Bite Size Courses

Women Returners' Network Chelmsford College
Moulsham Street
Essex CM2 0JQ
Phone: 01245 263796
Fax: 01245 491712

This ninth version is the first that has been set-up online. It has been updated by Andrea Lohner, WRN's Research Assistant.

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Edexcel Foundation
The Customer Response Centre, Stewart House, 32 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DN,
tel 0207 3934500, fax 0207 3934501,
email, website

Edexcel Foundation is the UK's leading innovative force in education and training. Formed through the merger of BTEC, the top provider for applied and vocational qualifications, and London Examinations, one of the major GCSE and GCE examining boards in the UK.


BTEC Higher National Certificates & Diplomas - HNCs/HNDs
BTECs HNDs and HNCs are higher education qualifications, which offer a balance of education and vocational training. They are available in a wide range of work-related areas such as design, business, caring, computing, engineering, hospitality and catering, leisure and tourism and science. There are no formal entry requirements, but if you have any of the following you are likely to be at the right academic level:

An Advanced GNVQ
NVQ level 3
A levels
A BTEC National
Relevant work experience

HNDs take two years full-time or three years part-time. HNCs are usually for people who are working and take two years to complete on a part-time study basis by day release, evening or a combination of the two.


BTEC Professional Development Qualifications
BTEC Professional Development qualifications (previously Continuing Education qualification) are usually designed by colleges to meet specific training needs. For example, a course might be devised specifically to bridge a gap between a HNC and a professional body's requirements. Edexcel designs some Professional Development qualifications, mainly in management.

The Professional Development framework has three levels:

Professional Development Award
Professional Development Certificate
Professional Development Diploma

Professional Development qualifications are suitable for mature students with relevant experience, or a level 3 qualification such as an Advanced GNVQ, a BTEC National or two A levels.


NVQs (National Vocational Qualifications)
NVQs reward those who demonstrate skills gained at work. They relate to particular jobs and are usually taken while you are working. There are five levels of NVQ and they are usually in specialised areas. NVQs are available to everyone. There are no formal entry qualifications, although the higher level NVQs require more experience.


BTEC Credit Framework
The BTEC Credit Framework covers three qualifications - an Award, a Certificate and a Diploma - each have five levels. These are tailor-made packages designed to meet the needs of students or employers.


Key Skills Awards
Key Skills awards show that you have achieved set standards in skills such as problem solving, communication and information technology, which are common to all areas of work. They demonstrate that your skills are at the level they require. Formal qualifications are not required to take an Edexcel Key Skills award and there are no time limits for completing them. There are five Key Skills awards and you need to do at least three units at the same level to gain an award.


City and Guilds
1 Giltspur Street, London, EC1A 9DD, tel 020 72942800, fax 020 2942405,

City and Guilds is the UK's leading provider of vocational education offering over 400 qualifications and almost all occupational careers, including Pitman Commercial qualifications, NEBs management awards and National and Scottish vocational qualifications (N/SVQs)


Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA)
83 Piccadilly, London, W1J 8QA, tel 0207 5095555, fax 0207 5096666,
email, website

The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority was founded when the National Council for Voluntary Qualifications (NCVQ) merged with Schools Curriculum and Assessment Authority (SCAA) in 1997. QCA is a public body for promoting quality and coherence in education training. QCA's remit ranges from early years education to higher level vocational qualifications. It is responsible for ensuring that the curriculum and qualifications available to children, young people and adults are of a high quality, coherent and flexible. QCA aims to raise national standards of achievement. This includes promoting greater access to, and participating in, education and training, enhancing lifelong learning opportunities, creating ways of giving credible national recognition for all learners and encouraging greater achievement.


Oxford, Cambridge RSA Examinations (OCR)
1 Regent Street, Cambridge, CB1 2GG,
tel 01223 552552, fax 01223 552553, website

OCR is the new unitary awarding board in the UK that takes responsibility to provide a complete range of high quality academic and vocational qualifications including: AS and A level, GNVQ, Key Skills, GCSE, Certificates of Achievements, "Own Brand" Schemes and NVQs. Scottish Qualification Authority, Hanover House, 24 Douglas Street, Glasgow G2 7NQ, tel 0141 242 2052 SCOTVEC is the national body with responsibility for accrediting, awarding and developing vocational qualifications in Scotland. Within its qualifications' framework, SCOTVEC offers unit-based provision at non-advanced (National Certificate Modules) and advanced (Higher National Units) levels. Modules and units can be taken individually or in a group and can lead to national recognised qualifications, such as HNC, HND, Scottish Vocational Qualifications (GSVQs). In addition, programmes can be designed to meet the needs of particular organisations or companies. National Certificate Modules, Higher National Units and courses are designed by SCOTVEC in collaboration with educationalists, employers, industry lead bodies and professional technical/technical bodies, and are recognised routes to careers and to further study at degree level and beyond.

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