GCSE results 2018: What to do after you learn your grades

It's GCSE results day and you have your grades - so what's the next step?

Many teenagers will have their plans already fixed, with college or sixth-form places, or alternative training lined up.

Are you collecting your results today?

Are you collecting your results today?

For others, be your grades good or bad, there will still be decisions to be made.

A great many school leavers will be moving on to study for A-levels.

But it may be that you don't want to follow the path of A-levels and then university.

In this case, there are plenty of alternative options, such as vocational and technical qualifications and apprenticeships.

Do you know what you're going to do next?

Do you know what you're going to do next?

Apprenticeships combine on-the-job training with study, meaning you get paid as you learn.

Read more: How to survive GCSE results day

There are different levels of apprenticeship; for example, intermediate is equivalent to a GCSE, and advanced is equivalent to an A-level.

According to the gov.uk website - which gives information to students in England on finding an apprenticeship - you can apply for one of these training schemes while you're still at school.

To start an apprenticeship, it says, you have to be at least 16 by the end of the summer holidays, living in England, and not in full-time education.

There are different organisations dealing with apprenticeships in Scotland and Wales.

If an apprenticeship is not for you, but you still want to take more vocational qualifications than A-levels, there are other courses out there to choose from - such as Btecs or City & Guilds qualifications.

Kirstie Donnelly, managing director at City & Guilds and ILM, said: "We need to ensure that students, parents and teachers are aware of the variety and different routes available to enter further education and employment.

"Whilst the traditional academic path through A-levels and onto university is right for many, it certainly shouldn't be seen as the only option available."

She adds: "Recent research carried out by City & Guilds found that UK businesses face a severe - and growing - shortage of skilled talent, which is only set to be exacerbated by Brexit.

"At this time, it's more important than ever that the next generation of our workforce is aware of the full range of technical, as well as academic, options open to them, which will pave their way into successful employment within some of the UK's leading industries, from engineering, to hospitality to construction.

"Technical training routes provide young people with invaluable on-the-job experience and core skills development - both specific to their chosen industry and for the wider world of work - as well as apprenticeships, which offer the opportunity to earn and learn."

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Catherine Sezen, senior policy manager at the Association of Colleges, said: "There are many options post-16: A-levels, a vocational or technical qualification or an apprenticeship.

"I would recommend going into your local further education college, staff there will be able to give you advice on your options with the grades that you have achieved."

If you are disappointed with your grades, results day is likely to bring concern and worry.

At this stage, the widely accepted advice is to stay calm, not panic, and think through your options.

Are your grades below what you need to take your planned next step?

If you have not scored at least a 4 in your English or maths GCSE, you will have to retake them.

Malcolm Trobe, deputy general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, says students should speak to their teachers if they are concerned about their results, and stay in touch to ensure they get advice and support.

"Where it's problematic is where youngsters shoot off," he says. "They come in, they're disappointed with their results and they disappear.

"The advice always is that they ensure they are in communication with someone in their school or college so that we know exactly what is happening."

Staff will be on hand to give appropriate advice to students, Mr Trobe says