Qualifications Explained

Entry Level Certificates 

These qualifications are available to those who may not have the GCSE grades to go straight on to a Level 1 mainstream course, acting as a step-up qualification.  

UAL & BTEC Diplomas

These are one or two year full-time courses specialising in a specific vocational area at Levels 1 to 4. They are made to accommodate the needs of employers and allow for progression to university, providing practical real-life learning with a key theoretical background. BTECs Level 3 can be taken instead of A Levels as a route to university.

VRQ (Vocationally Related Qualifications)

These courses, much like BTECs, specialise in specific vocational areas from Level 1 to 3. They aim to prepare you for the world of work focusing on a practical hands-on approach to learning, with theory to support this. These qualifications aim to help you find employment or progress within your career.

City & Guilds 

These are job-based qualifications that are specifically designed to improve the work skills of employees and are suitable if the career you want requires a practical based training programme, or is ideal if you’re already in a job and need to further your skills.

Industry Placements

The industry placements scheme particularly, is designed to give students on Level 2 & 3 courses, approximately 50 days of relevant and substantive industry placements.

Access to Higher Education

These courses are for people over the age of 19 who are interested in taking on an undergraduate degree programme, who do not already have the required qualifications.


With an apprenticeship you will be employed with an organisation and will do your technical training at the College. This means that you will get paid and get the training you need at the same time.  An apprenticeship can take between one and four years to complete and covers over 1500 job roles in a wide range of industries. 

Foundation Degrees and HNC/Ds

Foundation Degrees and Higher National Certificates and Diplomas are undergraduate qualifications that are equivalent to years 1 and 2 of a university Bachelor’s Degree. These programmes offer a more vocational element to university degrees, often with links to the industry itself.

Professional Qualifications 

These provide practical and work-related skills and the opportunity to gain nationally recognised qualifications, including AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) and CACHE (Council for Awards in Care, Health and Education).

GCSE English and Maths 

It is a Government requirement that all 16-18 year old students who have not yet passed GCSE English and maths with at least Grade 4 or C, to continue to study English and maths from the age of 16. Students who come to us with a Grade 3 or D at GCSE will receive support throughout the year to be able to re-take their GCSE in the Summer term. Students with a Grade 2 or E or below will be enrolled on Functional Skills programmes in English and maths which act as a stepping stone towards taking the GCSE in future years.