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If you’ve decided to leave school, that doesn’t mean you’re at the end of your education. 

Say what? 

It’s all about the lifelong process of learning and achieving your goals. 

Here’s what things look like based on your age and what grades you’ve completed: 

Under 16 and haven’t finished year 10

You still need to be going to school – it’s the law. 

Over 16 or have finished year 10, still at school but want to leave:

It’s best to chat to someone – a year level coordinator, guidance officer, industry liaison officer or another member of staff that can help you work through your options. This way, your school principal can make sure your training or employment pathways are ‘a-okay’ to leave school.

16 and have left school: 

You still need to be in some form of education, training, employment, or other eligible option until you have met the requirements of the compulsory participation phase.The 2023 School Leavers Guide is a helpful resource to help on your path to employment. 

Not sure what you’ll do? We’ve got some options to explore. Remember, if you’re not in an ‘eligible option’ you need to be back at school.

keep moving forward

Study options

If school wasn’t the right fit for you, but you are still interested in further study, you may want to consider Vocational Training and Education (VET) through TAFE or a private registered training organisation. . You’ll have the ability to choose from a range of industry specific training, taking part in short courses and qualifications that can open the door to a range of jobs as well as apprenticeships and traineeships.

Apprenticeships and traineeships

The great thing about apprenticeships and traineeships is that you’ll have the opportunity to earn while you learn as you’ll be working for an employer while you are studying. There’s a range of areas available and you can choose between full-time or part-time study to fit in with your schedule.   


If you’d prefer to enter the workforce straight away, you’ll need to have a resume and cover letter before you start applying. If you’re not sure how to write your resume, or are looking for info about the interview process, check out the guides on SeekJob Jumpstart, Youth Central and Jobted. For more job sites, check out the Queensland Government website

Be aware that the job market may be more difficult than usual due to COVID, however, you can start looking for opportunities via Seek, Job Jumpstart, and the Queensland Government Jobs finder website.   

Challenged by other circumstances

Even if you do have your options mapped out, you may find money and transport are making things hard. 

If you’re undertaking an apprenticeship or traineeship and need financial or disability support, Centrelink has payments available. 

If travel is holding you back, apprentices and trainees (not school-based apprenticeships or traineeships), who travel at least 100km (return trip) to attend training at their closest training organisation may be eligible for travel and accommodation subsidies

Don’t know what you want to do?

It might help to talk to someone who can provide guidance on what might be some good options for you. If you are school aged and have already left school, you can access the Regional Youth Engagement Service and they will help you navigate the decision making process and oversee the approval of your choice.  

And if you ever change your mind, there are options to go back to school too.