Course Types Explained

Apprenticeships at Derby College

Apprenticeships are designed to give young people valuable qualifications, vital work experience – and a salary while studying.

Apprenticeships at Derby College provide young people aged 16-24 with a work-based route to a skilled occupation, supported by on-the-job training.

The range of apprenticeship options on offer from Derby College is constantly expanding.

Find out more about Apprenticeships »

Part Time Adult Courses

Adult learners come to Derby College for many reasons.

You may be looking for a promotion at work; have your sights set on progressing to Higher Education; be at a stage in life when you can return to the workplace; be ready for a change in career; planning to start your own business or want a new hobby or leisure interest.

part time adult courses at derby college

Whatever your reasons, Derby College can help you reach even higher as you achieve new goals and discover exciting opportunities.

Find out more about part time adult courses at Derby College »

School Leaver Vocational and Academic Courses at Derby College

At Derby College, you will build the valuable skills, experience and qualities you need to be successful in work and life.

school leaver courses at derby college

As one of the country’s leading and largest colleges – supporting around 30,000 learners each year – our focus is on shaping happy, well educated, workready and socially mobile young people. We are committed to ensuring you reach a positive destination at the end of your learning journey.

Find out more about full time school leaver courses at Derby College »

International Courses

The International Office at Derby College is responsible for the Colleges Home Office Tier 4 licence. Derby College is considered a Highly Trusted Sponsor.

international students at derby college

The International Office at Derby College has over 10 years of experience of working with international learners from all over the globe. No matter what your culture, gender or background you will be warmly welcomed to one of the most multicultural and safest cities in the world.

Find out more about International Courses »

Higher Education Courses at Derby College

Our aim is to deliver first class, innovative and responsive higher education provision which meets the needs of individuals, employers and society.

Higher education at derby college

At a time when demand for highly educated and skilled professionals is growing across our city, county and region, our courses offer new progression routes for ambitious individuals.

Find out more about Higher Education Courses »

Learning for Leisure

Are you looking for a new learning experience which is inspirational, informative and engaging?

learning for leisure derby college

Derby College has developed a programme of learning for leisure experiences designed for adults and young people within our community. We have a wide range of professional learning providers who are enthusiastic about learning and sharing their knowledge. Whether you want to pursue a new hobby or build on your existing skills, we can provide this opportunity in a relaxed and social environment and offer you a flexible, enjoyable learning experience.

Learning for Leisure - Find out More »

Still at School?

Did you know you can study at Derby College even if you're still at school?

still at school

We work with several local schools to offer a number of Key Stage 4 vocational courses for young people in Years 10 and 11.

Vocational courses aim to provide you with opportunities to develop and practice new skills and knowledge. These skills can then be used in a range of practical work settings.

Still at School - Find out More »

Qualifications Explained

Study Levels

Most courses are split into 'levels' (eg Level 2, Level 3). These levels range from Entry Level up to Level 8.

The level best for you will depend on any existing qualifications and experience. In most cases, you will need to have a Level 2 qualification in a relevant subject to join a Level 3 course, a Level 1 qualification to join a Level 2 course and so on.

Further Education courses, including Apprenticeships, A-levels and BTECs, are part of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) and are broken down into:

  • Entry Level courses
  • Level 1 courses
  • Level 2 courses
  • Level 3 courses

Higher Education courses are typically classed at between Level 4 and Level 6. Vocational courses are part of the new Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) and available from Entry Level to Level 8.

AS and A2 Levels

A-Levels usually take two years to complete and are classed as Level 3 qualifications. Each year is split into units; AS in the first year and A2 in the second year. At Derby College you can study up to four AS Levels in your first year.

A Levels »

14-19 Diplomas

14-19 Diplomas are a new qualification designed to help young people develop the skills needed for further study or work in a certain sector.

At Derby College, 14-19 Diplomas are offered at Level 1 as a Foundation Diploma or Level 2 as a Higher Diploma.

14-19 Diplomas are developed in collaboration with schools; students need to access these courses through their current school.

More Information »

Foundation Degrees

Foundation Degrees are university-level qualifications designed to give you the skills needed to work in a particular industry.

Learning is usually split between the workplace and traditional College-based lectures and lessons.

Foundation Degrees can provide a route into higher education, give your career prospects a boost or help with a career change. Part-time and full-time courses are usually available, with Foundation Degrees classed as Level 5 qualifications.

Higher Education Courses »

Functional Skills

Functional Skills are practical skills in English, maths and ICT - usually completed as part of another qualification such as an Apprenticeship or Diploma.

These new qualifications are a great way to boost the skills needed for further study or in the workplace.

Functional Skills are available from Entry Level to Level 2.

GCSEs

GCSEs are Level 1 and Level 2 qualifications (depending on the grades achieved).

Although usually completed in Years 10 and 11 at school, GCSEs are open to everyone.

At Derby College we offer a number of GCSE courses for students looking to re-sit and improve grades or for adult students returning to education.

GCSE Courses »

HNCs and HNDs

HNCs (Higher National Certificates) and HNDs (Higher National Diplomas) are Level 4 and Level 5 higher education qualifications.

Although university-level courses, HNCs and HNDs are designed to give leaners the skills needed to work in a certain industry.

Both can be studied full-time or part-time. HNCs typically take two years to complete part time, while a part-time HND can take between four and five years to complete.

HNCs and HNDs can take you straight into employment or lead on to a Bachelors degree.

Higher Education Courses »

NVQs

NVQs or National Vocational Qualifications are work-based qualifications designed to help you develop the skills and knowledge to do a particular job well.

NVQs can be taken on their own or as part of an Apprenticeship. Level 1, 2 and 3 NVQ courses are available at Derby College.

Vocational qualifications

Vocational qualifications often shortened to VQs or vocationally related qualifications (VRQs) are designed to give you work-based skills employers are looking for.

There are various types of vocational qualifications available from Entry Level to Level 8. The three main categories of VRQs are:

  • Awards, Certificates and Diplomas - these flexible qualifications can be taken on their own or as part of an Apprenticeship. Level 2 Awards, Certificates and Diplomas are equivalent to GCSEs at A*-C, while Level 3 qualifications are equivalent to A-levels.
  • BTECs - BTECs are available at Entry Level, Level 1, Level2 and Level 3 in a number of subject areas. BTECs can vary from subject to subject, with some assessed via a portfolio of work and others calling for project work, assignments, written tests and coursework.
  • National Awards and Certificates - These qualifications can be taken at Level 1, Level 2 or Level 3 and are purely practical courses based around gaining work-related skills.
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