Default Image

Months format

Show More Text

Load More

Related Posts Widget

Article Navigation

Contact Us Form


Sorry, the page you were looking for in this blog does not exist. Back Home

Level Up Your Knowledge - Understanding Level 5 Qualifications

    Deciding what to do when compulsory education ends at 18 is one of the biggest life decisions you will ever make. Leaving school or college is a big step in its own right. In many ways, it symbolises the move from childhood into adulthood. It might well coincide with leaving home, starting your first job, or taking the first steps toward a chosen career path.

    It’s therefore important to be fully aware of all the options available to you. The simplified version of post-18 options presented to young people is starkly black and white - you either get a job or continue your education by studying for a degree. Not much choice in that.

    Luckily, this ‘simplified’ version is also quite a long way from being accurate. It misses out a huge chunk of higher education, which covers all post-A-Level courses and qualifications available through colleges and universities.

    Level 5 Qualifications

    For example, did you know that A-Levels (and a host of other qualifications taken post-GCSE by students before they leave compulsory education) are at Level 3 of the UK’s Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF), while a bachelor’s degree like a BA or BSc is Level 6? In popular discourse, degrees often get spoken about as if they follow on naturally from A-Levels. But there’s a leap of two whole qualification levels.

    What, then, is in between A-Levels and degrees? Why do we not hear so much about them? And if there’s such a gap between A-Levels and bachelor’s degrees, why can you jump straight out of school and onto an undergraduate degree course?

    Filling in the gaps in the RQF

    You have probably heard of some Level 4 and 5 qualifications that sit between A-Levels and bachelor’s degrees in the RQF without necessarily realising that’s what they are. They include Higher National Certificates (HNCs - Level 4) and Higher National Diplomas (HNDs - Level 5), as well as Certificates in Higher Education (CertHE) and Diplomas in Higher Education (DipHE), again Levels 4 and 5 respectively.

    As to why you can jump from A-Levels / Level 3 straight to a Level 6 degree, well that’s because the RQF is not meant to prescribe ‘stepping stones’ between qualifications, only describe their relationships. So while you can, if you want, take a Level 4 certificate, then a Level 5 diploma before ‘topping up’ for a full degree, you don’t have to.

    A bachelor’s degree is designed to take three years’ full time study, with Level 4 and Level 5 qualifications taking one and two years each. So you will often hear people describe a HNC as equivalent to ‘a third of’ or ‘the first year’ of a degree, or a DipHE as ‘two thirds’ or ‘two years’ of a degree. Again, these are guidelines for comparing the level of study required for each qualification type. Although they can also be used to pick different routes toward even higher qualifications.

    Why take a Level 5 qualification?

    This brings us to another question. Why would you choose a Level 4 or 5 qualifications rather than aim straight for a degree?

    The best way to answer this is to turn it around and make the very valid point that degrees are not for everyone. You might be daunted by the prospect of three years of full-time study, or even more so by the five or six years, it takes to study for a degree part-time. Level 4 and 5 qualifications feel a bit more manageable, a way to ‘dip your toe’ into higher education study without such a big commitment in time and, of course, money.

    Also Read - Bizgurukul

    Plus, especially when you get to Level 5, you are walking away with a very well-regarded qualification that will open a lot of doors career-wise in its own right. Two-thirds of a degree is no mean feat. And by then, you are only a year away from ‘topping up’ to a full degree, should you so choose.

    A lot of degree courses also tend to be largely academically focused, which does not always suit you a) if your talents are more practical and skills-based, or b) if you have your mind set on a very specific career path and want a qualification that ties closely to the skills and knowledge needed to pursue it. A lot of Level 4 and 5 qualifications are vocational and work-based, which makes them great for developing and demonstrating competencies directly related to your chosen career, or if you want to gain a qualification based on your work while you are in the role.

    Finally, bachelor’s degrees often set the bar high in terms of entry requirements. If you don’t get the grades to get onto a particular degree course, that’s not the end of your higher education aspirations. You can get on some Level 5 courses without any A-Levels and many others with fewer A-Levels / lower grades than you would need to enroll on a bachelor’s degree.

    Three types of Level 5 qualification

    We’ve mentioned two types of Level 5 qualifications so far, HNDs and DipHEs. These are the two most common types of qualification at this level and can be seen as two sides of the same coin. Both are vocational in nature, with learning linked directly to industries such as business management, IT, engineering, health and social care, and more.

    But there are differences in the way the two qualifications are taught and assessed. A DipHE is considered a more ‘academic’ route, with more emphasis on the kind of learning approaches you would get on a degree course (written assignments, tutorials, lectures, etc). HNDs tend to be more practical and ‘hands-on’ in style, with a wider range of learning opportunities (such as work placements) and coursework-based assessments (such as presentations, independent project work, etc).

    Both HNDs and DipHEs are widely recognized by professional bodies as accredited qualifications which are therefore accepted as entry routes for taking further professional qualifications. For most HNDs and DipHEs, there are also routes available for converting them into a related bachelor’s degree with a further year of study.

    A third type of Level 5 qualification you will commonly see advertised is a Foundation Degree. Not to be confused with Foundation Year Routes, which are four-year full-time courses leading to a full degree aimed at people who don’t have the entry requirements to be accepted onto a standard degree course, Foundation Degrees are, like HNDs and DipHEs, two-year courses leading to a standalone qualification.

    Similar to DipHEs in the way they combine vocational subjects with academic-style teaching, Foundation Degrees have a stronger emphasis on converting to a full degree after they are completed, and aren’t as widely and directly endorsed by trade bodies (although having a foundation degree on your CV will not do your employment and career prospects any harm).

    Also Read - Kraket

    No comments:

    Post a Comment