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Vocational: GCSEs and other qualifications

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Some schools offer vocational qualifications alongside GCSEs and some GCSEs are vocationally-focused.

Vocational qualifications offer a mix of practical and theoretical learning that is directly related to a specific area of employment.

These work-related courses can be a good option if you have a job sector in mind or if you would like to gain employability skills linked to a particular type of work. The courses that are most commonly available in schools for students in Years 10 and 11 are BTEC qualifications and OCR Cambridge Nationals.

BTECs & OCR CAMBRIDGE NATIONALS

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BTECs and OCR Cambridge Nationals are vocational qualifications designed to give students the skills they need to either move on to higher education or go straight into employment.

Some schools offer some BTECs and OCR Cambridge Nationals to students in key stage 4 (Years 10 and 11). By applying learning to real-life situations, these qualifications offer a more practical approach than more traditional courses.

Students have to undertake a number of units for which they present evidence based on real-life work and studies. This allows them to demonstrate their skills and knowledge in practical situations. If you think you would succeed better working in this way, the BTEC or OCR Cambridge National route may be the one to investigate.

These courses are available in a broad range of different vocational areas - follow the link for more information about BTECs and OCR Cambridge Nationals.

To find out more about vocational qualifications follow this link.

GCSEs IN VOCATIONAL SUBJECTS

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If you are interested in subjects directly related to the world of work, GCSEs in vocational subjects might be a choice worth considering.

GCSEs in vocational subjects are qualifications that…

  • relate to work in a particular vocational area, such as business, ICT or engineering;
  • are practical and give you a chance to learn by doing;
  • can be mixed and matched with other GCSEs and a variety of different courses;
  • are mainly assessed by coursework.

There are currently eight GCSEs in vocational subjects…

  • APPLIED ART AND DESIGN
  • APPLIED BUSINESS
  • APPLIED ICT
  • APPLIED SCIENCE
  • ENGINEERING
  • HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE
  • LEISURE AND TOURISM
  • MANUFACTURING

These GCSEs can be a first step on the ladder to a specific career and can lead on to further vocationally-focussed study or training. If you think you would like to study a GCSE in a vocational subject, you will need to find out which ones are offered at your school or local college.