that you can study full-time. You can study: 

  • subjects: A levels and other subject-based qualifications like Advanced Highers, International Baccalaureate (IB) and Cambridge Pre-U. These are good if there are subjects you like and want to study further, or if you are planning to go to university. You normally need to have at least five GCSEs at grades 9 to 4/A* to C (or an equivalent qualification, this can vary by university in Scotland, please check individual university websites) and may need at least a grade B in any specific subjects you want to study.
  • work and job-related courses: NVQs, BTECs, TechBacs and Cambridge Technicals are good qualifications to take if you want to combine hands on, practical learning with studying subjects and technical skills. They are specialist courses which relate to particular jobs, sectors, or subject areas. Depending on what qualifications you take, you can go on to further education, training, or employment, or you can go to university.

Apprenticeships, traineeships and supported internships

You can also choose to train while you work by taking on an apprenticeship, traineeship or supported internship. 

  • Apprenticeship: You work for an employer and train to do a specific job at the same time. There are over 280 types of apprenticeship for over 1,500 job roles – anything from engineering to boat-building, or veterinary nursing to accountancy. 
  • Traineeship: Gets you ready for work or for doing an apprenticeship. They last from six weeks to six months and provide essential work preparation training, literacy and numeracy skills and work experience to get an apprenticeship or other job.
  • Supported internship: Just for students with learning difficulties or learning disabilities who want to get a job and need extra support to do this. They last for at least six months and are unpaid. You get work experience and an employer trains you to do a job role. You also get to study for qualifications or other courses to help you get ready to take up a job.

Work or volunteer while studying part-time

You can combine training or studying for a qualification and work at the same time.

  • It doesn’t have to be a paid job, you can volunteer on a project or with a charity, or get a work-experience placement in a career or job area that interests you. 
  • Colleges and training providers offer a wide range of training courses that are part-time, including A levels and work-related qualifications like BTECs or NVQs.