Pre-Entry & Entry Level

Pre-Entry courses are designed for complete beginners and will move you onto the next level of study. You will gain appropriate qualifications in: Literacy (reading, writing and spelling), Communication Skills, Numeracy (basic mathematics), IT and general study skills. Find out more in the Skills for Life section of this site, using the Course Search.

Entry Level courses vary in their focus but are all designed to encourage independence and teach new skills. There are no specific entry requirements for these courses but you will be required to attend a College interview.

Level 1

These courses give you a practical introduction to a vocational area and prepare you to move onto Intermediate Level programmes. Entry tends to be through assessment and interview.

Level 2

The College offers various courses at Level 2, including GCSEs and BTEC First Diplomas. These programmes develop your skills and knowledge by building on what you have learnt at Level 1 or in your personal/work experience.

Level 3

Access to Higher Education Diplomas are nationally recognised qualifications that can provide you with an alternative route to higher education. If you do not hold any formal qualifications, success on an Access programme is the best route to an interview for a place on a degree course at university or college. We will provide guidance, an assessment in English and mathematics and an interview in your chosen subject. Access courses are also suitable for students who have English as a second language.

BTEC National Diploma/Certificate/Awards are vocational courses related to a broad occupational area, combining practical, hands-on activities with detailed technical study. It is sometimes possible to take part in related work experience. The national diploma is studied full-time over two years and consists of 18 modules, the national certificate is studied over two years and consists of 12 modules and the national award is studied over one year and consists of six modules.

Level 4

Higher National Certificates, Diplomas (HNC/HND) and Foundation Degrees are equivalent to the first one to two years of an honours degree but are also qualifications in their own right. They are as relevant to school leavers as they are to those already in employment.

Level 5/6/7

Postgraduate qualifications and higher education courses allow you to advance in your career, preparing you for professional-level employment. Entry requirements may include suitable work experience and a degree or HNC/HND. Professional qualifications will help you to further your career and specialise in your chosen area.

Professional qualifications are also offered at lower levels, depending on your experience and current attainment.


An apprenticeship is a programme of training in your chosen field which allows you to learn whilst working full-time for an employer; earning money and attending college. Whilst at college, you will learn the fundamentals of your career, these skills and knowledge are then developed and put into practice in the workplace.


NVQs are nationally recognised qualifications designed to combine practical teaching with work experience. NVQs are open to all who can demonstrate the required standard of competence and display an understanding of the knowledge which underpins your area of study, irrespective of previous academic or career achievements. Some NVQ courses, however, will require you to be employed in the profession before you start the course.

Download pdfQualifications Explained Summary