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Level 3 Vocational courses

These are vocational qualifications which prepare students for direct entry to employment or for progression to higher education.

Level 3 Vocational courses

In all Level 3 Vocational courses you will complete a number of units. Most units are assessed and graded through assignments based on work related situations or activities with opportunities for teamwork and independent study. You will develop a range of skills that are much sought after by employers and higher education such as skills in study, research, team building, IT and organisation. You will submit your work for each unit throughout the course. Some vocational subjects also offer work experience which is not only a great experience for students but is also valued by employers and higher education establishments.

Entry criteria

Five GCSEs grade C/4 or above including English Language or Maths. If you achieve English at a grade C/4, your Maths grade must be a D/3 or vice versa. Students will be accepted with Level 2 BTEC Diploma (or equivalent) at Merit level and English Language or Maths at grade C/4.

Level 3 Vocational courses are recognised qualifications for higher education and direct entry into employment. Courses are mainly assessed through assignments and coursework.

- Level 3 Extended Diplomas are equivalent to three A-Levels.
- Level 3 Subsidiary Diplomas are equivalent to one A-Level.
- Level 3 Certificates are equivalent to one AS-Level.

You can combine these courses with GCSEs as required.

The Subsidiary and Certificate courses can be combined with A-Levels for a suitably qualified student.

There are two types of Level 3 qualifications. Each type depends on the number of units to be completed.

The first year of the Extended Diploma is the 90-credit Certificate which must be passed before progressing onto the second year.

Subsidiary Level 3

Entry criteria

If you are sure that you enjoy a subject but are not sure that it is central to your career aim, then a Subsidiary Diploma could be the right direction for you.

Subsidiary Diplomas are a two year, 100% continuous assessment vocational qualification, but unlike the Extended Diploma, they are only taught for 4.5 hours a week. This means that the Subsidiary Diploma can be taken alongside a range of other courses.

Students can opt to take a Subsidiary Diploma alongside other courses. For example, a student could study:
  • One A-level and two Subsidiary Diplomas
  • Two A-levels and one Subsidiary Diploma
A Subsidiary Diploma is equivalent to one A-Level.


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