Across the UK, there is the option to study in a FE College, in a Sixth Form College (not in Northern Ireland) or at a School Sixth Form. Each one will provide a different experience and not every area across the UK will have all three options available locally. Contact the careers advisers in your school or college to discuss your options.
For some people, GCSE re-sits are their choice if they feel they didn't get the grades they wanted the first time. Some students choose to take just one or two key subjects; others choose to re-sit a number of exams. Available in England, Northern Ireland and Wales.
AS and A Level
Most schools and colleges require a certain number of good GCSEs (usually 4-5 at grades A* - C), or equivalent, before taking A levels. This indicates the student can cope with a higher level of study. A levels last two years in total, although AS levels can be achieved within a one year period. These are available in England, Northern Ireland and Wales.
BTEC courses: Introductory, First and National
BTEC qualifications relate to particular fields of employment, such as business and finance, and can lead to jobs or higher level courses. BTEC qualifications come in three levels and are available in England, Northern Ireland and Wales.
No qualifications are needed for entry to this course.
The course is equivalent to GCSE's at grades D-G
Some GCSEs at grades D to E, or a pass at Introductory level usually needed for entry.
The course is equivalent to GCSE's at grades A-C
Four to five GCSEs at grades A* - C, or a pass at First level needed for entry.
The National is made up of:
- 6-unit National Award, equivalent to one A level
- 12-unit National Certificate, equivalent to two A levels
- 18-unit National Diploma, equivalent to three A levels
NVQs / SVQs
Many colleges offer an occupational qualification, a NVQ in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and a SVQ in Scotland. There are practical subjects which students develop the skills needed to do the job. NVQs are available in subjects such as Business Administration. Often work related experience is an important part of the course.
The Welsh Baccalaureate is offered in some schools and colleges in Wales. A qualification valued by employers and universities, students combine study of existing qualifications like A levels, NVQs and GCSEs within a core programme. The Welsh Baccalaureate is available at 3 levels:
Diploma in Business, Administration and Finance
The first 14-19 Diplomas are available in September 2008 in England. In September 2009, the Business, Administration and Finance Diploma will be available in schools and colleges nationwide. The Diplomas are for students between the ages of 14 - 19 and will help students to develop the skills and experience that employers and universities are looking for. Studying for a Diploma will involve learning in the classroom, spending time in an environment more like a workplace, and work experience with an employer. To find out more, please visit our Diploma section.
Apprenticeships are work-based programmes that focus on the skills and knowledge needed to do a certain job. They are available in a range of financial services professions and are available around the UK. Please see the apprenticeship section for more information on the opportunities.
Foundation Diploma - equivalent to level 1 qualifications such as GCSEs grades D-G or an NVQ1
Intermediate Diploma - equivalent to level 2 qualifications such as GCSEs grade A*-C, NVQ 2 or BTEC First Diploma
Advanced Diploma - equivalent to level 3 qualifications such as AS/A levels, NVQ 3 or BTEC National Diploma
For more information visit www.wbq.org.uk.
Scotland: For choices in Scotland please contact Careers Scotland on www.careers-scotland.org.uk
As a regulated industry, there are some jobs in financial services which you need a certain qualification for in order to work unsupervised. You do not have to be in the job to be studying the qualification however. If you want to, it is possible to study and obtain these before entering the job. Please see the section on professional qualifications for more information.
For more information on your options please contact your local careers service.