Vocational study programmes, such as BTEC and NVQs are practical and hands on. Choosing this type of course will enquip you with skills in a specific sector or trade. Your progress in assessed through projects and practical work and contact with employers is frequent to ensure you build your skills and knowledge ready for the real world.

If you’re practical, hands-on, don’t like exams and want to focus on one subject area, then a vocational route could be right for you. Successful completion of a vocational study programme can lead to higher level study programmes, university, an apprenticeship or straight into work.

CASE STUDY:Sheridanweb

Name: Sheridan Mordew

Studied: Level 3 Business (BTEC)

Now: A personal fitness trainer and owner of her own business – www.shape-up-with-sher.com

“I was originally inspired by my parents, who both have run their own businesses. I enrolled on the course at Gateshead College to learn more about business and how to run one independently and successfully. I always wanted to be my own boss so I could push myself, make my own decisions and be in charge of my own workload and earnings.

“My college course taught me a lot about different aspects of business, including how to manage finances, how to market your product or service and when to expect busy and quieter times for different industries.”

Check out our vocational courses here.

Vocational courses FAQ

Covering lots of different industry sectors including engineering, construction and sport to hair and beauty, art and design and healthcare, vocational study programmes provide practical skills needed for work or further study and focus on one subject area.

Programmes start at Level 1 and progress to Level 3 (the same level as A levels). Students can start at Level 1 or go straight in at Levels 2 or 3, depending on GCSE grades.

  • Level 1 Introductory level – no qualifications tend to be needed for these courses.
  • Level 2 Intermediate level –GCSE grades D or above, including English and maths or a relevant Level 1 qualification.
  • Level 3 Advanced level –GCSE grades C or above, including English and maths or a relevant Level 2 qualification.

Vocational study programmes are designed for all abilities. Level 1 is introductory, Level 2 is interemediate and Level 3 is advanced, the same level of learning as A Levels.

  • There are less exams and more project and practical work.
  • There’s more time spent with employers and more work experience.
  • They focus on just one subject area.
  • They offer more practical, work based skills.

Some vocational study programmes include exams, but there tends to be less than A Levels. Progress and achievement are monitored through project work, written assignments and practical projects, sometimes set by external employers.

Our teachers are all experts in their field and regularly take part in industry training to keep their skills relevant and up to date. They are all passionate about teaching and love to share their knowledge, inspire and motivate. They monitor each student individually, setting personal targets, holding regular one to ones and keeping an online record that students contribute to.

Yes. Around 83% of our students from both our A Level and vocational study programmes progress to university.

Yes. Work experience is an important part of our vocational study programmes. With a network of more than 450 employers, we help find inspirational work experience placements that build new skills and help our students to understand the sort of job they’d like to do after college.

Yes, most programmes include a mix of practical, hands on learning which is then backed up by theory in the classroom. But the best thing about learning with us is that our students spend most of their time in some of the best vocational facilities in the country. We’ve invested more than £80m in our state-of-the-art campuses which include a hair and beauty salon, training kitchens, construction trade workshops, a sports academy, performance theatre and motor vehicle workshops.

  • Straight into a job.
  • Progress to an apprenticeship
  • On to university

Sign up to any of our courses online by completing the short application form. We’ll then invite you in to an enrolment event where you will have a chat with a teacher and complete a learning agreement form to secure your place.

For some courses you may need an audition or further interview, but we’ll let you know this at the enrolment event.

Or you can just drop into any of our enrolment events and go from there. Click here for dates and details.