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Next Steps

Bedford College Student work

Find out more by selecting the options below...


An apprenticeship offers an excellent way of gaining both a qualification and valuable skills and experience from the workplace. Find out more…


Thinking about Employment? Find out more…

GAP Years

The information below focuses on the opportunities available to you if you are thinking of taking a year out from university. Each of these information sites will help you to investigate what is on offer to you.

You may also find some useful information on the Volunteering, Working Abroad and Studying Abroad pages in this section.

Medical opportunities with Frontier and GVI

Gain some crucial experience in the competitive field of medicine and healthcare with Frontier and GVI.   Opportunities are available worldwide and include both shorter placements and longer internships.

Opportunities with Raleigh

Are you up to the challenge? Want to take part in an expedition but concerned about the costs, then take a look at the Raleigh Graduate Bursary Awards.

The Academy of Internships Abroad

Interested in employment or a volunteer internship abroad then have a look at the website of The Academy of Internships Abroad, which contains information on a range of development programs worldwide and in a variety of industries.

Useful websites…

Higher Education

Thinking about Higher Education? Find out more…

Part time and distance learning

Many courses today can be studied in a variety of ways and they often combine a range of different study methods.  This includes learning for personal interest/hobby to higher education level courses.

Where to Look…

More information on studying a higher education course flexibly can be found on the UCAS website.  There is also lots of useful information within the How and Where to Study section which may further help you in your decision making.

Watch the video below which shows OU students talking about signing up for a flexible course and starting their studies.


Hundreds of people of all ages and backgrounds start their own business every year. Before you start it’s important to think about a few things first.

  • Why do want to work for yourself?
  • Do you have a good idea for a business?
  • Do you have the personal skills and abilities to work for yourself?

The links to the resources below will give you further useful information about working for yourself.

Useful websites…

  • British Franchise Association – offers advice and support to new franchisees
  • Building Enterprising Communities – offers a free service to unemployed residents of Bedfordshire (excluding Luton), which takes you through the basics of self-employment and helps you decide if it’s right for you.
  • Companies House – information on starting up and registering a company.
  • Disabled Entrepreneurs – providing a voice and networking opportunities for all disabled people.
  • Federation of Small Businesses – provides information and advice for members on business and finance.
  • Gov.UK – information on starting a business and self-employment.
  • HM Revenue and Customs – information on registering as self-employed, keeping records and completing your tax return.
  • Princes Trust – Advice and financial support for 18-30 yr olds starting their own business. Please be aware that certain criteria apply, for example you must be unemployed or work less than 16 hrs per week. See also the Enterprise programme.
  • Shell-live Wire – Online advice and support for 16-30 yr olds starting and running their own business.
  • Start Up Loans – finance and support for those aged 18+ who wish to start their own business
Training schemes

A Training Scheme is a good way to gains skills and qualifications and earn a wage at the same time. Find more…

Working abroad

Thinking of working abroad? 

Useful websites…


The links below provide a wide range of ideas for putting your spare time to good use. Although many of the organisations are national they have local branches and opportunities for you to get involved with. The skills and experiences you gain in a voluntary role may help you to gain paid employment in the future, so don’t forget to include any voluntary work on your CV.

Volunteering while on benefits
You are free to volunteer while receiving benefits as long as the work you do is unpaid and you still meet all the required conditions of the benefit. To find out more have a look at here at the advice provided by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO).

UpRising Leadership Programme

Are you 19-25 years old? Do you live, work or study in Bedfordshire? If you answered YES to all the above then you could take part in the Uprising Leadership Programme. More information can be found here and on the link below.

UpRising Leadership Programme

General interest

Advice and information

Conservation and environmental

Health and social care