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BTECs – what are they?

BTECs are widely recognised work-related qualifications suitable for a wide range of ages and abilities. Read on to find out more about how BTECs work and where they can take you.

What is a BTEC?

BTECs are work-related qualifications suitable for a wide range of students.

They're built to accommodate the needs of employers and allow progression to university.

They provide a practical, real-world approach to learning without sacrificing any of the essential subject theory.

They can be taken alongside, or in place of, GCSEs and A levels. They can also form the knowledge component of Foundation Learning or BTEC Apprenticeships.

Available across a wide range of industry sectors, they're continually developed and updated to meet the needs of employers and learners.

Where can a BTEC take you?

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BTECs have been around for nearly 30 years and their reputation is second to none.

They're recognised by schools, colleges, universities, employers and professional bodies across the UK and in over 100 countries worldwide.

They offer natural progression along a vocational path, from and to academic qualifications and university.

BTEC qualifications are developed with key industry representatives and sector skills councils.

Many industry and professional bodies offer exemptions to successful BTEC students for their own accredited qualifications.

Why choose a BTEC?

The learning style of BTECs can be quite different to other qualifications. This section will help you decide if they are the right choice for you.

A practical approach to study

Students have to undertake a number of units for which they present evidence, based on real-life work and studies. This allows them to demonstrate their skill and knowledge in practical situations. If you think you would succeed better working in this way, the BTEC route may be the one to take.

Keep your options open

There are many options available to school-leavers: further education, vocational degrees, and apprenticeships and jobs that offer workplace learning. If you're not sure about the path you'll wish to take, the flexibility of BTECs makes them a good choice, as they offer useful practical experience as well as a recognised qualification.

Inspiring confidence

Learning should be fun, not daunting. In our experience, students enjoy BTEC programmes because they can specialise in areas of learning linked with work that they're interested in, such as sport or the music business. Courses tap in to what they enjoy, feel good at and find familiar.

Students build their confidence because they're developing practical skills that will help them secure a job in the future. Answers to assignments may be in written form, but it’s just as likely they will be in other forms – such as film clips, project proposals, business plans and structured databases. Students are always given clear guidelines so they know what they have to achieve and how to do this.

Students will have to meet deadlines set by teachers, but can do this at their own pace rather than having to perform to the time constraints of an exam. Individual progress is monitored by teachers who provide personal support and guidance, helping students develop their learning skills and reach their potential. Learning is progressive, from small-scale and simple topics to larger and more complex themes.

Working together

Teamwork is an important aspect in the world of work. Not surprisingly, it is also a key feature of BTECs. Students work on assignments - such as a group drama production or manager-employee role-play - both individually and in groups. Some students may take time to adapt to these new ways of working, but they gradually understand what is expected of them. They learn even faster if, at Key Stage 4, they take more than one BTEC course, because they make connections and apply approaches to learning from one subject to another.

Fitting study around other things

BTECs are flexible. They can be studied full time or part time. BTECs can be taken as part of an Apprenticeship programme or alongside work commitments and other qualifications.

Staying up to date

An important consideration when deciding on a course to follow is whether the content is relevant and the course has been revised recently. If it is a BTEC, you can be assured that it has. We are continually developing and updating BTECs in response to the needs and skills required by employers. This ensures that learners gain maximum benefit from their work while qualifying, and that the qualifications stay up to date and relevant. All BTEC qualifications are now developed in co-operation with the relevant Sector Skills Council (SSC), ensuring they meet the needs of employers..

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