Your choices at 16 years and over

The law requires that young people must participate in some form of education, employment, or training until the age of 18. This is up to the age of 25 for those with an education, health and care plan (EHC).

We are required to report how many young people are in education, employment or training to the Department of Education. To do this we work closely with schools, colleges and other local authorities.

Your options

Different options are available to you when it comes to training, work, or education.

Full-time education

You have the option of going for full-time education. This could be through:

  • a sixth form
  • further education college
  • training with a provider

To be considered in full-time education, you need to spend at least 540 hours per year on learning, which is approximately 18 hours per week.

Full-time employment or volunteering

You can combine full-time work or volunteering with part-time study or training.

To qualify as full-time work, you should work 20 or more hours a week for a minimum of 8 consecutive weeks.

Your part-time education or training must be for at least 280 hours per year if you are combining it with full-time work.


You could become an apprentice and earn a salary while working towards a relevant qualification.

If you are between the ages of 16 and 25 and have an EHCP, you have the option to engage in supported internships instead.

We work closely with schools, colleges, and other local authorities to be able to report to the Department for Education on how many young people are in education, employment, or training.

We may contact you to ensure the information we hold about you is correct by email, phone, or text. In line with our data protection policy, we will always disclose who we are.

If you are not in education, employment or training

If you are aged 16 and over and are currently not in education, employment or training (NEET), contact the Birmingham careers service.

A qualified Careers Advisor can provide career information and guidance to help you consider your options and next steps.

Page last updated: 17 April 2024

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