signedup logo

Further Education

What is Further Education?

Further Education (FE) refers to educational choices made after your 16th birthday. It covers all qualifications lower than a degree. Everyone has to study FE until they are 18.

After GCSEs, you could stay in school, go to a sixth form college, go to a further education (FE) college, or join a work-based training provider.

FE college

  • Go to college open days – they’re great opportunities to talk to students and tutors. 

  • College is an adult environment where you take more responsibility for yourself and your learning – there's support and guidance available, but it‘s also a chance for you to prepare for work and life post-education.
  • There's usually a range of sport and leisure opportunities – employers and universities look for evidence of your wider interests and achievements, so check out college clubs and activities!

School sixth form

  • If you’re already at a school with a sixth form, you could stay on – you already know the place, the teachers, and your friends (who might stay on too).
  • It’s still worth looking at other schools – sixth forms vary in size, course offering, and subjects, as well as extra activities and opportunities you might like.
  • Check whether they offer the courses you want – wherever you choose to go, make sure you'll be studying subjects that interest you.

Sixth form college

  • Sixth form colleges can be more informal than school sixth forms.
  • They’re usually bigger, and they can often offer you more study options.
  • You'll get to make new friends from different schools.

Training providers

  • There are lots of training providers offering a wide range of work-related training and qualifications, including NVQs and apprenticeships.
  • Some are specialists focusing on particular sectors and job roles – such as construction, business administration, childcare, or hair and beauty.
  • Training providers work closely with employers who offer work-based training as part of placements or employment.

Explore Opportunities

Find Apprenticeships, Jobs and Courses in Essex