Further Education
Qualifications Explained

We'll explain the wide range
of levels available to you
Calderdale College has a set of standard entry requirements; but never be deterred by the lack of formal qualifications or by not meeting the entry requirements. Tell us what you want to do and we can find the most appropriate course.

Which level is best for you?

Calderdale College has a set of standard entry requirements. Apply for the course you want to study and we will help you get there.

There are a lot of courses available – work focused, practical and academic so it is important to think about the future and whether you want to proceed to university, move onto another course or get a job.

If you’re still not sure, don’t worry, just speak to a member of our advice and guidance team who will advise you.


BTECs are vocational and occupationally relevant courses which help you gain knowledge  and specific skills in your chosen area. They are well recognised by employers and universities.

All courses are primarily taught through assignment work and are tested through assignments and time-limited assessments. BTEC Awards and Certificates are accreditations for completing some units but not the full Diploma.

T Levels

From September 2021 Calderdale College will be providing T Levels for 16-18s. A T Level is a new qualification that gives students both classroom learning and on the job experience. Think of this as a mixture of an Apprenticeship and a BTEC. 

Students will spend 80% of their time in a classroom and 20% on a work placement. A T Level qualification is equivalent to 3 A Levels. This combined learning offer will place you in the best position for progression onto Higher Education and your future career. 

From September 2021 we will be offering T Levels in Digital and Health.


NVQs are job-specific, providing you with the knowledge needed to do a job effectively. They are available to anyone, at any age or stage of their career development. The central feature of NVQs is the National Occupational Standards (NOS) on which they are based. NOS are statements of performance standards, that describe what level of competency people work at, in a particular occupation.

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 that underpins competent performance.


Anyone aged 16+ can earn while they learn on an Apprenticeship. There are a wide range of opportunities to suit your ability and job preferences. By working to a structured plan and gaining work experience you will achieve an Apprenticeship framework that reflects your ability. Functional Skills are a requirement for an Apprenticeship framework.

If you have not achieved a GCSE Grade 4 or equivalent in English, Maths or a Technical Certificate, then you will work on these skills with help from your vocational tutor, so that you achieve at least a Level 2 in all areas.


VRQs are practical courses that are usually assessed by tests and coursework. They are available in work related subjects such as Hairdressing, and are more job specific than other qualifications.

Whilst studying a VRQ you will gain knowledge, understanding and skills for a broad area of work and range of jobs. 

English & Maths

Every 16-18 year old without a Grade 4 or above in GCSE English and Maths will have to study these subjects at College. This can include Functional Skills and ESOL qualifications or if appropriate, GCSE resists.

HE Progression

We offer a range of Adult Education and Higher Education courses including full-time and part-time BA(Hons) degrees, foundation degrees and Access to HE courses. You can study alongside full-time jobs, childcare and other responsibilities.

You can be part of a small community of around 300 students, with industry experienced tutors and resources from other universities. 

Special Entry Requirements

Some courses require special entry requirements, such as:

  • Disclosure and Barring Service

(DBS) certificate

  • References
  • The completion of a dexterity test
  • Attainment in a pre-course diagnostic assessment
  • Be successful at an audition or interview

The Admissions Team can help you identify whether you meet the entry requirements and the College can advise, prior to an Admissions Event, what evidence may be required. Should you be interviewed at an Admissions Event and not be successful in receiving an offer for the course you applied for, you will be directed onto an alternative level that will enable you to progress.

Did you know?

90% of students go on to employment or further study

OFSTED Good and Outstanding

We were rated Good for our Further Education offer and Outstanding for Apprenticeships!

Here’s what they said

“Teachers ensure that learners make good progress in developing their vocational skills and gain good levels of knowledge and understanding in practical subjects.”

Read more

“Learners gain confidence and improve the social interaction and communication skills that will support them well in their future lives.”

View our OFSTED report here.

Discover our Motor Vehicle courses at our NEW bespoke Automotive Centre.

Discover our Motor Vehicle courses at our NEW bespoke Automotive Centre.