The Careers for Young People Service provides young people in Warrington with Careers Advice and Guidance as well as information on learning and work opportunities.

Our service is responsible for helping young people to remain in education until they are 18.   This is called RPA, and can be full time education, an apprenticeship, or a job with training.

Looking for your first job or apprenticeship can be daunting – there are a lot of options and it’s not always clear what you need to do.  We’ve answered some of the most common questions below to help you get started.

Remember, if you want advice by email or would like to speak face-to-face with one of our advisers you can use the contact forms on this site.  If there’s something you need to know we can help!


Send us a message or find us on social media to talk to us there.


When looking on this site or talking to us you might hear the word RPA.  This stands for raising the participation age, and it’s important for you to know.

RPA was introduced in 2013 to encourage young people to get skills and keep learning after school.  It makes it compulsory that all young people are still getting qualifications until they turn 18.

This doesn’t mean you have to stay at the same place.  If you’re at college and decide you want to do an apprenticeship instead then you can do that, you just have to be doing one of the three.

Do I have to stay at school or college?

RPA can sound like it means you have to stay in school until you’re 18, but this isn’t true.  You do have to be doing some kind of training, but this can be in work.  An apprenticeship is often a very good way to get a job and a qualification at the same time. You can also get a regular job if it has accredited training.

What’s accredited training?

Almost any job will have training so that you know what you’re doing.  You’ll need to be shown how to get in and out of the building, how to do your job properly, who your manager is, and lots of other little things.  These would be called non-accredited training, which means you don’t get a qualification for doing them.  Work with non-accredited training doesn’t count as RPA.

Let’s say you are working in a cafe.  If you were just shown how to cook food and stay safe then this wouldn’t be RPA. If you learnt how to do this and got an NVQ in catering or food hygiene then you’re good for RPA!

Does this mean I can’t have a job if it doesn’t have training?

No!  If you want to make some extra money you can still get a regular job, but you still have to be in education, an apprenticeship, or accredited training.

What happens if I’m not in RPA?

When you leave school in September we will contact your college or apprenticeship that you chose to go to and make sure that everything is going well.  If you decide to leave your course we will get in touch to help you find something better for you.


Any other questions?  Contact us and we’ll help you out

The things we learn doing one thing can sometimes be used in other places, too.  A transferable skill is a skill that’s useful in a job even though it might not be to do with the job at first.

Let’s say you wanted to get a job in a supermarket and you don’t have any work experience.  You might think that you don’t have the skills to do this kind of job, but that might not be true!  Skills we pick up that are useful in work are called transferable skills, and they don’t have to come from working.


Once a week you play 5-a-side football with your friends in a league.  This might just seem like a bit of fun with your mates, but you’re using skills here that are useful in a job without even knowing it:

  • You have to arrive on time, or your team might lose their spot and not be able to play that week.  You turn up on time and you know why it’s important to be on time
  • You wear the right kit to the matches, so you don’t end up on the wrong team.  You can follow a dress-code
  • Everyone plays a position in the team, so you’re not all running around not knowing what to do.  You know why it’s important to work as a team

So, if you were going to an interview for the supermarket job, you can talk about timekeeping, uniform, and teamwork, just from playing football with your mates once a week.  These are all transferable skills, and you can probably think of some more to do with other sports that you might play.  Some other great places for transferable skills if you’re just about to leave school are:

  • Taking part in an after-school club
  • Being part of a group like scouts or cadets
  • Volunteering
  • Playing music in a band (or by yourself)

Depending on your experience and the kind of job you’re applying for, you might put your transferable skills on your CV or cover letter

A transferable skill isn’t just for hobbies and things outside of work

Once you’re in a job or have some work experience you’ll be learning new skills to do with that job.  We might learn about stock rotation if we’re working at the supermarket, for example.  These skills are transferable in the same way if we look at them outside of the job.  Rotating stock needs you to have good attention to detail, so even though another job might not want us to rotate stock we can still use those skills in the future.

Careers for Young People advisers are available at the following times in Contact Warrington, Horsemarket Street;

Monday, Wednesday and Thursday 9am – 5pm

Tuesday 9am – 4pm

Friday 9am – 4:30pm

We offer a ‘drop in’ facility, however we can also book you an appointment. Contact us on 01925 442211 or send us an email

There are lots of factors to consider when thinking about taking a gap year. If you use this time wisely, it could help you to decide the right career path, gain new skills, travel and gain life experiences.

Things to consider include;

  • Your long term plans – the career ideas you have
  • Your short term plans – do you know what you would like to do after your gap year e.g. go back to college, university or find an apprenticeship
  • What opportunities are available? – are these going to be beneficial for you in reaching your long term goal?
  • Are the opportunities realistic? – e.g. can you support yourself financially or will your family support you? What will your travel plans be?

Once you decide that you want to take a gap year then you might want to consider;

  • Paid work
  • Voluntary work
  • Travel
  • Study Abroad

Looking for full time work can be difficult as the world that we work in is very competitive. Take a look at the Job Searching section for more information about where you can look for full time work.

You might also want to consider looking at our CV section for guidance on creating a great CV.

We have also gathered together a number of useful Career websites where you can search for jobs.

A cover letter is something you can hand in with your CV.  It’s often a very useful addition to your CV when applying for a job.  Basically, a cover letter is there to add extra detail and show that you can put the work in to make your application stand out.

Cover letters aren’t normally long. In fact it’s better if they’re short, never more than one page.  Much of this page is taken up with things like addresses and signatures, so there’s less writing than you’d first think.  You need to write three things on your cover letter, in this order:

Why you want this job

Why you?  Make your case why you want to be considered for this job.  You can tell them how passionate you are about this kind of work or how you’re ready to try something new.  Use your cover letter to talk about things you wouldn’t normally include on a CV!

Skills and experiences

Use this to show why they should choose you!  These skills and experiences should be backed up with examples.  If you’re going to say you have a skill make sure you can link it to a job or experience you’ve had.

Requesting an interview

You’ve shown you want to be considered for this job, it’s worth making it clear when you can come in for an interview and how long your notice period would be.


Would you like one of our advisers to take a look at your cover letter, or help you write one?  Get in touch!

CV stands for ‘curriculum vitae’ which is latin for ‘story of your life’.  That doesn’t mean you should write your CV like a story though!

As a CV is usually the first thing an employer would see if you apply for a job.   You want to have your most useful information on it so they know about you straight away.  Use your CV to show your work experience, qualifications, and skills.

Where do I start?

Think about what would be the most important things an employer would want to know about you.  Start with the basics – your name and how to get in touch with you – and then add more and more from there.  You always want your work experience and education on your CV, but you might also include skills, hobbies, or volunteering experience.

So I just need to write a CV and I’m done?

Not really.   A CV is what’s known as a’ working’ document, which means we need to update it from time to time.  Your CV when you leave high school isn’t going to be the same as your CV when you leave college or finish an apprenticeship.

You also need to think about the job you’re applying for and change your CV to fit that.  Going for a job  in retail?  Emphasise your transferable skills for retail!  Want a job on a building site after that?  Then you won’t want to focus on those retail skills so much.  A lot of people make a ‘base’ CV that they then change a little for each job they go for.


Take a look at our CV section to help you understand what you need to include in a CV.

Want some advice or help writing your CV?  Get in touch

Want to learn and work at the same time?  An apprenticeship might be the best choice for you.

Rather than only go to college or only have a job, an apprenticeship combines both.  You’ll work for a company and make money, but get qualifications for that job at the same time.  This is often a great ‘foot in the door’ way to start your career from a younger age than normal.

A lot of people think apprenticeships are for simple or trade-only jobs.  This isn’t true!  There are now apprenticeships for all kinds of different jobs, and qualifications go all the way up to university degree.  Check out our vacancies page to see some of the apprenticeships available in Warrington right now!

To apply for an apprenticeship you’ll need to register on the national apprenticeship service website.  All of our vacancies link to this site, so it’s easy to find.

You can’t apply for an apprenticeship until you have left school and are not in full time education.  If you applied while you’re in college you would have to leave your college course to start the apprenticeship.

There are a lot of really great positives to having an apprenticeship

  • You’re earning money right away
  • You are straight in the field you want to work in
  • There are great chances to make connections you can use
  • You’ll get paid holidays and leave like any other employee


Interested in applying for an apprenticeship but need some support?  Get in touch, we can help



The best way to find a work experience placement is by directly contacting the places where you would like to work. You can also contact one of our Education and Employment Advisers, who should be able to offer some support and talk through your options.

You could also look at the following websites, which helps young people aged 14-25 look for voluntary work.

Work experience is usually a week or two of unpaid work – you might have done this at school.  You’ll be treated like another member of the team and get to see what it’s like working at a certain place.  This means it’s a good way to find out if a certain type of job is really for you.

What’s the difference between work experience and volunteering?


The options available all depend on what career you have in mind, it might be that you have to gain a certain qualification or take a certain route. You might want to take a look at the following job profiles to find out more.

You might want to stay in education, with some jobs you will need to gain a degree and therefore continue in Higher Education. To search for degree courses, use the UCAS course search.

You can progress in some jobs by achieving a work based qualification like a certificate or a diploma. Take a look at our Apprenticeships and Training section for more information.

Use this grid to see what level your qualifications are at and what qualifications they could lead onto afterwards:

Qualifications Table

If you know where you would like to study then visit the college website and search for courses or alternatively contact the college directly.

Carmel College – 01744 452200

Mid-Cheshire College – 01606 74444

Priestley College – 01925 633591

Reaseheath College – 01270 625131

Riverside College – 0151 275 280

Cronton College – 0151 424 1515

St. Helens College – 01744 623336

Warrington Collegiate – 01925 494494

Colleges hold a number of open days throughout the year that you can attend and will have the opportunity to speak to course tutors. Take a look on our calendar of events or visit the college website directly.

It’s June, you’ve taken all of your exams, and the summer holiday is about to begin… Now what?

If you are under 18 you are now required to continue in education or training until your 18th birthday, or until a level 3 qualification (equiavlent to an A level) is achieved – whichever comes first.

This doesn’t mean that you have to stay in school or college, though.  Your options are;

  • Stay in full time education – going to college or a sixth form for 2 years
  • Secure an apprenticeship
  • Get a job – there must be some accredited training with the job – this means it must be training that leads to a qualification, not just training for the job.

To help you to decide the right choice for you, think about:

  • The GCSE grades you have achieved (or been predicted)
  • How you like to learn – some people enjoy school and classroom environments and are happy going to college. Some people prefer hands-on activities and learning ‘on the job’ so getting an apprenticeship would be better for them.
  • What career you would like to do in the future.  Some careers will need you to have qualifications that you can only get in college or university, so an apprenticeship might not be suitable.

For more detailed information about the different options take a look at our Post 16 booklet.

You are not stuck doing one thing for the two years if you don’t want to be.  If you go to college and decide it’s not for you then you can apply for an apprenticeship, or if you are just working in a job and change your mind about studying you can apply to go to college, you just have to be doing one of the three.  If you find yourself not doing any of these we will help you get back into education or training.

If you have a career idea in mind but would like to explore this further then you could use the Jobs Section or make an appointment with an Education and Employment Adviser.