Access to Higher Education
The Access Diploma is designed for adults and provides a recognised
Advanced Level entry qualification for university level programmes.
Most Access to Higher Education courses take one year to complete.
AS Level and A Level
AS Levels (Advanced Subsidiary) & A Levels (Advanced) are
recognised entry qualifications for university level programmes.
The AS Level is taken over one year and is the first half of an A Level.
A2 is the second half. You can choose up to four subjects in the
first year if you are following a two year programme. Many students
choose to concentrate on three of these in the second year.
You will also study the Welsh Baccalaureate alongside your
AS and A Levels.
As a full-time student, you could study Essential Skills qualifications
in Communication, Application of Number and Information &
Communication Technology. These qualifications carry UCAS
points at Level 3 and are valued by employers.
Foundation Degree: FdA/FdEng/FdSc
The Foundation Degree is a university level qualification that
combines studying with employment or work experience to provide
the skills and knowledge that employers need. You will usually only
attend college for one or two days a week. After the Foundation
Degree, you could top-up to an Honours Degree.
GCSEs (General Certificate of Secondary Education) are nationally
recognised qualifications usually taken in school. Employers and
universities often require Maths and English/Welsh (First Language)
at a Grade C or above.
An HNC (Higher National Certificate) is a work-related
university level qualification normally studied part-time for
two years or full-time for a year. On completion, you could
progress onto a HND or Foundation degree. A HND (Higher
National Diploma) is a university level qualification that takes
two years full-time or three years part-time to complete.
Successful completion may allow you to be accepted onto
the third year of a degree course.
Honours Degree: BA (Hons) / BSc (Hons)
An Honours degree is a university level qualification that
normally takes three years full-time or four/five years part-time
to complete. You could then go on to study at postgraduate level,
for example, a Masters, postgraduate teaching qualification or PhD.
International Baccalaureate Diploma
This prestigious Advanced Level qualification is recognised
by universities in over 140 countries, including top universities
in the UK. The broad-based curriculum provides excellent
preparation for university.
NVQs (National Vocational Qualification) are practical qualifications
that are directly related to an area of work. They are assessed under
working conditions and are awarded when you demonstrate that
your skills meet work standards. NVQs can be gained at College or
in the workplace and can be studied on their own or as part of an
Apprenticeship Scheme. You may need to start at Level 1, in order
to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to progress to higher
levels, regardless of your previous qualifications.
Professional qualifications, for example, the Institute of Legal
Executives Diploma in Law, give licence to practise in certain
professions or are undertaken for professional development and
updating. Professional qualifications are available from Level 2
to postgraduate level.
The Welsh Baccalaureate
The Welsh Baccalaureate combines traditional qualifications such
as BTECs or AS & A Levels with a Core Award. The Core Award
includes personal, business and transferable skills. You will also
develop your knowledge of contemporary Welsh life, Europe and
the World, as well as studying a language, participating in
community activities and gaining work-related experience.
VRQs (Vocationally Relevant Qualifications) are work-related
qualifications that prepare you for working in industry, and can
be achieved in College.
Vocational qualifications cover a wide range of vocational areas
and are often available at Entry, Foundation, Intermediate and
Advanced Levels. City & Guilds qualifications and BTECs (awarded
by Edexcel) are recognised by industry and can provide entry to
university courses or employment.
- Level 2 vocational qualifications are the equivalent of GCSE grades A* - C
- Level 3 vocational qualifications are the equivalent of A Levels.
1 GCSE = BTEC Level 2 Certificate
2 GCSEs = BTEC Level 2 Extended Certificate
4 GCSEs = BTEC Level 2 Diploma
1 AS Level = BTEC Level 3 Certificate
1 A Level = BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma
2 A Levels = BTEC Level 3 Diploma
3 A Levels = BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma