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Your choices at 16

Vocational qualifications

Vocational qualifications at 16

Vocational courses are designed to help you learn in a practical way about a specific job area or job. They can help you get the skills you need to start a job, progress in a career or go on to higher education.

After Year 11 you can choose the following pathways:

  • Academic: A levels, with options to take vocational qualifications like BTECs alongside or as alternatives to A levels.
  • Vocational: T Levels, which are technical qualifications at Level 3, offering training for most occupations, or another vocational course  which is not a T Level or Level 1 or 2 vocational courses. 
  • Apprenticeships: Which are qualifications gained through training in a workplace

There are vocational qualifications in a wide range of subjects at all levels, from Entry Level right up to Level 8 - you can look at the Careerpilot Qualification Planner to see all qualifications and levels.

Many school sixth forms offer a range of vocational courses like BTecs and Cambridge Technical qualifications, check what they can offer.

Further Education Colleges offer a large range of vocational courses at all levels, including  a growing amount of T Levels, which are Level 3 qualifications that will train you to do a job role.

By applying learning to real-life situations, these qualifications offer a more practical approach than traditional A-Level academic courses.

Different types of vocational qualifications

  • Vocational subjects - related to a broad employment area and  often known by the awarding body name - BTECs, OCR, Cambridge Technicals, etc. There will be less of these in the future as more T Levels become available.
  • Vocational courses - that lead to specific jobs such as hairdressing, accounting, professional cookery, plumbing, etc. There are course at Level 1, 2 and 3. At Level 3 these courses will mostly be Technical Level Qualifications [T Levels], which are equivalent to 3 A Levels. T Levels are offered mostly at colleges.
  • Apprenticeships - apprenticeships offer training for a job while working for an employer, alongside study for an associated qualification. You get paid as you learn.

Get the low down on vocational qualifications by visiting some of the information pages listed below: 

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