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Qualifications Explained

Did you know that 68%* of young people turn to their parents for advice about their choices in education and training? Recent changes in education and training mean there is a wider choice of courses for 14 to 19 year olds and more emphasis on learning useful skills. This section should help you find out more about the main types of qualification available.

Facts about qualifications and learning

  • People with higher skills and qualifications generally find it easier to move from job to job.
  • Research shows that people with qualifications usually earn more money than those without.
  • Employers tend to look for people with higher-level skills and qualifications.
  • There are increased opportunities for higher skilled work; fewer opportunities for unskilled work.

Types of qualifications:

 Courses are usually one of three broad types:

  • General or academic subjects - Where you study a general subject that is not directly related to a job area, for example academic subjects such as history and science. Examples of qualifications available in general academic subjects include GCSEs, Functional Skills, AS and A level courses as well as Degrees. A mixture of subjects is normally taken, to give a broad general education.


  • Applied and general vocational subjects - Where you study a broad job sector area such as engineering, travel and tourism, or society, health and development. Examples of these types of qualifications include the new Diplomas - as well as BTEC and OCR Nationals. Applied subjects can also be taken as part of GCSE, AS, A and degree level qualifications.


  • Occupational subjects - are subjects where you learn about the skills needed to do a specific job such as joinery or childcare. Examples of qualifications available in specific occupational areas include NVQs.
Which Qualification?
Want to know more about qualifications?
click on the link below

Direct Gov web site
Connexions Staff Login  /  Associates  /  LA  /  Accredited Learning Portal

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