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Qualifications and skills

We offer a range of courses offering different qualifications and study levels. Choosing a course can be difficult. However, we offer plenty of support and guidance to help you make the right decision.


Free courses

Learners enrolled onto vocational qualifications up to Level 2 who have a Derbyshire postcode, are employed, and earn less than £18,525 per year, are entitled to complete the course for free. To confirm eligibility, you must provide a wage slip dated within three months of the learning start date, or current employment contract, which states your gross monthly / annual wages.

Learners booking on to Level 3 and Level 4 courses may be able to apply for an advanced learner loan to cover the costs of the course or you may be entitled to new Government funding for a first Level 3 qualification, subject to availability. Contact your local adult community education centre for more information.

Returning to work or upskilling

New skills and qualifications can help boost your chances of success in a rapidly changing job market. Take a few minutes to look at the qualification and skills courses we have on offer. Many courses are free or have fee reductions depending on your personal circumstances.

Free careers workshops

If you aren’t sure where to start or need help with preparing a CV, doing applications or interviews, we can help, whatever your age and ambitions. We offer free online short careers workshops run by our careers service coaches including:

  • CV and job search skills
  • identifying transferable skills
  • interview skills
  • 18 to 24 job / careers workshop
  • 50+ job / careers workshop

We can also offer free careers advice in a variety of methods including face to face, over the telephone or by MS Teams.

Our careers service provides impartial information, advice and guidance on work and learning related matters to help you make informed decisions on learning, training, work and / or volunteering. Meeting with a qualified careers coach can help you make career decisions throughout your life. From your chosen education route, planning a career change at any age or getting the job that is right for you

For impartial information, advice and guidance on careers and learning or tel: 01629 539707.

Study levels

Most courses are split into 'levels' (for example level 2, level 3). We offer courses up to Level 3 and can help signpost other providers if you would like to take your learning further The level best for you will depend on any existing qualifications and experience. In many cases, you will need to have a level 2 qualification in a relevant subject to join a level 3 course, a level 1 qualification to join a level 2 course and so on.

Further education courses, including apprenticeships, A levels and BTECs, are part of the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) and are broken down into:

  • entry level courses
  • level 1 courses
  • level 2 courses
  • level 3 courses
  • higher education courses are typically classed at between level 4 and level 6

Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are designed to give young people and adults valuable qualifications, vital work experience - and a salary while studying. Apprenticeships are available in a range of subjects including children and people's workforce, support for teaching and learning in schools (teaching assistant), business and administration, customer service and catering and professional chefs.

Apprenticeships are available at level 2, level 3 and level 4 as an apprenticeship, an advanced apprentice or a higher apprenticeship. You can find out more about apprenticeships by contacting our workplace learning team email: workplacelearning@derbyshire.gov.uk or tel 01629 536568.

Functional skills

Functional skills are practical skills in English, maths and ICT - usually completed as part of another qualification such as an apprenticeship or diploma. These new nationally recognised qualifications are a great way to boost the skills needed for further study or in the workplace.

Functional skills are available from entry level to level 2.

GCSEs

GCSEs are level 1 and level 2 qualifications (depending on the grades achieved).

Although many people achieve GCSEs at school, GCSEs are open to learners of any age.

We offer a number of GCSE courses for students looking to re-sit and improve grades or for adult students returning to education.

NVQs

NVQs or National Vocational Qualifications are work-based qualifications designed to help you develop the skills and knowledge to do a particular job well. NVQs can be taken on their own or as part of an apprenticeship. Level 1, 2 and 3 NVQ courses are available at with us.

Vocational qualifications

Vocational qualifications often shortened to VQs or vocationally related qualifications (VRQs) are designed to give you work-based skills employers are looking for.

There are various types of vocational qualifications available from entry level to level 8. The 3 main categories of VRQs areas follows:

Awards, certificates and diplomas

Awards, certificates and diplomas are flexible qualifications that can be taken on their own or as part of an apprenticeship. Level 2 awards, certificates and diplomas are equivalent to GCSEs at A* to C, while level 3 qualifications are equivalent to A levels.

BTECs

BTECs are available at entry level, level 1, level 2 and level 3 in a number of subject areas. BTECs can vary from subject to subject, with some assessed via a portfolio of work and others calling for project work, assignments, written tests and coursework.

National awards and certificates

National awards and certificates can be taken at level 1, level 2 or level 3 and are purely practical courses based around gaining work-related skills

Assessment appeals

If you have received a grade back from your tutor or assessor that you are not happy with, you should speak with them to try to resolve this within 10 working days.

If it is for an end-of-course assessment decision, you should approach the course leader or internal verifier.

If this does not resolve the matter, you can fill out an appeals form, available in centre, and submit to the appropriate programme development manager.

An arbitrator would then be appointed who would look into this and aim to reach a decision, with clear reasons, within 15 working days of receipt of the appeals form.

If you wish to make a complaint about the service, you can let us know your views on learning with us or ask our centre staff.