Further Education

Further Education (often abbreviated as FE) can be seen as the stepping stones to help you progress from secondary school to University. Not every student will feel the need to attend a Further Education College if they are planning on attending university, but it can be much more than that.

Attending a FE College can open up your career opportunities greatly and give you a sense of independence from early on.

In this article I want to talk to you about the benefits of Further Education Colleges.

Broadening your career opportunities

If you decide to take on Further Education before moving on to University then you could instantly hold higher value than your peers who decided to skip the FE step. You will have more refined skills in your chosen study and extra qualifications are always something that is looked at positively by employers.

You will also learn a lot of transferable skills such as self-management which will be mentioned in more detail below.

Expand your earning potential

In relation to the previous post, having the extra FE knowledge under your belt gives you that additional value as an employee which can give you more leverage in earning higher than your peers.

Promotes self-management

FE Colleges can be quite a different environment from a normal secondary school. You are expected to be responsible of yourself and take care of your own time-management. This can be quite a big jump for some but gives you an early opportunity to learn some very vital life skills that will apply in any area of work.

As an added bonus you don’t wear a uniform when attending FE College so you will get to wear what you find comfortable!

Greater range of subjects available

Since FE Colleges specialise in the “Further Education” side of things, they are open to a huge range of courses for you to check out. Some examples of these courses would be dentistry, mechanics and forensics. A lot of the courses available by FE Colleges will not be available from your usual Secondary school or Sixth-form.

Greater range of qualifications available

Unlike secondary school where you are limited to certain qualifications such as A levels and GCSEs, FE Colleges have many different qualifications that can be awarded and at different levels, they are as follows:

  • Level 1 qualifications – This level provides fairly basic courses. Designed to build confidence and an introduction to the chosen subject, industry or area of work. Do note that you need a qualification at this level in order to progress to level 2. The qualifications present at this level include:
    • NVQ Level 1
    • BTEC Introductory Certificates
    • OCR Nationals (Equivalent to GCSEs grade D – G)
  • Level 2 qualifications – This level gives a deeper understanding of a subject or area of work, qualifications at these level are equivalent to GCSEs grade A* – C and many employers would like young people to have a Level 2 qualification as a minimum.
  • Level 3 qualifications – This level deal with more advanced courses and is almost always required for entry into university. Employers will also look for Level 3 in applicants for more technical or supervisory roles. This level provides the qualifications below:
    • A / AS-Levels
    • NVQ Level 3
    • BTEC Nationals
    • Advanced / Progression Diplomas
  • Level 4 to 8 qualifications – These courses may be available at college but are classed as Higher Education rather than Further Education. The qualifications include:
    • Foundation Degrees
    • HND/HNC Courses
    • Honours defrees
    • Post-Graduate / Professional qualifications

Flexibility in learning

FE Colleges are unlike usual secondary schools in that they don’t confine you to a specific time-frame, allowing you to study either full-time, part-time, through work experience and even online. These are of course subject to the type of subject you choose to study but you can already see the big possibilities that secondary school cannot give you.

Get a heard-start on your interests.

After secondary school you may wish to go into a career direction that you didn’t have the opportunity to experience through secondary school subjects. Because of the wide array of subjects in FE Colleges mentioned above, you can get a taster for your career and make quicker judgement, than reaching University and finding out you’ve spent all of your money on something you didn’t like.

You will get to meet a huge range of people

FE Colleges are limited to young learners, you may meet a wide variety of people in age, profession, backgrounds etc. This is a great way to branch out and experience working with all different kinds of people.

Contribution to UCAS points

Besides getting to study a subject that you couldn’t in secondary school, if your aim is to get to university then FE College courses also provide UCAS points which will help you reach your chosen university if you are lacking any points.

Is it worth enrolling in to a Further Education College?

Further Education Colleges are something that everyone in secondary school education should consider. Depending on what you want to do after mandatory education, FE Colleges are bound to have a course on something that you’re interested in. This will give you a great head-start into the real world with some proper experience.

The Learning Station is a Further Education College in London and offers a wide array of courses. If you would like to have a glance at some of the courses they have on offer:

TAQA Level 3 Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement (QCF) (CAVA)

(PTLLS) Level 3 Award in Education and Training RQF (4 day Crash course in London)