Vocational Course Levels Explained

Vocational Courses and Levels Explained

Here at Kidderminster College, we not only specialise in vocational courses, but we can take you from Entry Level all the way through to University grade qualifications.

What is a Vocational Qualification?

Vocational courses combine practical learning alongside theory; so they’re perfect if you have a more hands-on approach to learning.

“A vocational course is a training programme which focuses more on practical work, rather than traditional academic exams. The ‘Vocational’ part of the name refers to the fact that this course prepares you for a vocation – a particular skillset required in different types of jobs.

So,  rather than choosing three subject areas as you would with A-Levels, vocational courses allow you to specialise in one area; this means that you will get devoted time, expertise and industry knowledge on that one subject that sparks your interest; giving you the ultimate edge when it comes to seeking employment. 

Vocational qualifications are assessed via coursework, an ever-growing portfolio and project work throughout your study time.

Vocational or Academic?

There is no wrong option! It’s all about what you want to do, what you’re passionate about and how you see your future. A lot of parents and learners assume that taking a traditionally ‘academic’ route is the path to career success, but it isn’t always! Actually, in fact, it quite often isn’t!

Vocational qualifications allow you to learn by doing, so you’ll be able to put what you learn straight into practice.

With vocational qualifications you learn from industry-renowned tutors, you’ll be taught in a work environment, you’ll become the expert in your field, and you’ll learn the ins and outs of your career sector before you’ve even got there.

What if I want to go to Uni?

Despite what you may have heard, vocational courses are a sure fire way to get into University! Think about it, instead of spending two years on three separate subjects, you spend two to three years concentrating on one specialism, which gives your skills a huge edge compared to someone who has done A-Levels. All of our Level 3 qualifications carry UCAS points! (KC run HND and Degree level courses, so if that’s the route you’d decide to take, we’ve got you!) 

Let's Talk Levels

Vocational qualifications run via Levels; what level you begin at depends on a) What grade you’re currently working at and b) Whether you’re going into a practical course like Carpentry or Motor Vehicle Maintenance for example. If you’re starting a course which requires specific skills, you’ll begin your journey with us at Level 1, where you’ll start learning the basics of your chosen trade and begin upskilling as your course progresses.

You can enter at any point based on what career you’re looking for and your prior qualifications.

Slide To Learn More:

Use the slider below to discover what each vocational level is equivalent to:

Entry Level
Level 1
Level 2
Level 3
Level 4 - 5
Level 6+
This does what it says on the tin. Doing one of our Entry or Progression Level courses opens the gateway to our technical vocational courses. Completing an Entry Level qualification is the same as getting 3 to 4 GCSE's at grades D-G
This is where your career starts! For our practical qualifications, this is the all important starter level where you'll learn the basics of your trade/profession. This level is all about helping you build confidence and getting you ready for further learning and work.
Generally, this is the level you should start on if you got four GCSEs at grade D or above, or equivalent qualifications at pass level. Some courses will require certain grades in maths and English. Equivalent to: four or five GCSEs at grades A* to C.
Generally, this is the level you can study on if you have passed four/five plus GCSEs at grade C or above, or equivalent qualifications at pass level. Like A-Levels, vocational courses are a route on to higher education; most university-level courses accept a Level 3 qualification as entry. In short, Level 3 carries UCAS points as well as showing you are work ready! And our Level 3 Trade courses carry a licence to practice as well, so you can go straight into work!
KC run some incredible HE courses; with lower tuition fees, smaller class sizes and the ability to stay local, our Higher Education provision is not to be missed! These vocational qualifications are equivalent to a Foundation Degree.
And finally, here is Level 6+! If you continue on with us to Level 6+ you'll leave with a universally recognised honours degree in your subject area! We are one of the few college's in the country that are able to offer this provision!

KC Career Coach

If you’re a little undecided on what course or career you’d like to do, take a look at our Career Coach; it can pinpoint the perfect role for you, what sort of jobs are available locally, salary information and progression!

Take a look at our courses

Looking for some inspiration? Have a look through our Full Time Courses. Whether it’s Hair and Beauty, Construction or something in the Creative Industries, KC have the course for you and your future!

Our Students

Our past students have gone on to some incredible careers and places! From opening their own salon to running their own businesses, find out what happens when you leave KC here