Guide to Qualifications
There are many different qualifications available today and you may need some assistance in choosing the right course. Decision-making is not always straightforward. It will depend upon your style of learning: whether you would rather have an academic classroom environment or a more practical approach and, of course, where you’re heading in the future is also important. The information below is designed to help you find the course that suits you best.
In addition to traditional, academic courses you will see that The College has a wide range of vocational qualifications offered at different levels. These courses and qualifications are designed to build on the skills, interests and aptitudes you have to help you progress to a job, an Apprenticeship or to Higher Education / University.
Some vocational courses include periods of work experience which allow you to put in to practice what you have learned at The College. Many vocational courses are taught in specialist accommodation at The College, giving you access to a 'real life' environment where you will work to commercial and professional standards.
These qualifications are the traditional route to University but they are also of value if you hope to progress to employment at the end of the course. An AS level is made up of three units and takes one year to complete. The A level (sometimes called ‘A2’) takes a further year of study during which students take three more units. Most AS/A levels are assessed through formal examinations.
The College does not offer GCSE re-sits. We will be happy to help you find an alternative course. Call 01202 205327.
The Diploma is a new qualification designed to give you valuable skills for the future. The qualification is for 14 – 19 year olds and offers a mix of practical hands on learning which will be related to a broad employment sector, and classroom based learning. (NB: Currently, the only Diploma offered is in Society, Health and Development.) As well as focusing on your chosen subject, the Diploma will help you prepare for further study, university or employment by developing important skills such as team working, self motivation and creative thinking. Learners can start Diplomas at 14 while still at school, or aged 16 at The College.
There are 2 different levels of Diploma (Foundation and Higher) and each provides challenging and exciting options for learners including the most able and high achievers. Your school or College advisor will help you to choose which is the right level for you.
Vocationally Related Qualification (VRQ)
These qualifications are designed to allow learners to learn, develop and practice the skills required for employment or career progression in a particular industry. Assessment is through a combination of assignments requiring personal research, short answer tests and practical assessments.
National Vocational Qualification (NVQ)
These qualifications reflect the skills needed to be competent in the workplace. They give learners practical, hands on experience.
To undertake an NVQ you must spend part of your time in a work-related environment, either in a paid or voluntary capacity. NVQs are assessed through the completion of logbooks and being observed/monitored by your tutors in a vocational / work-based environment.
Introductory Diploma (Level 1 Diploma)
These are vocational, one year, introductory courses for students who join The College with few formal qualifications or who have achieved GCSEs with grades E to G. They give an introduction to a range of subjects as well as giving an opportunity to improve basic skills such as English, Maths and IT.
Level 2 Award / Certificate / Diploma
These are vocational courses at Level 2 which combine academic learning with practical elements. They provide a broad base of skills and knowledge for particular career areas. To enrol on this course you will need to have a minimum of 3 GCSEs with grades A* to D or successful completion of a Level 1 course. The First Diploma takes one year to complete, and successful completion can lead to progression on to the Level 3 Award / Certificate / Diploma.
Level 3 Diploma
These are vocational courses at Level 3 which combine academic learning with practical elements. They provide a higher level of skills and knowledge for particular career areas. To enrol on this course you will need to have a minimum of 4 GCSEs with grades A* to D or successful completion of a Level 2 course.
The Level 3 qualification is made up of 2 sections, the Subsidiary Diploma and the Extended Diploma. The Subsidiary Diploma can be completed after two terms of study, whilst the Extended Diploma carries on from the Subsidiary Diploma for a further 4 terms, taking 2 years in total to complete. Successful completion of the Extended Diploma will provide you with a qualification equivalent to 2 or 3 A levels which can lead to University or to employment.
The College offers a range of higher education qualifications in partnership with local universities including Bournemouth, Southampton and Southampton Solent. With the cost of moving away from home for a degree becoming an increasingly large factor in choosing where to study, an opportunity to gain a degree or other higher qualification locally could be the perfect solution. More information is available in the Higher Education section.
You can also download a guide to qualifications.