Here’s a quick guide to the main nationally-accredited qualifications that City of Westminster College offers. All of them lead on to other potential learning opportunities, as well as demonstrating to employers that you have key skills and knowledge. Qualifications can be identified within three main categories:
A-levels and GCSEs are academic qualifications that provide a good grounding for university or other higher level study. They focus on subjects you’ll know from school such as English, maths and science, as well as some subjects that might be new, such as film studies, sociology, psychology and photography. Access to Higher Education Diploma is a one-year intensive course designed for adults (aged 19+), who have missed out on previous opportunities to take academic qualification. Courses are in specific areas, such as Nursing or Business, and successful completion enables you to move on to university-level study in that subject area. Foundation and Bachelor Degrees are academic qualifications at Higher Education level and we offer a small but growing selection of degree courses at the College.
First Diplomas, National Qualifications, BTECs and National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) are practical courses with a strong career focus. Lots of the teaching is through project work and most courses include a work placement.Vocational courses also include professional programmes recognised by specific industries such as AAT (Accountancy).
Apprenticeships (earn, work and learn) are ideal if you want to combine a career with study. You can come to College part-time while you work, and get the best of both worlds. Here is a list of all qualifications:
ACCESS TO HE DIPLOMA
For people aged 19 and over, this is a one-year intensive study programme in a particular subject area. Successful completion enables you to apply for a relevant university degree course.
A-LEVEL (ADVANCED LEVEL)
A-levels are higher level general academic qualifications awarded for successfully completing an AS (Advanced Subsidiary – first year) and A2 level (second year) in the same subject. A-levels take two years of full-time study. Students are encouraged to take three or four subjects. AS level is also a qualification in its own right, and if the relevant grades are obtained at AS level, you can progress on to an A2 level course.
Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees are undergraduate courses that usually take three to five years to complete.
BTEC LEVEL 1 DIPLOMA
A one-year full-time course focusing on a particular skill or vocational area. Suitable as a first step towards gaining a vocational qualification and may enable you to move on to a BTEC Level 2 Diploma.
BTEC LEVEL 2 DIPLOMA
A one-year full-time course specialising in a particular vocational area. It provides the skills and qualifications for progressing onto BTEC Level 3 programmes or employment.
BTEC LEVEL 3 DIPLOMA
A two-year full-time course with a vocational focus recommended for those interested in a particular area of study. Successful completion gives you the option of moving on to university/further training (including the BTEC Higher – see below) or straight into employment.
BTEC HIGHER NATIONAL DIPLOMA/CERTIFICATE
A one-year full-time (or two-year part-time) course combing vocational and academic study, providing the skills to move on to further study or gain specific specialist work skills to further your career.
CITY & GUILDS
Job-based qualifications that are specifically designed to improve work skills. They are particularly suitable if you need job-related qualifications for a particular industry, or are already in employment and need to gain further skills.
A graduate level course equivalent to the first and second year of a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree course. Foundation degrees combine academic with vocational studies and are designed with a particular career in mind.
A work-related programme of study for those aged 14 and over and designed as an alternative to GCSEs and A-levels. This qualification is recognised by employers. Courses are related to a professional area, such as Construction or Business and they are broken down into small units that give credits towards the full qualification.
GCSE (GENERAL CERTIFICATE OF EDUCATION)
Provides a route into AS/A2 levels or OCR//BTEC Level 3 Diploma. If you are aged 16- 18 years you can study GCSEs on a full-time basis only and you will be expected to take five subjects. We also offer some subjects as ‘fast-track’ (intensive) and part-time courses.
NVQ (NATIONAL VOCATIONAL QUALIFICATIONS)
Vocational awards achieved through assessment and training. These are ‘competencebased’ qualifications where people learn practical, work-related tasks to help develop the skills and knowledge to increase their effectiveness and potential.