Which course is right for me


Choosing the right course can be a big decision, the information below is intended as a guide.

Northumberland College are here to offer information, advice and guidance to help you make an informed choice, if you are not sure call our Help Hub on 01670 841200.


Vocational Courses

Vocational courses are suitable for 16-18s and Adult Learners - they give you the skills you need for a particular career. We offer a range of qualifications, including BTECs, NVQs, City and Guilds and Diplomas. If you prefer to do practical assessments and coursework assignments rather than exams, a Vocational Course may be best for you.

When making your course choices remember it is important to choose a subject area that you enjoy and have an interest in.

You can study from Entry Level to Level 3:

Entry Level and Level 1
Equivalent to: three or four GCSEs at grades D to G
Suitable if: you don't pass your GCSEs, or perhaps don't get the grades you had expected, then you can make a fresh start with an Entry Level or Level 1 course.

Level 2
Equivalent to: four or five GCSEs at grades A to C
Suitable if: you gain four GCSEs at grade D or above or equivalent at pass level

Level 3
Equivalent to: two A Levels
Suitable if: you gain four to five or more GCSEs at grade C or above or equivalent at pass level

Vocational Courses are a route to higher education; most university-level courses accept a Level 3 qualification as entry.



Apprenticeships are suitable to anyone aged over 16 who is in work. If you don't have a job, we will do our best to support your job search through our excellent links with employers. If you are in work you can usually easily transfer to an Apprenticeship to gain a valued and well recognised qualification.
You'll get hands-on training on the job and you'll also come in to college to take classes for your qualification. This is usually by day release or over a block of days.

Level 2 Apprenticeship
Equivalent to: five GCSEs at grades A to C

Level 3 Apprenticeship
Equivalent to: two A Levels

A Higher Level Apprenticeship may be availble on successful completion of Level 3.


Access to HE

Access courses are suitable for students aged 19+ who need a qualification to meet the entry criteria for higher education.


HNC and HND Courses

Suitable if you are aged 19+ and are looking for a work-related qualification to help you advance your career, give you practical skills or a step towards higher education.

Higher National Certificates and Higher National Diplomas are work-related qualifications that are highly valued by employers. HNCs and HNDs are a mix of academic and hands-on practical and vocational learning that will develop the skills you need in the workplace.

Level 4 qualification

Level 5 qualification

On successful completion of an HNC or HND course you may choose to progress to a degree level qualification.


Foundation Degrees

You will normally be aged over 18 and have successfully completed a relevant Level 3 qualification (BTEC, A Level, Access to HE).

Foundation Degrees are vocational higher education qualifications that combine academic and work-based learning. They are designed with the help of employers and can usually be studied on a full or part-time basis.

Our Foundation Degrees are offered in partnership with universities so, upon successful completion, you will receive a university accredited qualification.

A Foundation Degree can be taken as a stand-alone qualification or upon successful completion you may top-up to the final year of an Honours Degree. They are usually equivalent to the first two years of an Honours Degree but you will need to check with your chosen university.


Short Courses

We offer a wide range of short courses that you may be interested in if you would like to develop a new skill, hobby or just meet new people.


Professional Qualifications

We offer a wide range of qualifications which are well recognised by different professions in areas such as Management.


How do I get advice or support?
Just call 01670 841 200 and ask for the Help Hub, we can arrange an appointment or you can drop-in to the Help Hub, alternatively email helphub@northland.ac.uk