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Vocational routes to higher education

You don’t have to do A-levels to get in to university or college. Here’s a rundown of common vocational routes to a degree.

A-levels aren’t for everyone. Some people prefer more practical ways to learn and these skills are now recognised by many universities and colleges.There are a number of different qualifications you can get - here are the most common types:

NVQs (National Vocational Qualifications)

An NVQ qualification can be taken over a flexible period of time and is available for nearly 90% of occupations in Britain. They can be used to apply for university or college courses in the same way as A-levels.

They are mainly assessed in the workplace and judged on a person’s performance at work, though they might include written and oral tests as well. They are useful for school or college students with work placements and for those with part-time jobs. Qualifications awarded range between levels one (lowest) to five (highest).

SVQs (Scottish Vocational Qualifications)

These are the Scottish equivalent of NVQ and work in the same way.

HND (Higher National Diploma)

The Higher National Diploma (HND) and Higher National Certificate (HNC) courses are vocational qualifications designed to teach practical skills for specific areas of work. They are normally taken after A-levels. A HND is considered the equivalent of two years of degree study, which means you can often enter on the final year of a related degree after completing a HND.

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