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Further education at 16+

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What is Further Education (FE)?



Further Education Colleges offer a whole range of different courses to people who are 16+ - right up to 90!

Further Education College is suitable for anyone, over 16, who wants to get on in life by learning new skills and knowledge.

FE Colleges offer a huge range of courses that can help at every stage of life from Level 1 courses through to degrees, and professional qualifications, Colleges also offer short and part-time courses.

FE Colleges offer:

  • GCSE or A levels.
  • Vocational subjects - these are related to a broad subject area such as business, health and social care, etc. - so they can lead to a large variety of employment areas or university courses
  • Practical Vocational Courses that lead to specific jobs such as hairdressing, plumbing, etc.
  • Apprenticeships.
  • Courses that prepare people for Higher Education, such as Access Courses or the Art Foundation Course
  • Vocational Higher Education Level courses, such as Foundation Degrees, Higher National Diplomas (HNDs) and Certificates (HNCs).
  • Foundation Courses to develop maths, English and studyskills, confidence and employability. These courses can give students the chance to try out several different vocational areas.
  • Learning for leisure e.g. ceramics, art, computing, photography, etc.
  • Courses aimed at overseas students such as English Language Courses or preparation courses for University

Many young people choose to leave school after 16 and go to Further Education College so they can develop their skills and qualifications before they progress into a job or university.


FE works closely with employers to offer courses that relate to the local jobs market, so it can really help students develop skills and qualification to make them more employable.

FE is a friendly and diverse learning environment. Students come from different countries and from all different backgrounds and with a whole range of abilities

Every FE College is different, some are very large and run over several sites, whilst others are small and based in the centre of a city or town or in a rural area with their own accommodation.

College is for all age groups:

14 – 16 year olds

A few students may come to an FE college to study vocational courses through a specific pre 16 programme whilst they are still learning at school. This could involve the student doing 1 or 2 days a week at school and the same at college.

16 – 19 year olds

Further Education tuition is free for 16 – 19 year olds. Students of this age go to college for all sorts of courses, such as, A levels, vocational courses, Apprenticeships, etc.

Most full time courses at college are aimed at young people with little experience of the world of work and they focus on developing student's employability skills

Over 19 years old.

  • There are lots of adults doing professional part time courses in the evening like business and accountancy qualifications.
  • Many adults are doing courses to improve their Maths, English, IT and study skills to enable them to progress at work or onto another course.
  • Leisure courses are also available to develop skills such as painting, creative writing and photography.
  • Many FE courses also attract adults who are looking for cheaper and flexible study options for Higher Education such as Foundation Degrees or HNDs and HNCs