Further Education has seen a positive trend in the last few years. Between the years of 2002 to 2016, there has been a rise in the percentage of people pursuing Further Education, including ethnic groups other than whites.
Now, the majority of the population in the UK is white. So, a rise in the number of people from ethnic minorities pursuing FE means that it’s a good time for international students to enrol in this area of study.
The scope of Further Education
Any study that a student pursues after secondary education, which is not a part of higher studies like undergraduate or graduate course, falls under the umbrella of Further Education or FE. Students opting for colleges which offer Further Education have the option of choosing from a wide range of subjects.
Various levels in FE:
Level 1 – Studies at this level focus mainly on the basics. Students develop confidence and a grip on a specific subject, industry or work. Degrees such as NVQ level 1, OCR Nationals and BTEC Introductory Certificates are parts of this course. Also, these degrees are almost equivalent to GSECs with grades D to G. Furthermore, you must complete this level before moving to the next level.
Level 2 – By completing a level 2 course, a student can develop a deeper conception of a subject or field of work. Degrees like NVQ level 2 and BTEC First can be obtained with this course, and are equivalent to GSEC with A to C grades. Many companies employ candidates with level 2 qualifications.
Level 3 – These qualifications consist of the A and AS levels, NVQ level 3, Advanced and Progression Diplomas. This stage is necessary for university admissions. Additionally, many employers prefer applicants with level 3 certificates for supervisory and technical roles.
Level 4 to Level 8 – These qualifications mostly fall under the umbrella of higher education. They consist of Foundation degrees, Honours degree, HND/HNC courses, post-graduation or higher level professional qualification.
For people in the 16 – 19 years age group, there are 3 kinds of FE courses.
- A level 3 qualification can help you to get a job in a particular technical field.
- Technical certificates in level 2 can help a student find employment and progress to another tech level.
- General applied qualifications to continue general education at a higher level through practical
Funding and financial aids
When pursuing an FE, you may receive help with the costs of your course, daily living expense, and child care. Furthermore, you may be eligible for certain kinds of aids subject to specific conditions.
These are –
- Residential Support Scheme
- Care to Learn
- Learner Support
- Loans for Professional and Career Development
- 16 to 129 Bursary Fund
- Advanced Learning Loan for candidates older than 19 years
Additionally, courses in reading & writing and basic maths are free of cost. For level 1 and 2 courses, you will need to pay a fee.
Hence, with multiple options to choose from, it can be confusing to decide which course to enrol in. You may use the National Career Service for making your decision, as they provide free counselling.