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Posted: 10/09/2012

What are BTEC Nationals?

BTEC Nationals are qualifications that are designed to provide specialist work-related qualifications in a range of sectors. They give learners the knowledge, understanding and skills that they need to prepare them for employment. The qualifications also provide career development opportunities for those already in work. Consequently they can provide a course of study for full-time or part-time learners in schools, colleges and training centres. The family of BTEC Nationals includes Awards, Certificates and Diplomas which offer opportunities for nested provision and flexibility of delivery. BTEC Nationals are designed to relate to the National Occupational Standards for the sector, where these are appropriate, and are supported by the relevant Standards Setting Body (SSB) or Sector Skills Council (SSC). Some BTEC Nationals form the Technical Certificate component of Apprenticeships and all attract UCAS points that equate to similar-sized general qualifications. On successful completion of a BTEC National qualification, learners can progress into or within employment and/or continue their study in the same vocational area.

BTEC National Award

The 360 guided learning hours (GLH) (usually six units) BTEC National Award offers a specialist qualification that focuses on particular aspects of employment within the appropriate vocational sector. The BTEC National Award is a qualification which can extend a learner’s programme of study and provide vocational emphasis for learners following an Applied GCE or GCE route or a combination of both in their main programme of study. The BTEC National Award is especially suitable for more mature learners, who wish to follow a shorter programme of study directly related to theirwork experience or to an area of employment that they wish to move into.

BTEC National Certificate

The 720 GLH (usually 12 units) BTEC National Certificate provides a specialist workrelated programme of study that covers the key knowledge and practical skills required in the appropriate vocational sector. The BTEC National Certificate offers flexibility and a choice of emphasis through the specialist units. It is broadly equivalent to two GCEs or the full award AVCE. The qualification offers an engaging programme for those who are clear about the area of employment that they wish to enter. These learners may wish to extend their programme through the study of a related GCE, a complementary NVQ or another qualification. These learning programmes can be developed to allow learners to study complementary qualifications without duplication of content. For adult learners the BTEC National Certificate can extend their experience of work. It is a suitable qualification for those wishing to change career or move into a particular area of employment following a career break.

BTEC National Diploma

The 1080 GLH (usually 18 units) BTEC National Diploma extends the specialist work related focus available from the BTEC Certificate. There is potential for the qualification to prepare learners for employment in the appropriate vocational sector and is suitable for those who have decided that they wish to enter a particular area of work. Some adult learners may wish to complete this qualification in order to enter a specialist area of employment or progress into higher education. Other learners may want to extend the specialism that they followed on the BTEC National Certificate programme. Progression from the BTEC National Diploma could be into employment where learners might take professional body examinations or complete NVQs. Alternatively, learners could continue to degree or other higher-education programmes in the same vocational sector or in a related sector.