Higher Education Qualifications Explained

The college offers HE qualifications at Levels 4, 5 and 6.
Access Courses are also available, which are studied at Level 3. These courses offer an ‘access’ point to higher education, leading on to a Foundation Degree, HNC/HND or BA Degree

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ACCESS COURSES
An Access to Higher Education course is a one year course designed for adults aged 19 and over who are returning to study or who have progressed to a higher level from Route-ways or other appropriate qualifications.

Learners will develop the ability to control their own learning and the skills and qualities required to study at a higher level. Access to Higher Education courses can be studied on a full or part time basis. They can take into account family and work commitments with a flexible timetable.

Students on an Access to Higher Education course will be supported in making an application to a Higher Education programme. This includes assistance with searching for the right course at college or university, accessing funding/grants from LEA or appropriate bodies and completing the application form.

BA (HONS)
A “Bachelors” or “Honours” Level covers degrees with titles such as Bachelor of Arts, BA (Hons), Bachelor of Science, BSc (Hons), Bachelor of Engineering, BEng (Hons), Bachelor of Laws, and LLB (Hons). These are standard higher education qualifications recognised across the UK and Europe.

Usually you will enrol on either a BA or a BA (Hons). The ‘Hons’ represents 360+ credits of study typically over three years full time and often contains a substantial project or dissertation during the final year of study. The standard BA is usually known as an ‘Ordinary’ BA and is equivalent to 300 credits usually omitting the project or dissertation in the final year.

You can ‘top up’ a HNC, HND or Foundation Degree to an Honours Degree through a period of additional study. This is usually the equivalent of one year full time for HNDs and Foundation Degrees or two years full time for a HNC.

FOUNDATION DEGREES
Foundation Degrees are relatively new qualifications designed to meet the skills needed in the 21st Century. Foundation Degrees forge links between universities, colleges and employers and bring more people into Higher Education from a wider mix of backgrounds. They fuse the academic and vocational routes to higher level qualifications.

This qualification is a Level 5 qualification, sitting below the Honours Degrees (at Level 6) and is at the same level as a HND. It is possible to ‘top up’ your Foundation Degree to an Honours Degree through a period of further study. You can also use them to progress to further professional qualifications.

Work based learning is core to the Foundation Degree. As a work based qualification, the Foundation Degree allows you to earn and learn. Its flexibility means that whether you have work and/or family commitments, it can fit around your personal circumstances. Foundation Degrees are developed in close collaboration with employers and are available through local universities and colleges and work based learning.

There are no nationally set entry requirements for Foundation Degrees. It is expected that learners come with existing Level 3 (A Level) qualifications but admission is assessed on an individual basis. Others may come with no formal qualifications, but relevant industry experience. The courses aim to attract those who have not previously considered HE and now wish to progress to Higher Education.

HNC & HND COURSES
Higher National Certificates and Higher National Diplomas provide the theoretical knowledge and practical skills you need for success in your current or future role.

HNCs usually take one year to complete and are a Level 4 qualification (equivalent to the first year of study on an Honours Degree). HNDs usually take two years to complete and as a Level 5 qualification equate to the first two years of Honours Degree study.

Higher National qualifications don’t just qualify you for work. Some HNCs allow direct entry into the second year of a degree programme, and many HNDs allow direct entry to the third year of an Honours Degree. Possessing an HNC or HND can also give you entry to a number of professional bodies. So, whether you want to go straight into a job, or continue your studies, getting a Higher National can be a great place to start.

NVQ
The central feature of NVQs is the National Occupational Standards (NOS) on which they are based. NOS are statements of performance standards which describe what competent people in a particular occupation are expected to be able to do. They cover all the main aspects of an occupation, including current best practice, the ability to adapt to future requirements and the knowledge and understanding which underpins competent performance.

NVQs are available to anyone at any age of stage of their career – and there are no entry qualifications. NVQs are flexible and accessible – within reasonable limits, you can decide the pace, place and way in which you learn. Most people working towards an NVQ are in work but they are available to others through a number of initiatives.

PGCE AND CERTIFICATE OF EDUCATION
The In-Service Professional Graduate Certificate and Certificate of Education for teachers and trainers who are already employed in the LSS (Learning & Skills Sector).

These are aimed at those teachers who want to teach adults in the Post-Compulsory Education and Training sector. Those with an established training function in business/commercial organisations are also eligible. Those teaching vocational courses to 14-19 year olds in schools may be eligible for entry. Voluntary teaching/training is acceptable for entry onto the course.

Applicants for the Professional Graduate Certificate in Education course must possess or expect to possess before the start of their programme, a UK first degree (not a Foundation Degree, not a Masters Degree) or equivalent qualification from a recognised institution. Applicants for the Certificate in Education must possess, or expect to possess before the start of their qualification, a National Vocational qualification at Level 3 or 4 (or an equivalent qualification), in the subject area forming their main teaching base.

These courses delivered at Calderdale College are University of Huddersfield qualifications.