Students getting their exam resultsBTEC and other Awards, Certificates, Extended Certificates, Foundation Diplomas and Extended Diplomas

Work-related Qualifications

Vocational and work-related qualifications may be studied full or part-time in schools and colleges from the age of 14. They are offered at levels 1 to 4 and are usually ‘BTECs’, 'Cambridge Technical' or ‘City and Guilds’ qualifications.

Assessment is mainly by course work but changes mean that some courses now include exams or practical assessments.

Subjects offered are related to broad areas of work, such as engineering, art and design, construction, health and social care, business, IT and leisure:

  • Level 3 qualifications are sometimes known as Applied General qualifications.
  • Also available are more job-specific qualifications called Tech Level qualifications. Examples include floristry, pathology support and accounting.
  • Tech Levels count towards a new Technical Baccalaureate.
  • To achieve the TechBacc you need to take a Tech Level qualification, alongside a level 3 maths qualification and the Extended Project qualification.

These qualification are offered at different lengths and levels:
  • an Award is usually 12 credits or more
  • a Certificate is usually 13 to 36 credits but can be more
  • a Diploma is 37 or more credits, such as a Level 2 Diploma in Business.

Most level 1 and level 2 courses take one year to complete and level 3 courses take two years.

Qualifications include:
  • BTEC Awards, Certificates, Extended Certificates, Diplomas, Foundation Diplomas and Extended Diplomas at levels 1 to 3, they develop knowledge and skills in a broad work-related area. Subjects offered include business, IT, health and social care, music, engineering, childcare, hospitality, performing arts, applied science and sport. Depending on the content and grade achieved, study at BTEC level 3 is equivalent to between one and three A levels.
  • OCR Cambridge Nationals at levels 1 and 2 are offered in business, health and social care, ICT, media and communication, science, sport science and sport studies
  • OCR Cambridge Technicals at level 2 and 3 are aimed at post-16 learners. Subjects offered include art and design, business, health and social care, IT, media, performing arts and sport
  • CACHE Awards, Certificates and Diplomas at entry level to level 4 are offered in nursery nursing, play work and childcare.

Look on GOV.UK for what different qualification levels mean


Page updated July 2020

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