Entry Level

Petroc offers several Entry Level programmes designed for school leavers and adults who need basic key skills or individually-designed programmes to aid progression to a Level 1 course or employment.

Level 1

National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ 1) and Diplomas

These are foundation level, hands-on qualifications providing an introduction to an industry of interest. Diplomas are studied full-time at Petroc and an NVQ Level 1 can be completed whilst at work.

Level 2


Petroc offers GCSE courses in Maths and English as additional qualifications for students following academic and vocational programmes. Most employers and many of our programmes at Level 3 and above require a GCSE grade C/4 or higher in both English and Maths, so re-takes are available if you need them.

Technical Qualifications

These are one-year courses equivalent to four GCSEs at grade C/4 or above. Students are introduced to a particular area of employment and complete projects and assignments and other assessments, which are based on realistic workplace situations.


Apprentices develop their knowledge and gain skills to further their career while they work. Level 2 apprentices take an NVQ Level 2 through Petroc, alongside hands-on, practical learning in the workplace.

National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ 2)

The NVQ Level 2 is a competence-based qualification to ensure you have the required knowledge to work in a particular industry. NVQs are highly valued by employers because they demonstrate that you have the hands-on, practical skills and knowledge they want. They are designed to help you gain qualifications through training and assessment at work.

Level 3


These are two-year academic programmes, with learners choosing three A-level subjects, with subject combinations based on their intended career pathways. Our specialist interviewing team will give you bespoke advice and guidance as to what combinations work well for different career pathways. We have an outstanding record of A-level achievements, with many learners progressing to Oxford, Cambridge and top Russell Group universities, as well as prestigious apprenticeship pathways and employment. 

Applied Technical Qualifications

These are two-year vocational qualifications which blend practical, career-focused skills and academic study to prepare you for direct entry into employment or enable you to move on to higher education. There are many different sizes of qualifications to make them as flexible for use as possible. For example, they can be studied alongside other courses such as A-levels, and can be full-time or part-time as part of an apprenticeship. An Extended Certificate is worth one A-level and an Extended Diploma is worth three A-levels.

Advanced Apprenticeships

These work-based training programmes give you the skills, knowledge and competencies needed to progress in your chosen career or industry. Advanced Apprentices work for an employer and earn a salary, as well as taking an NVQ and Diploma at Level 3 through Petroc, attending college part-time.

National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ Level 3)

Applicants must have an NVQ Level 2 or equivalent in order to gain entry to the NVQ Level 3. Level 3 NVQs build on the knowledge and skills gained at Level 2, and are highly valued by employers.

Access to HE

Access to HE is for adult learners (aged 19 and over) who wish to take a university-level course, but do not have the normal entry requirements. Access to HE courses prepare learners for higher education.

Level 4-6

Higher Education

Petroc offers Higher Education opportunities in a range of subjects for students with Level 3 qualifications.

Higher National Certificates (HNCs) take one year full time to complete, Foundation Degrees (FdA/FdSc) normally take two years and are a qualification in their own right, and a Bachelor Degree (BA/BSc) is usually a three-year course.

Petroc’s higher education courses are run in partnership with the University of Plymouth. Foundation Degree graduates can top up their studies to Bachelor Degree level by spending a further year at the University of Plymouth or through one of the BA Honours programmes at Petroc.

Petroc also offers higher and degree apprenticeships, for those wishing to take work-based study to the next level.