The 16-19 study programme is the current curriculum which all post-16 year old students must follow. Each programme is tailored to a student’s prior attainment by age 16 and their career aspirations. For a full definition of the study programme, please visit the Government’s 16-to-19 funding study programmes work experience page.


Each individual’s programme must include these three key elements:

  • substantial qualifications such as BTEC Level 3 or A Levels
  • Maths and English for students who have not achieved grade A*-C GCSE in these subjects by age 16
  • work experience or other work-preparation programme

Work experience is therefore a key component of the study programme and it can take two main forms:

  • Students studying in a more vocational way may have work experience at the core of their curriculum . They may take part in work experience on as much as a weekly basis and will be hoping to attain practical training and hands-on experience.
  • For students studying a traditional, academic curriculum work experience is more of an enrichment exercise. It is there to help them understand their future careers choices and to teach them about the work place but is not an integral part of their qualification.

The specific form and structure of a placement can vary considerably. Students could work with you for a full week or for a few hours every week throughout the term. The length of the placement will depend upon the what level of work experience the employer believes will adequately prepare the student for progression into employment.


Rules and Regulations:

Work experience within the 16-19 study programme is more formal and must include:

  • purposeful, substantial and challenging experience relevant to the young person’s study programme and career options
  • management under the direction of a supervisor to ensure the young person obtains a genuine learning experience suited to their needs
  • a structured plan for the duration of the placement which provides tangible outcomes for the student and employer
  • focus on the skills required for that occupational sector
  • clear roles, responsibilities and expectations for the student and employer
  • follow-up in the form of references or feedback from the employer based on the young person’s performance
  • Work-experience within the 16-19 study programme is inspected by Ofsted to ensure that it meets these criteria.


How to Get Involved in the 16-19 Study Programme:

If you are interested in offering work experience as part of the 16-19 study programme, it is a good idea to contact your local schools, colleges and academies.

Also see the government’s guidelines for education and traineeship providers.


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