My choices at 16...

At 16 you are faced with some big decisions that can make a real difference to the university and career options open to you in the future.

Do I stay at school and study for A levels or Highers? What subjects should I choose? Should I go straight to work, or train on-the-job with an apprenticeship?

Make sure you take the time to find out all the information you need to make these important decisions.


Apprenticeships are a great way to continue your education and enter into the world of work if further study at school or university isn’t for you.

More information can be found at the Apprenticeships page of this site.

Subject choices

If you want to do an apprenticeship post-18 or go to university then it’s important you make the right subject choices. Most science degrees will require you to have at least two science A levels or Highers. Surprisingly chemistry is often needed for entry on to biological science courses, and studying maths beyond GCSE is often counted as a science subject and looked upon favourably when applying for a science-related degree. 

Before deciding what subjects to take, have a look at the different university courses available and the entry requirements on the UCAS website.

Vocational qualifications  

If you aren’t ready to go into an apprenticeship but don’t want to study for A levels or Highers you may have the option to study for a vocational qualification. These courses are often offered by special colleges, and focus much more on the skills needed to carry out a particular job. 

Vocational qualifications relevant to the pharmaceutical industry include those in science, health, engineering and manufacturing, IT, accounting and business. For more information about vocational qualifications see the Career Pilot website. 

Last modified: 20 September 2023

Last reviewed: 20 September 2023