Vocational qualifications

Vocational quals. BTEC, OCR, City and Guilds, NCFE, etc.

BTECs, City & Guilds , OCR Cambridge and NCFE V Certs are vocational qualifications available in a wide range of subjects.  People choose these courses if they are interested in learning more about a particular sector or industry. The qualifications offer a mix of theory and practice and can also include an element of work experience.

They are usually studied full-time at college, or sometimes at school (or in collaboration between a school and college). You can also take them part-time.

These courses are usually taken by learners over 16, in some sixth forms and also in colleges, although some schools do offer them to 14 to 16 year olds, often in combination with other qualifications such as GCSEs.

Many of these qualifications can be studied at Level 3 instead of, or in combination with, A Levels. At Level 3, many of these qualifications are awarded UCAS Tariff points for entry to higher education. 

Many of these Level 3 vocational qualifications are categorised as Applied General Qualifications.


Methods vary depending on the sector and awarding body. A range of different assessment methods might be used such as assignments, tests, observations of learner performance, role-play, work-based assessment, production of visual or audio materials and products. Generally, assessment is less exam based.