Alternative Routes Part 2: Technical Baccalaureate, NVQ, and BTEC

If you are looking at what to do after your GCSEs or A-levels, you ought to at least know all of the options that are available to you. While heading to university is a well-known route, a lot of young people don’t really get access to information on the alternatives. Doing a degree at university is just one option, you could also try a sponsored degree (where your fees are paid for you!), look into distance learning or take a Gap Year, for example. Then there are also Apprenticeships and Traineeships, which were covered in yesterday’s blog. But these are not the only options available to you, so today we’ll take a look at the Technical Baccalaureate, NVQs, and BTECs as options for you after school or sixth form.

  • Technical Baccalaureate

The Technical Baccalaureate (commonly shortened to ‘TechBacc’) is a relatively new vocational option for those who are 16-19 years old and who want to get into a science-based or technical career. Ideal for those who want to pursue a career in the STEM subjects, or in service or creative sectors.

First introduced in 2014, the TechBacc is comprised of a Tech Level, a level 3 maths qualification (such as an AS level in maths), and an Extended Project (EP) qualification designed to improve skills in writing, research and self-motivation.

While the Tech Level will develop your specialist knowledge and skills in the occupation you have chosen, the Extended Project will push you to take research into industry-related projects. A Technical Baccalaureate will improve your employability and could be used as a route into an apprenticeship or work.

You will need to have achieved a grade A-C in GCSE maths and English in order to get onto a Technical Baccalaureate.

  • National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ)

If you decide to head straight out to work, and don’t want to take an apprenticeship, then you could always look into National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs). These work-based qualifications are designed to prove that you have reached a specified competency in your job. They are designed to complement your training at work, and can be studied while in a part time job or even on work experience.

There are no age limits or entry requirements for NVQs and can be completed in a time-frame that suits you. An NVQ could help improve your employability in a particular area, such as business management, hair and beauty, construction, or property.

  • BTEC

BTEC stands for ‘Business and Technology Education Council’, and is an award that was first established in 1984. Offering a variety of levels from pre-GCSE to degree equivalent, a BTEC is a vocational, work-based course that will offer an alternative route towards higher education with a focus on the skills employers want.

Rather than exams, a BTEC will be studied through a series of units based on real-life work and studies. A BTEC will typically take between 1 and 2 years to complete and can be studied full or part-time.

Ideal for those wanting a practical, vocational route into employment, BTECs are offered for careers in engineering, media, IT, public services, tourism, construction, and many more areas..

You can check out all the options we have on NotGoingToUni, including Apprenticeships, Traineeships, Sponsored Degrees, Gap Years, Further Education, and more right here. Have a look and get an idea of what is on offer – you never know, you might just find the perfect choice for your future!

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