I want to know more about vocational qualifications
What are vocational qualifications?
Vocational qualifications offer practical learning programmes that relate directly to specific job roles or sectors. Taking a vocational qualification means that you study and gain skills in a particular job area. These qualifications follow a course structure and have an emphasis on developing practical skills and knowledge, but they tend to be classroom-based with assessment by written and practical examinations.
There are different types of vocational qualifications and they are available in a wide range of subjects at all levels, even to Level 8 - which is doctorate level! They’re designed to allow you to learn in a way that suits you, and can help you get the skills you need to start a job, progress in a career and/or go onto higher levels of education.
When can I take a vocational qualification?
Many schools offer vocational qualifications as part of GCSE stage options. You might study these in your school or at a local college or at another school. At post-16 many vocational qualifications are offered at local colleges, sixth forms, and other learning providers.
In school you might take a vocational qualification by itself or in combination with GCSEs or A Levels.
How do vocational qualifications compare?
Vocational qualification levels can be compared to other qualifications. Entry level qualifications build confidence and help people prepare for further learning and work. Level 2 qualifications are the equivalent of grades A* to C at GCSE and level 3 qualifications are equivalent to A levels. Level 4 and 5 are equivalent to a Foundation Degree and Level 6 equivalent to an honours degree. See vocational qualifications in a diagram alongside other qualifications.
Where can a vocational qualification lead?
Vocational qualifications have been designed in partnership with employers: this means you learn skills employers are looking for and the knowledge needed to progress to a higher level, such as a degree. Often employers encourage their employees to gain vocational qualifications alongside work.
A vocational route could be for you if...
- You can identify a job sector that interests you
- You would prefer to stay on at school to study, take a course while working, or study at a college or with a training provider.
- You are interested in training for a specific job, through an apprenticeship or NVQ, or would prefer a more broad sector qualification, such as a diploma or BTEC.
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