Qualifications Explained

The courses at Southport College are designed to get you where you want to be. They are available at different levels so you study at a level to suit your ability. Our courses are vocational so you put the theory you learn into practice as you go along. This means that when you finish the course you have learned skills that businesses want, as well as studied the theory.

Entry Level Qualifications

Our entry level courses are designed to help students progress by developing their employability and independent learning skills alongside boosting confidence.

This is a one-year course designed to help students to prepare for their next step on the career ladder. Students learn employability and independent learning skills and during the course try out tasters in a number of different subjects around College to help them to choose what they would like to progress to next.

Our Connect course is for learners who are working towards Entry Level 2. The course is tailored to a student’s individual needs and focuses on the transition to College from school as well as preparation for their next step. It consists of two 1-year courses dependent on the ability/achievements of students. The course is designed to give students the confidence and skills to progress on to one of our vocational courses, work experience through a supported internship or move towards independent living.

Level 1 to Level 3

Depending on your previous qualifications or GCSE results you might be joining Southport College at Level 1, Level 2 or Level 3. For some subjects such as Bricklaying, Hospitality, Professional Cookery and Motor Vehicle most students, unless they have had previous experience will start at Level 1.

Our Level 1 pathway allows you to study in your chosen vocational area whilst further developing your English, maths and employability skills. There are eight Level 1 Ambition pathways, the courses take one year to complete and are an introduction to the subject you have chosen to study. When you have finished the course you may be ready for Level 2, full-time work or an Apprenticeship.

This 16 week course is for students who have been out of education and combines enrichment activities and employability skills as well as providing academic support and improving students’ confidence and life skills. The course is designed to give students the skills and abilities to progress on to one of our vocational courses.

These courses take one year to complete and are an introduction to the subject you have chosen to study. When you have finished the course you will be ready for Level 2, full-time work or an Apprenticeship. Entry requirements for this level vary from course to course; please see the individual course listings.

One-year courses that cover more of the subject than a Level 1 course. You will study your chosen subject in detail as well as put the theory into practice. After you have completed the course you will have the option of progressing to Level 3, looking for full-time work or perhaps starting an Apprenticeship. Entry requirements for this level vary from course to course; please see the individual course listings.

Pre-Access courses are for adult learners who want to progress into Further or Higher Education courses but do not have the necessary qualifications required to go straight into a Level 3 course. The PreAccess courses are designed to develop students’ knowledge and understanding of the chosen subject but also aim to assist in developing the skills necessary for successful completion of Access courses.

Level 3 technical vocational qualifications take one or two years to complete depending on your chosen subject. Once you have completed your course you can progress into employment or onto an Advanced or Higher Apprenticeship. Some Level 3 courses may also give you enough UCAS points to progress to Higher Education. To study a skills-based course at Level 3 you will need a Level 2 qualification in a vocationally related area.

The highest level of course you can study with us straight after your GCSEs; these are the vocational equivalent of A Levels. They take two years to complete and give you the UCAS points to apply to university; they can be worth the equivalent of three Agrades at A-Level. They also give you the experience that businesses want so you can apply for a job or an Apprenticeship. To study for an Extended Diploma you will need a minimum of 5 GSCEs at grade 9-4 (A-C) including Maths and/or English at grade 4 or equivalent.

Access courses are designed for adult learners who wish to undertake a university level course but did not gain the qualifications needed for entry whilst at school. Each Access programme includes units in several subjects and when put together, all prepare students for the study of a particular subject at degree level. Access courses are designed to help you get back into education and the course tutors will provide all of the guidance and support required to achieve these goals.

Higher Education Levels

Following on from Level 3, you can progress onto a range of Higher Education courses. Southport College University Centre is proud to offer a fantastic range of Level 4 and 5 courses as well as a Level 7 PGCE.

Higher National Certificates are work related, vocational Higher Education qualifications. HNCs are equivalent to year one of an undergraduate degree but are designed to give you the skills required to put learnt knowledge into effective use in a particular job. HNCs usually take two years to complete if studied on a part time basis, or one year if studied on a full time basis. The qualifications are highly valued by employers in both the UK and overseas and may also count towards membership of professional bodies.

The Level 4 Foundation Diploma in Art & Design offers you the opportunity to explore and develop your artistic practice in preparation for a university degree.

Higher National Diplomas, like HNCs are work related, vocational Higher Education qualifications. Equivalent to a Foundation Degree, HNDs are designed to give students the skills needed for success in a particular field. Students can study a HND on a full-time basis for two years. Highly valued by employers, HNDs can provide exemption from certain degree modules.

Foundation Degrees are designed to equip you for a particular area of work, as well as providing general skills that are useful in any type of employment. Like other degrees, Foundation Degrees provide a university level qualification but are often designed with a particular area of work in mind; this contribution often comes from employers within the relevant sector. Typically, you’ll get the chance to learn in the workplace as well as the classroom by way of a compulsory placement. Foundation Degrees offer a route into Higher Education for people of all ages and backgrounds.

Honours Degrees combine some practical sessions alongside theory based learning. Most Honours Degrees require the completion of a dissertation or other large project in the final year. Students who have completed a HND or Foundation Degree may be eligible to ‘top up’ to an Honours Degree.

Southport College University Centre offers a range of teacher training courses for those looking to teach students age 16 and above. The full Certificate of Education, or for those already holding an honours degree or equivalent, a PGCE, have units up to Level 7.

What to expect as a student at College

Student Life

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