Practical careers help for young people living in the Cumberland area.

Cumberland Council provides services in the Allerdale, Carlisle and Copeland areas.

If you’re 16, taking your GCSEs soon and contemplating what to do after year 11, you have lots of choices in terms of your next steps - you can continue studying full time, take vocational qualifications, an apprenticeship, or work or volunteer and study part-time.

This is an exciting time, and it can be a bit daunting for some, but there are loads of great options for you to consider and lots of friendly advice and information available to help you.

When can I leave school?

In England you can leave school at the end of June as long as you are 16 by the end of the summer holidays, however, you must do one of the following:

Or you can spend 20 hours or more a week working or volunteering, while in part-time education or training. This option is much less common than the others.

You will need to be in some form of learning until you are 18.

If you do not get grades 4 or above in GCSE Maths and English in secondary school, there will be the expectation that you continue to study these subjects into post 16 education or training.

Sixth Form

A sixth form is where you can study A levels, Applied A Levels or BTECs.

after you have finished your formal education at the end of year 11. Most sixth forms are based in schools where students will study for 2 years.

You can find information about the schools and centres in the Cumberland Council area at it contains contact details, maps and links to related OFSTED/DfE information.

Further Education

Local Colleges offer a wide range of vocational courses linked to different areas of work from foundation level through to Level 3 and beyond. School leavers start at the level most suited to their ability.

You could consider either FE colleges in neighbouring Westmorland and Furness which will be in travelling distance for some of you.

T Levels

T Levels are a relatively new qualification, offered by colleges as well as the Energy Coast UTC, they are an alternative to A levels and apprenticeships. Each T Level is equivalent to 3 A levels, focuses on vocational skills and like other level 3 courses can lead to skilled employment, higher study, or apprenticeships. As well as college study the T Level includes an in-depth industry placement that lasts at least 45 days.


You might want to do an Apprenticeships if you want to be employed, earn money while training or if you’d prefer to be more hands-on. To find out more take a look at our Apprenticeship Guide -

Many national and local companies recruit through, where you can register, sign up for alerts and search and apply for vacancies.

You should also search regularly on – search for apprenticeships in your area.

If there is a business who you would like to work for look at their websites regularly to discover their apprenticeship opportunities, for example,

Some of the larger firms and training organisations are listed below. Please note that some firms will offer, level 2, level 3 and up to degree apprenticeships.

Gen 2 recruit apprentices for engineering, business administration, customer service, teaching assistants and other career paths.

Cumberland Council offer a wide range of apprenticeships, find out more at:

Don’t forget to check out the apprenticeship sections on local college websites, as they offer a full range of apprentice opportunities.

recruit and train electrical and plumbing apprentices for construction companies.

System People is an apprenticeship provider in the Carlisle area.

CITB where you can register your interest for an apprenticeship in a construction trade.

Armed Forces:

Top Tip: We regularly post careers advice, useful resources and top tips on our social media accounts, so make sure you follow us - @inspiraforlife on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Supported Internships

Supported Internships provide 16 to 24-year-olds, who have an Education, Health, and Care Plan with the opportunity to improve their employability skills. Lasting for a minimum of 6 months, and up to a year, the young person will undertake a substantial work placement, facilitated by the support of an expert job coach. These are usually offered when you have completed your learning and are almost ready for employment.

Job Search Websites

If you are interested in looking at vacancies locally and further afield, why not take a look at the following websites:

University Study

If you are considering university the UCAS website is packed with options in year 11 and beyond, what university is about and how to apply.

PUSH provides information on student life, gap years and much more.

See all the ways we can help