Studying a vocational qualification at Nelson and Colne College

Why Vocational?

Choosing the right type of qualification for your future career can be a difficult decision. Here is some useful information about Vocational programmes to help you make up your mind…

  • You will learn real industry skills designed to show you how to do a specific job.
  • Vocational qualifications will help you progress directly into employment, an Apprenticeship, or university.
  • They are available in a range of subjects, including: Business, Hairdressing, Education and Childcare, Digital, Health and Social Work Professions, and many more.
  • We have made huge investments in industry facilities and latest technologies to ensure you are ‘career ready’.
  • A vocational route is ideal if you enjoy practical, hands-on learning.
  • You will be taught by professional tutors with great industry experience and links.
  • A two-year full-time Level 3 programme is equivalent to three A Levels.

Your Study Programme and Tutorials

You will choose a Vocational programme matched to your career aim. This programme will be tailored to your personal goals and focused on developing the essential technical skills, experiences and knowledge needed for your chosen industry. Our courses are highly practical and your progress will be assessed through a range of methods which may include observations, theory-based tests and some exams.

This is to ensure you can demonstrate the skills and knowledge that employers and universities alike are looking for. Whichever course you choose, you will be taught by industry experts within your field, who are experienced, knowledgeable and up-to-date with the latest industry practice. They will provide you with one-to-one support throughout your time with us and will help to push you to achieve your goals.


The College has invested heavily in industry facilities and equipment to support you in gaining relevant and specialist skills for your chosen career field. Whichever course you choose, you will learn in a professional and inspiring environment, practising the skills required in your industry, building your skills, confidence and knowledge to impress future employers and universities.


Alongside your course, you will be encouraged to participate in a range of extracurricular activities, to help you develop career and life skills, and to support your health and wellbeing. There is a wide range of extracurricular activities on offer ranging from sport and leisure activities, to trips and visits, community projects, charity fundraising, health and wellbeing events and more! This is all designed to make sure you get the most out of your College experience, as well as supporting applications to university, employment and Apprenticeships.

Work Placement

All of our Vocational programmes include work experience linked to your career aspirations as an essential part of your course. These placements are aimed at expanding your knowledge and skills and gaining a deeper understanding of your chosen career.

For some courses you may get the opportunity to take part in an extended Industry Placement, where you’ll spend additional time to a normal work placement learning ‘on the job’ in the workplace.

You’ll benefit from professional mentoring, as well as impressive knowledge and skills for progression into the industry. Some of our students have managed to secure full-time employment and Apprenticeships with their employer from their Industry Placement. You will have support in finding your placement through your tutors and our dedicated Careers Team.

Industry Links

The College has excellent links with industry. We work closely with a wide range of employers both locally and further afield, providing you with exceptional opportunities to engage with industry professionals. Opportunities may include employer mentoring, working on client briefs, mock interviews with employers, industry events and skills competitions. We also run a wide range of Industry Careers Days where various industry leaders visit the College to share their knowledge and experience. You will have the opportunity to ‘ask the experts’ questions about their field, as well as being inspired by their journeys and gaining advice to help you achieve your goals.

What level course?

The grades you achieve in your GCSEs will determine which level you start at on your vocational programme at College. The diagram opposite demonstrates the different qualification levels and the progression routes available. Use your predicted grades to see what level vocational programme you will start at.

Students who do not achieve a grade 4 or above in Mathematics and English Language at school will be required to resit these qualifications alongside their course.