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Education and Qualifications

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The most simplistic way to understand qualifications is by their level of difficulty, size and content. There are nine levels of qualification - entry level and levels 1-8. The examples below are a sample of the many available accredited qualifications.

All accredited qualifications can be found on the National Database of Accredited Qualifications, where you can also view the level and a basic outline of the content of a qualification and the units it contains.

Click here to find out more.

Entry Level

Entry level qualifications include:

  • Entry level certificates
  • Skills for Life at entry level
  • Entry level awards
  • Certificates and diplomas
  • Foundation Learning Tier Pathways
  • Functional Skills at entry level

Level 1

Level 1 qualifications include: 

  • GCSEs graded D-G
  • NVQs at level 1
  • Key Skills Level 1
  • Skills for Life Foundation Diploma
  • BTEC awards, certificates and diplomas at level 1
  • Functional Skills Level 1

Level 2

Level 2 qualifications include: 

  • GCSEs graded A*-C
  • NVQs at Level 2
  • Key Skills Level 2
  • Skills for Life Higher Diploma
  • BTEC awards, certificates and diplomas at level 2
  • Functional Skills Level 2

Level 3

Level 3 qualifications include:

  • AS/A levels
  • International Baccalaureate
  • Key Skills Level 3
  • NVQs at level 3
  • Advanced and Progression Diploma
  • BTEC awards, certificates and diplomas at level 3
  • BTEC/OCR Nationals

Level 4

Level 4 qualifications include:

  • NVQs at level 4
  • Key Skills Level 4
  • Certificates of higher education
  • BTEC Professional Diplomas, Certificates and Awards

Level 5

Level 5 qualifications include:

  • Higher national diplomas
  • Other higher diplomas
  • HNCs and HNDs
  • BTEC Professional Diplomas, Certificates and Awards

Level 6

Level 6 qualifications include:

  • Bachelor degrees, graduate certificates and diplomas
  • BTEC Advanced Professional Diplomas, Certificates and Awards

Level 7

Level 7 qualifications include:

  • Postgraduate certificates and diplomas
  • Masters Degrees
  • BTEC Advanced Professional Awards, Certificates and Diplomas
  • Fellowships and fellowship diplomas
  • Diploma in Translation
  • Advanced professional awards, certificates and diplomas

Level 8

Level 8 qualifications include:

  • Doctorates
  • Awards, certificates and diplomas in strategic direction


Support the delivery of local education

It’s not rocket science to know that education is important. We build our skills throughout our lives to help us excel within our jobs (or any other future endeavours). It’s becoming increasingly more common for businesses to support their local schools with the provision of education and services to young people.

Thinking short-term, a business that supports a local school can get some good benefits.


For example, your staff can improve their:

  • Communication
  • Planning
  • Presentation skills

Not to mention that your business will gain greater exposure within the local community and young people will gain advantages from the improvements made to their education.

Thinking long-term, your business is adding to the skill sets of your local community, improving the likelihood of employing more skilful candidates to your business in the future.

Work experience

Work experience is a placement with your business where a young person carries out tasks and duties that a normal employee would complete. It allows the young person to gain a variety of skills first hand, something that is far more memorable than just reading out of text-book!


Having a helping hand to guide you through a problem is extremely helpful. If that helping hand is an industry expert, then a young person would find their support incredibly invaluable! You could mentor a young person by building a structured and rewarding relationship, offering guidance, support, encouragement and developing their skills and character.

Industry days

These are days often held by schools that invite industry experts from their local community to attend the school or college and give talks to the students on their industry or specialism. These days are a great way to boost your company’s exposure in the local community and to potentially inspire the growing generation into getting involved in your company or industry!

Key Education Stages

In case you are invited to an industry day and need to find out what age range you would be interacting with, here is a breakdown of the key stages in our education system.

Key Stage 0: Nursery and reception years (3–5 years old), now included as part of the Early Years Foundation Stage.

Key Stage 1: Years 1 to 2 (5 to 7-years-old)

Key Stage 2: Years 3 to 6 (7 to 11-years-old)

Key Stage 3: Years 7 to 9 (11 to 14-years-old)

Key Stage 4: Years 10 to 11 (14 to 16-years-old).

The exams at the end of this stage are typically of the GCSE level.

Key Stage 5: Years 12 to 13 (16 to 18-years-old), more commonly referred to as Sixth Form. The exams at the end are typically A Levels, AS Levels, NVQs or National Diplomas.


Vocational qualifications

These are qualifications that many young people choose to do instead of moving on to Key Stage 5. Vocational qualifications are based on manual or practical activities often related to a specific trade, occupation or vocation.

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