Thanks everyone, lots of great ideas there. She really likes the idea of "going away" to university as we live in a small rural village and I think it seems very exciting. But ultimately getting a job is more important.
She is thinking of a career in "something medical" so maybe the nhs apprenticeship would be an option.
Dd is going to do an advanced engineering apprenticeship for 4 years. You don't need A levels for this but many do have them (she will have AS levels not full A levels, and is one of the younger ones they are taking on). I half wish she would finish A levels first and a part of me wonders if she may be selling herself short a bit and should go to university, but everything we've read about the scheme seems really positive and the pay, perks and career prospects are excellent. Most importantly it's what she wants to do. There were more than 50 applicants per place this year though (stealth boast) and quite a lengthy application process. The good apprenticeship schemes seem to be getting more and more popular - the ones that A-levels are a requirement for are called higher apprenticeships, but some of the advanced ones might be of interest too.
changeling the police these days want them to have experienced a bit of life, it is highly unlikely they would take a school leaver. I know of several 18 year olds sent away to get a life and my friend who is a policewoman had a very full cv by the time she was accepted in her late twenties, travel and work overseas, experience working in the emergency services call cantre and control room and as a community police woman, and she had a strong sense of vocation following a mugging. First step would be to build up a CV of relevant experience and /or to get very fit, apparently a lot of her fellow recruits were gym bunnies, but all were in their late twenties.
Just wondered what else is out there other than Uni. DD has just finished AS and is looking at degree courses. She's considered the Armed Forces and Police, but just wondered what else everyone else is doing to maybe give her some more ideas.