Vocational Study Programmes

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Vocational Study Programmes cover lots of different industry sectors and provide practical skills needed for work or further study. Students choose one subject area and study over one or two years.

A Vocational Study Programme is made up of:

This could be in anything from engineering to early years and will take up the majority of your timetable. 

Students cover a mix of practical hands-on work and theory in fun, interactive sessions. Programme content is shaped around the technical skills employers look for.

English and maths skills are important to employers, which is why we integrate these skills into all our programmes. 

Studying these skills at college is different to school; we show how they’re relevant to work and teach them in a practical way. Students also have the chance to improve their GCSE grades and resit exams.

With a network of over 450 employers, we offer an inspirational work experience placement that helps build the valuable skills employers want and provide practical examples for university applications. 

Many of our students have secured full time jobs with their work experience employer.

The jobs market is varied and unpredictable, so we equip our students with the kind of characteristics you find in an entrepreneur: 

  • creativity,
  • business acumen,
  • commercial awareness,
  • resilience.

College vs school

I was going to stay at sixth form but I wanted something more hands on.
Chris Wilson
Vocational study programmes at Gateshead College

Frequently asked questions

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 intermediate 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.