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HE QUALIFICATIONS EXPLAINED

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With a wide range of higher education courses available at the University Centre for Northern Devon, deciding on the right qualifications for your chosen pathway might feel a little daunting. And if you've been out of education for a while, it can feel particularly overwhelming!

But don't worry - take a look at the information below about all the different qualifications available to you, or give us a call to talk through your options!

Access to Higher Education Diplomas are specifically designed for learners aged 19 or over, who wish to take a university-level course but don’t have the normal entrance requirements for higher education. These qualifications are recognised by universities and other higher education institutions as an alternative to the standard A Level/BTEC entry.

Our Access to HE Diplomas are available to study either full-time over one year (three days a week in our University Centre), and/or part-time over two years, offering you greater flexibility and the opportunity to balance your home and work life.

Year after year, our students secure places at the country’s leading universities on courses such as midwifery, nursing, psychology, paramedic science, sport and exercise science, optometry and many more.

If you don't have the grades you need to join our Access to HE course, don't worry! Our pre-Access to HE course, called 'Award in Skills for Employment, Training & Personal Development' will give you the academic and professional skills needed to prepare you for any Access to HE or HE programme.

Most of our foundation degrees are available to study full-time over two years, or part-time over three years, offering you greater flexibility and the opportunity to balance your home and work life.

Our foundation degree courses are designed with built-in progression routes to Honours Degrees at our own University Centre, the University of Plymouth and other HE institutions - enabling you to further develop your skills and knowledge.

Most of our honours degrees are available to study full-time over one year, or part-time over two years, offering you greater flexibility and the opportunity to balance your home and work life. Your assessment will include a dissertation or special project in the final year of study.
Successfully completing an honours degree will demonstrate to prospective employers a higher capacity for independent learning and research, along with enhanced problem-solving, critical thinking and communication skills.

If you hope to progress to further studies, the degree will prepare you for higher-degree study at master's and PhD level. Many of our graduates have gone on to postgraduate study, to qualify as teachers and social workers, develop their own businesses or progress in their roles as graduate employees.

Apprenticeships can last for between 18 months and three years. They combine work with study and may include a work-based, academic or combined qualification relevant to the industry. You will need to have suitable employment before embarking on an apprenticeship.

Our higher and degree apprenticeships are available at Levels 4-6. Levels 4 and 5 are equivalent to a HNC/Diploma or a foundation degree, and Level 6 is equivalent to a bachelor’s degree.

They focus on ‘learning by doing’ and teach you very specific skills relating to a particular job. These qualifications are very highly regarded by employers both in the UK and overseas and can also count towards membership of professional bodies and other employer organisations.

Most of our HNCs are available to study full-time over one year, or part-time over two years. offering you greater flexibility and the opportunity to balance your home and work life.

Because HNCs are specifically designed to give you the skills for a particular field of work, they can lead straight to a career. You can also use the qualifications to progress within your current career to gain professional status.

If you know exactly what industry or career you want to work in, completing an HND can offer a faster and more direct route into your chosen job by training you in the specific skills you need to excel in your career.

You can complete an HND direct from sixth form or from full-time employment.

Higher Technical Qualifications (HTQs) are a new government initiative, created in response to skills shortages in specific areas of the economy, and the need to attract people with Level 4 and Level 5 qualifications into these job roles.

The new qualifications have been developed in collaboration with employers and businesses and have been rigorously assessed by a panel of experts at the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education.

The first of these qualifications was rolled out in September 2022 for digital-related subjects. In 2023, courses in construction, and health and science were also released.

HTQs will provide students with the skills and qualifications needed to progress into their chosen career, or progress to further higher-level study including a full degree programme or degree apprenticeship.

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"You will learn so much, not only about the subject but about yourself as well."

Natahsa

BA (Hons) Business & Management