What is Raising the Participation Age?

Girl thinkingRaising the Participation Age (RPA)

It is about you getting the skills and knowledge employers want for the jobs of the future.

RPA means you must stay in some form of education or training until you're 18, something most 16 to 18 year olds already do.

You can choose from:

  • stay in full-time learning either in a school sixth form, sixth form college, further education college or with a training provider.
  • an apprenticeship, traineeship, supported internship or training
  • full-time work or volunteering for 20 hours or more AND part-time accredited study.

Check UCAS Progress for post 16 education and training options

Why stay in learning or training?

  • you'll have more jobs to choose from if you get the best qualifications you can
  • more jobs need people with higher level qualifications and skills
  • many lower skilled jobs want you to have some basic skills

RPA means:

  • you can’t take a job that doesn’t offer training
  • you can start an apprenticeship or training or job with training after the last Friday in June of Year 11, in 2017 it is Friday 30 June, even if you are 15 – as long as you are 16 by 31 August of this same year
  • you can't start full-time work with training before the last Friday in June even if you are 16
  • if you have an offer of a place on a course with a September start date, that counts, so you won't be expected to do some other learning before you start.

Warning! Anyone starting work before the last Friday in June is working illegally and is therefore not covered by insurance - if you have an accident at work, you will find it difficult to get compensation.

Page updated May 2017

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