Further Education usually means courses taken at a College. Some students go to college after Y11. Colleges offer a whole range of different courses and study programmes from those that do not need any specific GCSE grades such as Entry Level courses through to apprenticeships, A Levels, Higher Education degrees, and professional or technical qualifications.
Most full time college courses are attended by 16–19 year olds, but you will find plenty of adults studying in a college on a range of short, part-time, professional or Higher Education courses.
Vocational courses are available in many different career fields, such as health care, computer technology, office management and skilled trades. These courses are offered by career colleges, vocational schools, trade schools, and community colleges. Vocational classes provide job-focused training for specific roles or careers. In many cases, vocational courses have the potential to lead to skills certificates or associate degrees.
Courses offered at FE Colleges
- GCSE or A levels The GCSE offer at each college will vary, there is often a large choice of different subjects and all will offer English and maths
- Vocational subjects are related to a broad employment area (such as business, IT, engineering or health & social care) and can lead to a large variety of different types of work, apprenticeships and university courses
- Practical Vocational Courses (often now called Tech Levels) that lead to specific jobs such as hairdressing, plumbing, or engineering.
- Apprenticeships where a student undertakes paid work predominantly or completely with an employer and is assessed either in that workplace, by a visiting assessor or by attending a college for a day or week at a time.
- Courses that prepare people for Higher Education, such as Access Courses or an Art Foundation Course/post A level Art course.
- Vocational Higher Education Level courses, such as Foundation Degrees, Higher National Diplomas (HNDs) and Certificates (HNCs).
- Foundation Courses to develop maths, English, study skills, confidence and employability. These courses can give students the chance to try out several different vocational areas.
- Learning for leisure these courses are usually part-time and often in the evenings. They may involve learning more about a hobby or interest e.g. ceramics, art.
- Courses aimed at overseas students such as English Language Courses or preparation courses for University
You should apply early as some courses can fill up quite quickly. You may apply for as many courses or colleges as you wish, however, be realistic about your expected GCSE grades as this will influence the level of the course you should be applying for. FE colleges regularly run open events and it is essential to visit the College to make sure you like the ‘feel’ of the place and know exactly what you will be studying. But you should also check their data and OFSTED report – are they good at enabling students to succeed at their courses or do they have a high number that are unhappy and drop out? Below we have the contact details of Further Education colleges that we work quite closely with and our students have used in the past to study a range of general vocational qualifications. Perhaps your research could start here.