There are a number of ways to gain new skills, experience and qualifications.

For some jobs you will need specific qualifications that you can only get at university or college, but there are other ways to learn.

Many employers will train you through apprenticeships or other programmes. This will mean you are learning while working.

Our youth employment team

It can be difficult to know where to start when thinking about the skills, training and experience you need.

Our youth employment team (works4youth) has employability and skills mentors that can help.

GOV.UK has information on National Careers Service website that can help you assess your skills.

Different ways to learn


Apprenticeships are a way of learning and gaining new skills while you earn. You are employed by the company and supported to undertake your apprenticeship as part of your job.

The levels of apprenticeship range from level 2 (GCSE) to level 6 or 7 (bachelor’s or master’s degree)

GOV.UK has information on how to become an apprentice.

South Gloucestershire council has apprenticeships for young adults. You can find out more and apply.


The government is supporting employers to offer 6 month funded job placements for young adults. This is called the Kickstart scheme.

You can watch a video about how this scheme can help young adults on our Hear from others page.

You must be aged between 16 and 24 and on Universal Credit to take part.

Our youth employment team can tell you more about local employers who are taking part in Kickstart.

You can also contact job coaches at Jobcentre Plus.

Further education colleges

You can study for many different qualifications at college. This includes vocational and academic courses at different levels.

Some vocational qualifications require study at college and a placement with an employer or work related programme.

South Gloucestershire and Stroud College is our local further education college. You can read about their course options on the SGS website.

Community learning

We have community learning opportunities for people who are over the age of 19 and have few or no qualifications.

These include courses to help you develop confidence, prepare for work and get English, maths, digital and vocational qualifications up to level 2.

You can find out more about our community learning and skills service.

Vocational learning

Vocational learning is specific to a job that you want to do. This could be a trade or craft that interests you.

The career pilot website has information on vocational qualifications.


You may know what job you want to do and the degree or higher level qualification you need if you have chosen to go to university.

If you are unsure the Discover uni website can help you to compare courses.

Future bright

Future Bright is a free service that can help you develop skills and confidence.

To use this service you must be:

  • in work
  • over the age of 18
  • getting in work benefits or on a low income

They can give you a job coach that can help you write a personalised action plan.

The West of England Combined Authority website has information on Future Bright.

WE Work for Everyone

The WE Work for Everyone programme can help you if you have a learning difficulty, learning disability or autism. You will get 1 to 1 support that can help you find, get and keep a job.

To get this help you must be:

  • over 16
  • have right to reside and work in the UK
  • have a barrier to work (this can a include self-diagnosed difficulty)

Our youth employment team can tell you more about the We Work for Everyone programme.

Work experience

Employers will understand that you may have limited experience of working. But doing work experience can help you get all round skills and look more attractive to an employer.

The Prospects website has information on virtual work experience.


Volunteering is a great way to get experience and develop soft skills.

These are things like:

  • communication
  • positivity
  • flexibility
  • problem solving

Employers will value these skills.

You may want to volunteer for a cause you feel strongly about.

There are opportunities for you to volunteer to help organisations and charities that have been impacted by coronavirus. You can find out more on the Do It website.

We have volunteer centres that can help you find local volunteering (including help we need at the council). They are working virtually because of coronavirus.

Other things that can help

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