Entry Level

Supported Learning

Petroc offers several Entry Level programmes designed for school leavers and young adults with individual learning needs and differences who want to develop their employability and softer skills in a safe learning environment.


Level 1

Qualifications and Foundation Learning

These courses are at foundation level and include awards, certificates and diplomas. They are hands-on qualifications providing an introduction to an industry of interest. Level 1 qualifications are studied full-time at Petroc. In addition we focus heavily on developing students’ employability and softer skills to allow them to thrive in their chosen industry.


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. We also offer GCES in Spanish, Biology, Psychology and Science for adult learners.

Vocational and Technical Qualifications

These are one-year courses aimed at developing core theoretical knowledge and practical skills. Students have a broad range of Vocational and Technical Qualifications to choose from, each enables them progress into their chosen field.


Apprentices develop their knowledge and gain skills to further their career while they work. Level 2 apprentices develop hands-on, practical learning in the workplace and consolidate this whist studying at Petroc. Apprentices who don’t have a grade C or equivalent in English and/or maths will be required to pass Functional Skills Level 1 and work towards Functional Skills Level 2 as part of their apprenticeship.

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. 

Vocational and Technical Qualifications

These are one or 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, apprenticeships or higher apprenticeships. Dependent on the size of the qualification it will be equivalent to 1, 2 or 3 A-levels.

These courses also embed employability skills and industry appropriate maths and English and bespoke tutorial support.

An Extended Certificate is worth one A-level and an Extended Diploma is worth three A-levels.


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. Apprentices who don’t have a grade C or equivalent in English and/or maths will be required to pass Functional Skills Level 2 as part of their apprenticeship.

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.


T-levels are two-year technical programmes, equivalent to studying three A-levels. As part of the full programme of study, learners will also complete a minimum of 315 hours (approx. 45 days) in an occupationally specific industry placement, focussed on developing practical and technical skills.


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.