Course levels explained
Below is a guide to the qualification levels available to you at Petroc. Each level has specific has basic entry requirements.
Entry Level courses give you access to Level 1 qualifications and employment. 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 courses give you access to Level 2 qualifications, apprenticeships and employment. They include vocational qualifications and Functional Skills. They are hands-on qualifications providing an introduction to an industry of interest. We focus heavily on developing your employability and softer skills to allow you to thrive in your chosen industry.
Level 2 courses give you access to Level 3 qualifications, apprenticeships and employment. Qualifications include GCSEs, vocational qualifications and apprenticeships.
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.
These are one-year courses aimed at developing core theoretical knowledge and practical skills. We offer a broad range of qualifications to choose from, each enabling you to progress into your chosen field.
Apprentices develop your knowledge and gain skills to further your 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.
Level 3 courses give you access to university, higher apprenticeships or skilled employment. Qualifications include T Levels, A Levels, vocational qualifications, advanced apprenticeships, and Access to Higher Education Diplomas.
These are two-year academic programmes, with learners choosing three A Level subjects, with subject combinations based on 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.
T Levels are two-year technical programmes, equivalent to studying three A Levels. As part of the full programme of study, you will also complete a minimum of 315 hours (approx. 45 days) in an occupationally specific industry placement, focussed on developing practical and technical skills.
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.
Access to Higher Education Diplomas
Access to HE diplomas are 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 will prepare you for higher education.
These are university-level (higher education) qualifications:
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 or the University of Bolton. 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.