Qualifications and Levels Explained
Finding the right level of qualification is the first step to choosing a course. We offer courses in all levels from Entry Level to Degrees.
GCSEs are widely recognised for employment and progress to a range of higher level courses: A/AS Levels, NVQ and BTEC. Most GCSE subjects (certainly English Language and Mathematics) can be taken in combination with other courses.
There are a range of A Levels which can be studied, these subjects perfectly complement vocational study and are desirable for progression onto a range of university courses.
Apprenticeships can be studied at Level 2, Level 3, Level 4 and Level 5. For further information, view the Apprenticeships page.
BTEC courses are particularly suitable if you already have a good idea of your future career. They can be studied at Level 1, 2 and 3. They offer ideal progression opportunities to the next level in your chosen vocational field. They are an alternative to A Levels and give your opportunities to progress to Higher Education.
Diplomas in Foundation Studies
There are two foundation courses for art students making the transition from A Levels or school based GNVQs to degree level art courses. Available on a part or full-time basis in either a broad art and design context or specialising in lens-based work.
National Vocational Qualification (NVQ)
NVQs are based on skills that you actually use in a job. NVQs are divided into levels which reflect the level of skills required.
You can obtain qualifications by completing units ‘step-by-step’
NVQs are offered in a range of subjects at various levels:
- Level 1 is a basic or Foundation Level
- Level 2 is equivalent to GCSEs or First Diploma Level
- Level 3 is equivalent to A Levels or Extended Diploma Level
- Level 4 is equivalent to a Foundation Degree or Higher National Diploma.
Run in partnership with universities, Foundation Degrees are higher education qualifications designed to equip you with the skills needed for a particular area of work. They typically involve learning in the workplace as well as the classroom. As with other higher education courses students are able to apply for financial support from Student Finance.
After successful completion of a Foundation degree, students can apply to progress on to the final year of a Honours degree programme in a relevant subject.
Higher National Certificates (HNC) and Higher National Diplomas (HND)
HNCs (Higher National Certificates) and HNDs (Higher National Diplomas) are work-related (vocational) higher education qualifications. HNCs and HNDs are designed to give you the skills to put that knowledge to effective use in a particular job. They are highly valued by employers both in the UK and overseas, and can also count towards membership of professional bodies and other employer organisations. HNCs can take one year to complete full time and two years part time (or in other situations such as distance learning). HNDs take two years full time and can also be taken part time (duration dependent on programme).
HNCs and HNDs are at level 5 on the National Qualifications Framework. On the Regulated Qualifications Framework, HNCs are at level 4 and HNDs are at level 5.
Our Entry Level courses are designed for people with no qualifications and will help you to improve on your reading, writing and IT skills. You will work in small groups and enjoy lots of practical activity.
Our foundation level courses allow you to gain skills that will help you to get a job or qualification. These courses give you a good introduction to a general area of work, and combine practical hands-on activities, project work, key skills and work experience.
These courses are intermediate level and are an ideal route into a career or provide an opportunity to get qualifications that prepares you for study at a higher level. Most students who have achieved GCSE Grades 3 – 2 or C – E range in their final year at school choose a Vocational or work-related course at the College. Please refer to individual courses for entry criteria.
At Weymouth College students who have achieved a least five GCSEs at Grades 9 – 4 or A* – C are able to choose from the widest range of courses in the area. Study at this level is challenging with courses offering solid preparations for a careers or further and degree level study.
We encourage all students to aim higher and have a wide range of full and part-time university level courses. Qualifications on offer include Higher National Certificates, Higher National Diplomas and Foundation Degrees Courses. Courses are run in collaboration with partner universities.