Qualifications guide

Qualifications guide

Bedford College offers study programmes across a number of different levels – here’s our guide to what they all mean...

Study programmes

In today’s competitive market employers and universities are looking for much more than a skills qualification – so Bedford College will ensure you have an advantage.

Your full-time course at Bedford College will consist of a study programme. This means that alongside your industry-recognised qualification, you’ll also study English and maths and improve your personal and employability skills.

In short, your study programme will provide you with:

  • A nationally-recognised qualification
  • English and maths skills
  • Work experience
  • Personal development skills
  • Study skills
  • Employability skills

And possibly additional vocational learning and qualifications, depending on the course you choose.

Why study English and maths?
English and maths are essential to your employment and further or higher education prospects. Many employers state that too many young people lack the literacy and numeracy skills needed for work – these are the skills they demand above all others. If you want to continue in education, you’ll find that entry on to higher level courses also require A*-C GCSE qualifications in English and maths.

The requirement to continue studying English and maths is not about resitting exams, but increasing your skills and widening your opportunities.


These are qualifications designed to link closely with industry that are recognised by universities and employers as an alternative to studying A-Levels, but still attract UCAS points. They allow you to demonstrate your knowledge and skills through practical work, which is assessed through coursework only – there are no written exams.

Entry Level Certificates

These are nationally recognised qualifications with no entry requirements that aim to build your skills and increase your confidence in a subject.

National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs)

Designed to develop your knowledge and skills in a specific job, NVQs cover the vast majority of business sectors and don’t involve exams – you’ll be assessed through your practical work in the College’s realistic working environments.

Functional skills

Qualifications designed to develop or improve your English, Maths and ICT skills – essential for employment, further study and everyday life.

Industry-accredited qualifications

We also offer qualifications accredited by leading national industry training bodies, so that the career skills you develop are exactly what your industry demands, including:

  • Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT)
  • City & Guilds (C&G)
  • Construction Industry Training Board
  • Construction Skills (Cskills Awards)
  • Council for Awards in Care, Health and Education (CACHE)
  • The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI).


Apprenticeships are training programmes that combine paid employment with study at College to gain both work experience and a recognised qualifications in your chosen career. To start an apprenticeship, you must already be employed within the industry you wish to train in – we list a range of vacancies on our website to help get you started if you don’t already have a job. Visit our Apprenticeships section to find out more.

Employability skills

As part of your study programme you’ll also receive training in the extra skills employers look for to help make you more employable, from written and verbal communication skills to teamworking skills.

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