At Runshaw, we offer a full range of vocational courses from entry level, right through to level 3 courses, which are the equivalent to 3 A Levels.

Which course level you choose will depend on your predicted GCSE grades and what career you hope to pursue. Don’t worry if you aren’t sure – we can help, visit us at one of our open events and we can help and advise on what route will be best for you.

BTEC Level 3


BTEC Level 3 courses are two-year programmes made up of approximately 18 units or subjects (core units and specialist units) related to your chosen industry. They are graded pass, merit or distinction and upon successful completion of your course, you will achieve a triple grade e.g. PPP, MMM, DDD, D*D*D* etc. Level 3 BTEC qualifications attract UCAS points for university, just like A Levels; a
BTEC Level 3 is the equivalent to achieving 3 A Levels.

How do I get on this course?

To get straight onto a BTEC Level 3 course you will need 5 GCSE passes at grades A-C in a range of subjects. You will be required to have both GCSE English and maths. To support your future progression plans we strongly recommend these are both at grade C; if not, one can be at grade C and the other must be at grade D. Alternatively you will need at least a merit in a Vocational Level 2 course e.g. BTEC Level 2 and have achieved GCSE maths and English qualifications at the required level. You will also need a high standard of written and spoken English, the ability to use and understand numbers and good IT skills, along with very good organisational skills to manage coursework. All students without a grade C in GCSE maths and English will have re-sit classes timetabled as part of their study programme.


After completing a Level 3 BTEC course, most students will progress onto a higher education course at university. If you follow this progression route, you might choose to study a Foundation Degree or a full honours degree course. Other students progress directly into employment; a BTEC Level 3 will give you the knowledge and skills to enter your chosen industry.

BTEC Level 2


BTEC Level 2 courses are one-year courses made up of a number of units or subjects, related to your chosen industry/vocational area; they are equivalent to GCSEs at grade A*-C. BTEC Level 2 courses contain core and specialist units covering the aspects of knowledge, understanding and skills
necessary for employment within the sector.

Each unit within the qualification has specified assessment and grading criteria and courses are awarded at pass, merit or distinction level. Upon successful completion of your course, you will be awarded a double grade, e.g. PP, MM, DD. Alongside the Level 2 BTEC you will also complete a work placement or
work related study and GCSE maths and/or English, where required, as part of your study programme.

How do I get on this course?

To get onto a BTEC Level 2 course you will need at least 4 GCSEs at grade D in a range of subjects or a Vocational Level 1 qualification e.g. BTEC Level 1. You will be required to have both GCSE English and maths. To support your future progression plans we strongly recommend that these are both at grade D; if not, one must be a grade D but the other must be no less than a grade E.


A BTEC Level 2 course is a great stepping stone onto the BTEC Level 3 and most students will go on to study at this higher level to give them more knowledge, skills and experience for working in their chosen industry or studying at a higher level. Alternatively you may choose to continue learning in the workplace, gaining employment-based training.

BTEC Level 1


A BTEC Level 1 is an excellent introduction to learning about the area of work you are interested in. This is a one-year course which is made up of a number of units which are related to your chosen industry. Each unit within the qualification has specified assessment criteria in order to pass. In addition to this we have introduced a pass+ which means that you can extend the level of work you produce in readiness for progression onto a Level 2 course.

Work Experience and Work-related Study

Alongside your chosen vocational qualification, you will complete a work placement and work
related study. This will support you to develop valuable transferable skills that will help you to
reach your full potential in education, work and life in general.


All students who study a BTEC Level 1 course will also study GCSEs in maths and English. These qualifications are essential in helping you to succeed in education, employment and life. They will help you to build future employability skills and improve your future prosperity and well-being.

How do I get on this course?

To get onto a BTEC Level 1 course you will need 2 GCSEs at grade E and 1 grade D including maths or English Language.


Most students will carry on learning about their chosen industry and progress on to a BTEC Level 2 course. Some students choose to carry on learning in the workplace, gaining employment-based training.

What is an NVQ or a VRQ?

NVQ and VRQs are work-related, hands-on qualifications that focus on employment skills. They have been developed by the industry for the industry. You will have to show you are able to manage certain work-related skills, demonstrating that you meet national standards set by employers, making sure that
you can actually do the job.

Learning methods

You will work in a realistic working environment and will undertake placements in the industry.
Learning will also take place in the classroom where you will be taught related theory using
a variety of teaching and learning methods including formal class teaching, group work, case studies, practical activities, role-play and personal research for assignments.


You will be assessed through observation in a realistic working environment and during placement, by producing or gathering appropriate materials and through questioning. You will put together a portfolio and be observed by an assessor who will observe you doing the tasks. In addition you will undertake
some formal exams.

Depending on your current level of skills you will start on either a Level 1 or a Level 2 course. These vocational qualifications are a great way to develop highly valued skills for industry and also act as a stepping stone onto the next level. Many of our students will go on to develop their skills further by moving up to the next level whilst others choose to continue learning in the work place, gaining employment-based training.

Browse our Vocational courses