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Career Pathways

Our students, their future destinations and career aspirations are a priority to us here at the UTC. We work very closely with all of our students on an individual basis to find the right next steps for them.

There are many routes for young people following compulsory education, and not all of these include an academic career at university. In England, you can leave school on the last Friday in June if you will be 16 years of age by the end of the summer holidays.

You must then do one of the following until you are 18 years old:

  • Stay in full-time education, for example at a Sixth Form or college
  • Start an apprenticeship or traineeship
  • Spend 20 hours or more a week working or volunteering, while in part-time education or training

More information can be found at

There are a number of pathways students can take:

Further Education

Here at UTC South Durham we provide two pathways in our Sixth Form:

  • A Level 3 pathway of A-levels and equivalent courses
  • A one or two year pre-apprenticeship Performing Engineering Operations (PEO)

Please see a link to our application process Apply and our Year 12 curriculum offer Curriculum 


University is always an aspiration that we have for students and they are encouraged to visit Sunderland University, as a sponsor partner, as well as other universities who offer a wide variety of courses.

Support is given to students who would like to apply to university. More can be found on the UCAS website regarding universities, their courses and entry requirements. Universities will advertise their degree on their websites and UCAS. Throughout the year, there will also be the opportunity to visit universities for their open days and recruitment events.

We understand that UCAS can be both stressful for students and parents. We offer UCAS drop in sessions to the students throughout the year to support the application process.


A popular choice for our young people is a technical apprenticeship. Students from the age of 16 years old can complete an apprenticeship; there are many industries and sectors to choose from. Apprenticeships combine practical training in a job with study.

As an apprentice you will:

  • Work alongside experienced staff
  • Gain job-specific skills
  • Earn a wage and get holiday pay
  • Get time for study related to your role

Apprenticeships take 1-5 years to complete depending on the level undertaken.

UTC South Durham students will typically begin an advanced level apprenticeship and will work towards a Level 3 Competence Qualification, Functional Skills and, in most cases, a relevant knowledge based qualification.

Higher apprenticeships work towards work based learning qualifications such as a Level 4 Competence Qualification, Functional Skills and, in some cases, a knowledge-based qualification such as a foundation degree.

More can be found about apprenticeships and their current vacancies here.


A traineeship is a course with work experience that gets you ready for the world of work or an apprenticeship. It can last up to six months.

You can apply if you are:

  • Eligible to work in England
  • Unemployed and have little or no work experience
  • Aged 16-24 and qualified below level 3

More information about traineeships can be found here 

Careers Support

At UTC South Durham all students receive impartial advice from an independent careers advisor. Students are able to get advice from our Careers Leader at

Alternatively, you can contact the National Careers Service Helpline, Monday to Sunday 8.00am-10.00pm

Telephone: 0800 100900

Text Messages: 07766 413 219

Students working