Further Education & Apprenticeships

Do you know who to talk to and where to go for advice at different stages in your learning? Taking time to find out now can save time and hassle later and with a bit of help and support, you’ll soon start to realise that you already have some brilliant ideas.

Children and Young People
Girl in classroom writing in notebook

Begin planning your future early. Discuss possibilities for education, employment and training with your designated teacher, or ask for one-to-one tuition in English and Maths to help you improve. If you have a particular job in mind, find out what skills and qualifications are needed.

Your school and designated teacher can help you identify the entry requirements for college or other courses, like apprenticeships that enable you to work, learn and earn at the same time. Teachers can help you explore the ways you can get into university and the different types of qualifications that will support this.

The Virtual School often organise someone to help you prepare for Further and Higher Education. This could include help with writing your personal statement, arranging college or university visits or with UCAS or other application forms.

Don’t forget, if you need any help with this, you can email us at virtualschool@leics.gov.uk 

What about my grades?

You’ll need grade 4 or above in English and Maths to continue education or get a job.

Don’t worry if you have not achieved this. There is a range of support available from your Social Worker, your school and Designated Teacher, or Personal Advisor. You should be offered the chance to retake your GCSEs or follow a Literacy/Numeracy qualification like Functional Skills as part of your next course.

If you need more help with grades, Post-16 choices or if you go to school outside Leicestershire and want some support, email virtualschool@leics.gov.uk, and we will contact you to discuss things.

Where can I find out more about courses and apprenticeships?

You don't have to do A Levels if you don't want to. If you're considering a different type of course, you can search for an apprenticeship, or see what local colleges have to offer.


Leicester College or follow @LCApprentice on Twitter

Loughborough College

North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College

SMB College Group

Wyggeston and Queen Elizabeth I College


Apprenticeships are a way of combining working with studying.

During a typical apprenticeship you would work for a company but also be allocated time in work to study further or go to college to study a related subject. You would be supported by an experienced member of the staff who will teach you the hands-on skills you need.

Over a period of between 1 to 3 years, an apprenticeship allows you to combine earning and learning and you would finish the course with an NVQ (or a BTEC or City & Guilds).

Intermediate Apprenticeships usually result in a level 2 NVQ (roughly the same as doing 5 GCSEs) Advanced Apprenticeships result in a Level 3 (about the same as 2 A-levels). Higher Apprenticeships incorporate a work-based learning programme and lead to qualifications at Level 4 and above, where Level 4s and 5 are equivalent to a higher education certificate, higher education diploma or a foundation degree, Level 6 is equivalent to a bachelor degree and Level 7 is equivalent to a master’s degree.

If you are interested, create an account on the National Apprenticeship website as soon as possible - this will enable you to be notified as soon as vacancies come on line.

Leicestershire County Council has agreed to reserve some of its own apprenticeship opportunities for Care Leavers.

These opportunities come through the Virtual School who alert social workers and personal advisors to the vacancies when they arise, who in turn reply to the Virtual School if they are aware of any children in care or care leavers who might be interested.

Apprenticeships offered so far include Business Admin, ICT, Plumbing, Painting and Decorating. If you think you might be interested in an apprenticeship with Leicestershire County Council, please let your social worker or PA know so they can inform the Virtual School, or contact the Virtual School direct by email virtualschool@leics.gov.uk

Where can I find out about finance and transport?

You can ask about bursaries and travel passes at the colleges you visit on Open Days.

Learners who will be 16-18 on 31 August of the year they begin their course are eligible to apply for the 16-19 Bursary Fund, which provides financial support to help students overcome specific barriers to participation so they can remain in education.

The application process is straightforward. You will be send an application form for the fund when you are offered a place on a course. The fund is means tested, so there will be an application procedure and you may need to see a Welfare Advisor. You can always make an appointment to see our welfare team before you apply for your course, to help you understand the costs of coming to college. Find more information about the 16 to 19 Bursary Fund

Can I get practical support in lessons/exams if I have a disability?

Yes, speak to Student Support/Welfare Advice at the colleges your visit. If you do an apprenticeship, employers must provide you with facilities and support as well.