What the qualifications mean
Qualifications at a glance
|Levels||Academic route||Vocational route||Occupational route|
|Pre-entry and entry (including 1, 2 and 3)|
|1||GCSEs (D-G)||GNVQ Foundation
BTEC Level 1
Certificate Award/Diploma and Basic Skills qualfications
|NVQ Level 1|
|2||GCSEs (A-C)||GNVQ Intermediate
BTEC Level 2 Diploma/Extended Certificate
|NVQ Level 2|
|3|| A Level including AS and A2 awards
BTEC National Certificate
BTEC National Diploma
|BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma
BTEC Level 3 Diploma
BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma
|NVQ Level 3|
|4||Credits towards Higher Education degrees||HNC/HND/Foundation Degree||Professional qualifications
NVQ Level 4
|5||Professional qualifications||NVQ Level 5|
Key/Basic Functional Skills
These are additional qualifications that are really important to employers and universities. They include communication, application of number and computer qualifications which you study alongside your course.
Pre-entry level courses
These practical courses will give you valuable life skills. They are particularly suitable if you have learning difficulties. You will be supported by a specialist tutor, who’ll give you the extra learning support you need to get on. We can also meet you when you arrive at College and take you to and from classes every day.
Entry level courses (entry 1, entry 2 and entry 3)
These courses are designed to give people with no prior educational qualifications the basic maths, English and IT skills needed to progress onto higher level courses.
English, Maths and IT
These are very important to employers and universities and help develop the quality of your work. You can study separate qualifications in English, maths and IT. In tutorials and subject classes you will build up a portfolio of work and complete key skills assignments.
These courses are equivalent to GCSEs at grade D-G.
These courses are equivalent to GCSEs at grade A-C.
These one-year courses are suitable for you if you have already achieved some D grades at GCSE and want to improve your grades. You would normally take a full-time programme of four GCSE subjects. If most of your grades are at E, F or G, we’d usually advise you to apply for Entry or Foundation level courses.
National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs)
NVQs award you for your competence for a particular job. They are nationally recognised work-related qualifications which are available to anyone at any age or stage of their career. Flexible and accessible NVQs can be tailored to your particular role allowing you to gain recognition for your existing skills while giving you the opportunity to gain a broader range of expertise. How well you do the job is what counts, more than general academic ability.
NVQs are available at five levels:
- NVQ 1 is equivalent to three or four GCSEs at grades D-G
- NVQ 2 is equivalent to four or five GCSEs at grades A-C
- NVQ 3 is equivalent to two A Levels
- NVQ 4 is equivalent to a Certificate of Higher Education / BTECs
- NVQ 5 is equivalent to a Diploma of Higher Education or Foundation Degree
Apprenticeships: Learn while you earn!
Apprenticeships combine study with employment. As an employee, you’ll earn a wage and work alongside experienced staff to gain job-specific skills.
If you’re looking to become an Apprentice, click here to view the latest opportunities.
Off the job, usually on a day release basis, you will receive training to work towards nationally recognised qualifications.
Apprenticeships are increasingly recognised as the gold standard for work-based training. There are over 100,000 employers offering Apprenticeships in more than 160,000 locations – and more than 200 different types of Apprenticeships available offering over 1,200 job roles!
There are three levels you can study at:
- Intermediate Level Apprenticeships (level 2 qualification)
- Advanced Level Apprenticeships (level 3 qualification)
- Higher Apprenticeships (level 4 qualification)
All Apprenticeships will include: a competencies qualification, a technical knowledge qualification and either Key Skills, (e.g. working in teams, problem-solving, communication and using new technology), Functional Skills (e.g. Maths and English) or a GCSE with enhanced content qualification (e.g. Maths and English).
We offer Apprenticeships in the following areas: *Accounts
- Catering *Childcare
- Customer Service
- Motor Vehicle
If you’re an employer, call us to find out more about how Apprenticeships can add value to your company.
BTEC Level 1
These vocational courses are recognised by employers as an appropriate level to start work. You gain a broad understanding of your chosen subject. Assessment is continuous with an exam at the end.
BTEC Level 2
This is a six unit vocational course, which is equivalent to one A Level. You would need to study other courses as well to go on to Higher Education or university – or you could get a job in your chosen subject.
BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma
This is a six unit course, equivalent to one A Level.
BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma
This is an 18 unit course, equivalent to three A Levels.
A Levels are split into two parts: AS and A2 Level.
AS Level is the first year of the course where you’ll get an introduction to the key ideas and methods of the subject you’ve chosen. You’ll be encouraged to take four AS Level subjects and would then normally go on to take three of them at A2 Level. Or, you can mix and match AS Levels with a vocational course.
We are happy to accept students who are progressing to an A2 Level from another college.
Access to Higher Education
Equivalent to three A Levels, these one-year courses prepare you for a Higher Education course.
HNC / HND
HNCs (Higher National Certificates) and HNDs (Higher National Diplomas) are work-related (vocational) Higher Education qualifications. They are designed to give you the skills to put the knowledge you learn to effective use in a particular supervisory/managerial job.
Foundation Degrees are vocationally orientated qualifications which have a large employer input and give you access to a wide choice of career paths. They provide a good pathway onto a degree course.
We offer a number of qualifications which are well recognised by different professions. Call us for more details.