School Leavers

Why choose Gateshead College?

If you’re ready to leave school, stand on your own two feet, make your own choices and be the best you can be, you’re ready for Gateshead College.

We’re officially the No.1 college in the North East with success rates better than any other college in the region.

A qualification alone is no longer enough when competition for jobs and university places is high. With us, you’ll get a unique combination of a top quality education and the real world skills employers look for; we call this employment edge. You’ll leave us job ready with a CV packed with experiences and skills for life and work, as well as a qualification and the confidence to shine.

We’ll use our insider knowledge, our best in class employer partnerships, our creative minds, our commercial know how, our enterprising approach and our fantastic facilities to ensure your time with us is an experience as well as an education.

We promise a learning experience that’s just for you, designed around your strengths and ambitions and helps you to tackle the things you’re not so good at.

There's three ways you can study with us

A Levels

A Levels tend to be more academic and a traditional way of learning. With us, you’ll also gain work experience.

Find out more.

Vocational Study

Vocational Study Programmes cover lots of different industry sectors and provide practical skills needed for work or further study.

Find out more.


Apprenticeships are a mix of working and practical training, usually spending four days in work and one day in college per week.

Find out more.

Not sure what type of qualification is for you?

What is it?

As part of Gateshead College Sixth Form, you can study three or four A Level subjects. You can also combine an A Level subject with a vocational study programme, such as business.

In detail

A Levels tend to be more academic and a traditional way of learning. With us, you’ll also gain work experience. Students will have tutorials in each subject they choose and an exam at the end of each year.

Is it for me?

If you like writing essays, sitting exams  and a traditional style of learning similar to school.

What level of qualification will I achieve?

A Levels are level 3.

What does this course lead to?


Most of our A Level students will progress to university, some to Russell Group universities; some of the best in the country.

What is it?

We offer a range of subjects across 15 different industry sectors. You pick just one vocational subject. Fast-track to an apprenticeship option is available.*

In detail

More practical and hands on, vocational training will equip you with skills in a specific industry or trade. Progress is assessed through projects, practical work and exams and contact with employers is frequent.

Types of vocational courses include diploma, NVQ, BTEC, City & Guilds, certificate and extended diploma.

Is it for me?

If you enjoy practical, hands on learning and focusing on one subject area.

What level of qualification will I achieve?

There are four levels; entry, level 1, level 2 and level 3. Level 3 is equivalent to studying A Levels.

What does this course lead to?

University, an apprenticeship or work.

84% of our vocational students go onto secure a place at university, with others stepping straight into work, some as a result of the work experience placement completed whilst at college or going onto an apprenticeship.

*Fast-track to an apprenticeship

As you progress through your vocational study programme, we'll monitor the skills, knowledge and experience you develop. If you're doing well, you may be able to finish your course early and 'fast-track' onto an apprenticeship. Meaning you get the best of both worlds; you get to complete your vocational qualification and get paid on an apprenticeship.

What is it?

Apprenticeships are a mix of working and practical training.

In detail

Apprentices usually spend four days in work and one day at college. You will be paid a weekly wage and complete a collection of qualifications including a vocational qualification and a technical certificate relevant to the industry, as well as English, maths and ICT.

Is it for me?

If you're ready to get out into the world of work and earn a wage.

What level of qualification will I achieve?

There are three levels; level 2 or intermediate, level 3 or advanced and level 4+ or higher apprenticeships. Level 3 is equivalent to studying A levels and level 4+ can be foundation or honours degree level.

What does this course lead to?

You can progress through the apprenticeship levels if supported by your employer. Many level 4+ apprentices are qualified to step into management positions.

I was inspired and that was the greatest thing I learnt from studying at Gateshead College.
Jed Choudhury Level 3 Extended Diploma in Graphic Design

Frequently asked questions

Colleges often have better links with employers, offer more independence and are more closely connected to the world of work. At Gateshead College, we have a network of over 450 employers who offer work experience, set commercial projects, consult on our study programmes, mentor our students or come to college as guest speakers.

This means our students are plugged into the world of work from day one, making valuable contacts and learning about different industries and gaining skills and experience to boost their CV.

You’ll also be treated like an adult; you don’t have to wear a uniform, you’ll call your teachers by their first names and you may have more independence and a more flexible timetable rather than the 9am to 3pm school day.

Yes. Around 84% of our students from both our A level and vocational study programmes progress to university.

No. We expect all our students to work hard, but we’ll help you every step of the way. You’ll have regular one to ones with your teachers to set targets, track your progress and talk about extra support if you’re struggling.

And we’ll work hard for you too. We’ll do everything we can to inspire you, motivate you and help you to succeed.

We offer courses from Level 1 to Level 3. Each level of programme has different entry requirements, which are the different GCSE grades you need to get on the course. You’ll find these on each course information page.

Don’t worry if you don’t get great GCSE grades, we have Level 1 courses that don’t tend to have entry requirements. You can then work your way through the levels.

It’s important to pick something that you enjoy and that you’re good at.

Come along to an enrolment event or taster session – you can meet our teachers, have a look around and speak to some of our students.

You can sign up to any of our courses online by completing the short application form on our course pages. 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.

You can also have a one-to-one appointment with out career advisers who will help you to make a decision that's right for you.

Click here for enrolment event dates and details.