You already know the advantages of training as an apprentice but have you
considered what you would like to do next?
You may wish to make further progress in your profession and may need to
consider further qualifications. More and more apprentices are now going
on to obtain higher-level qualifications to support them in their careers.
You have a number of options, depending on the level of education that you
want to attain and way that you want to study:
- Vocational training, leading to NVQ levels 4 or 5. These are common in
the accountancy or insurance skill areas. The higher-level NVQs allow you
to gain professional qualifications leading to membership of the relevant
Association or Institute.
- BTEC Higher National Certificate (HNC). This is the typical route for
engineers and those involved in construction. An HNC is equivalent to the
first year of a degree course.
- BTEC Higher National Diploma (HND) - a qualification that is common in
a number of skill areas, including management. Your HND will allow you
to join a degree course to gain a full degree, with one or two years' further
study, depending on the subject.
- Foundation Degree – this is a new class of degree, developed especially
for those following work-based learning routes. They can be studied on
a full-time or day-release basis and are similar level to HNDs. They can
be topped-up to an Honours Degree by further study.
- Honours Degrees - these are only usually available as full-time qualifications,
lasting from 3 to 6 years, depending on the subject. Some are available
as ‘sandwich’ courses, where a year is spent on work experience
following the first 2 years of study, and a final year is spent back in
the university. Many now offer the final year as a part-time option for
those accessing the course from an HND or Foundation Degree.
- There are two other degree-level qualifications available - Certificate
in Higher Education and Diploma in Higher Education. These are typically
taken by those in nursing, care and other health-related areas.