Person looking at technical product drawings
Student painting


Are you interested in studying a vocational programme at EDC?

Vocational programmes are all about you studying a particular subject and focusing your skills in that area. For example, you might study hairdressing, training to become a hairdresser, or study equine, with the aim of becoming a horse trainer.

At East Durham College, we offer vocational courses at all three of our campuses.

What Are Vocational Courses?

For most people studying at college, you'll be doing one of these courses.

The term vocational refers to the fact that you're essential training in a particular vocation, with the aim of securing eventual employment in that field. 

For example, if you were studying hairdressing as a vocational course, you're training to be a hairdresser. Or you might train to be a carpenter, an electrician, work as a farmer, an equine groom or countless other options thanks to our massive range of course options.

Vocational Course Levels

Vocational courses have what's classed as a level, which starts from Entry Level and goes up to Level 4.

Depending on your previous grades/academic achievements, our team at the college will assess which level is right for you, and that's the level you'll study on when you come to enrol at East Durham College.

It varies depending on which course area you're signing up for, but sometimes it is a requirement to start on level 1 regardless of your previous grades, usually due to the highly practical nature of the work and the skills required (for example, an electrician will need to start at level 1 and build themselves up to level 3).

Here's a full breakdown of how vocational course levels work:

Entry Level and Level 1

Equivalent to three or four GCSEs at grades D to G.

Suitable if you don't pass your GCSEs, or perhaps don't get the grades you had expected.

Level 2

Equivalent to: four or five GCSEs at grades A* to C.

Generally, this is the level you should start on if you got four GCSEs at grade D or above, or equivalent qualifications at pass level. Some courses will require certain grades in maths and English.

Level 3

Equivalent to two or three A Levels

Generally, this is the level you can study on if you have passed four/five plus GCSEs at grade C or above, or equivalent qualifications at pass level. Most courses will require you to have a grade A* to C in maths and/or English.

Like A Levels, vocational courses are a route on to higher education; most university-level courses accept a Level 3 qualification as entry.

Level 4

Equivalent to a Foundation Degree or Higher National Diploma (HND). 

Remember, when making your course and career choices remember it is important to choose a subject area that you enjoy and have an interest in.

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