The benefits of vocational courses
When it comes to deciding what to study after your GCSEs, vocational courses can be a great option if you prefer a more hands-on approach and already know what university course or industry you want to move into.
At Christ the King Sixth Forms, we offer a huge range of high-level BTEC advanced vocational courses at our Sixth Form Centres in Sidcup (CTK St Mary’s) and Lewisham (CTK Emmanuel).
BTEC advanced subjects on offer are:
CTK Emmanuel CTK St Mary’s
Art & Design Business
Business Health & Social Care
Health & Social Care Science
Business, Law & ICT
Media, Art & Business
Criminology, Psychology & Health & Social Care
Psychology, Law & Health & Social Care
From September 2022, CTK Emmanuel will be offering the new T Levels in Science & Health and Engineering & Manufacturing, in addition to the current wide range of advanced level courses already on offer. T Levels are two-year courses that are equivalent to three A Levels. The main difference is the industry placement and work experience you will gain within the practical side of the course.
Read on to find out some of the benefits of vocational courses and see if they could be right for you.
- Focus on a subject you love
Vocational courses combine practical learning with subject and theory content and are designed to meet the specific needs of employers and job sectors, so if you already have a specific career in mind, a vocational course could be better for your prospects than A Levels.
Vocational courses offer you the chance to specialise in a subject that you really enjoy, setting you up for future success. This is great news if you already have your heart set on a specific career or studying a particular degree at university. Whatever your passion – Drama, Media, Business, 3D Animation, Engineering, Forensic Science, Dance, Music, Sport – you can pursue it at CTK.
2. Progress to a top university
DID YOU KNOW… The top-grade D*D*D* for BTECs means triple distinction – and is equivalent to A*A*A* grades at A Level?
Our advanced BTEC programmes are a great route to university for ambitious students. BTECs are an increasingly popular alternative to A Levels, so it isn’t a surprise that universities are adjusting their acceptance requirements and promoting the same respect for BTECs as A Levels receive. According to an article by the Higher Education Liaison Officers Association, 95% of universities in the UK accept BTEC students, including universities from the prestigious Russell Group. Even elite universities like Oxford and Cambridge state that they accept BTECs.
Recently, almost half of CTK students who were accepted to university had studied BTECs. They went onto a range of prestigious university destinations, including Nursing at King’s College, Dental Therapy at Queen Mary’s, Law and Criminology at Sheffield, Mechanical Engineering at Nottingham and Biomedical Science at Warwick, among others.
3. Get a head start in your career
At CTK, if you are studying a BTEC Level 3 course, you’ll join our Professional Graduate Programme (PGP), designed to increase engagement with your academic studies, improve your confidence and give you the edge when applying for universities and jobs. The programme is tailored to meet the needs of your individual BTEC course; ensuring skills and opportunities are related to the area of work being studied.
You will have the unique opportunity to gain additional professional qualifications and follow a bespoke progression and careers programme, which can help give you a competitive edge when making university or job applications. Read some of our vocational student testimonials.
4. Decide what job role is right for you
Studying for a vocational qualification can help you decide whether a particular job or job sector is right for you. The practical learning involved on a vocational course may also help you figure out what specific job you want to pursue in your chosen industry.
At CTK, you will be given the tools you need to start planning your future, thanks to our strong careers programme, links with businesses and our successful alumni community. Some of our successful former students sit on the Christ the King Partnership Board, providing valuable insight into a diverse range of industries
5. Gain real life experience
BTECs can provide you with real life experience in your industry, which is very appealing for potential universities or prospective employers. A Levels generally focus on the academia of a subject, whilst BTECs focus on real-life practical tasks and sometimes even provide work placements, helping you to develop useful hands-on skills such as time management, communication, problem solving and planning – skills which are highly regarded by universities and employers.
Students at CTK will visit a range of workplaces as part of their course and receive input from many prestigious business partners. Some courses also include an extended work placement, to help you gain a better insight into your chosen career sector and develop your knowledge, skills and understanding in real life situations.
6. Fewer final exams
While academic courses like A Levels are typically assessed through one set of final exams, vocational courses are assessed both internally and externally by set tasks and examinations. Rather than testing everything together at the end of the course, BTECs give you the opportunity to show what you’ve learned in each unit and build on your achievements as you progress through the course. This means there are plenty of chances to learn, improve and succeed, which can be a bonus if you tend to perform less well in exams. It does not, however, mean they are any less challenging. BTEC courses are demanding and rigorous qualifications that open many opportunities both in employment and Higher Education.
Your final qualification grade will be awarded on the Pass, Merit and Distinction scale, and your exact grades will vary depending on the course. BTEC results in our most recent cohort of students were, once again, exceptional and our BTEC Extended Diploma students achieved a 99.6% achievement rate, with almost 90% going on to university.
If you have any questions about applying for a vocational course or need further help and advice, please get in touch with our friendly Careers team.
Ready to apply?
We are delighted that you are considering making an application to Christ the King Sixth Forms. We welcome students of all faiths, and of none, who would like to pursue their sixth form education in a faith context and who support the ethos of this Catholic College. We are currently taking applications to join CTK in September 2021.
If you, or someone you know, would like to apply, then you can do so online – just click the button below. Once we receive your application, we will contact you to arrange an interview. Good luck!
Dwayne ST MARY'S Course: A Level History, Spanish, Maths
“I'm aiming to study Computer Science at the University of Sheffield. At CTK all students are equally as motivated to do well, it's a good environment to be in. Teachers really try their hardest to make sure that their students achieve what they are capable of and ensure you get the best grades possible.”
Ella Mae ST MARY'S Grades achieved: A A B A Course: A Level Law Level Psychology A Level Sociology Extended Project
“What I enjoyed about CTK was meeting students from different backgrounds and sharing a desire to succeed. As an Advanced Graduate Programme student, I was given the motivation and confidence to work to the best of my ability. ”
Samad ST MARY'S Course: A Level Media, English Literature and Language and French
“I have really enjoyed my course trips. Also, knowing that everyone else is starting Sixth Form at the same time as you, makes meeting new people and fitting in a lot easier and fun. My teachers have helped me overcome my fear of interacting during class discussions. They encouraged me to participate by giving presentations to the whole class, which boosted my confidence. Teachers will motivate you to achieve the best of your ability.”
Oluwafoluhanmi ST MARY'S Course: A Level Biology, Chemistry and PE
“Although studying A Levels can be challenging, my teachers make my lessons enjoyable and easier to understand. The teachers at CTK are really friendly and are more than happy to help. I hope to go on to study Physiotherapy at University.”
Alice ST MARY'S Grades achieved: D*D*D* Course: BTEC Sport and Exercise Science Level 3
“I'm going to St Mary's University, Twickenham to study Sport Science. My BTEC course was unique. The pastoral support at CTK was excellent and the extra support from teachers helped me stay on track. I would recommend CTK because of the support that staff give students”