About BTEC

Introducing BTEC

Over the last 25 years, BTECs have helped millions of people develop the skills they need to get on in life. Engaging and inspiring, these work-related qualifications are suitable for a wide range of ages and abilities.

BTECs give students the skills they need to either move on to higher education or go straight into employment. For instance, a BTEC National Certificate in Business would cover all aspects of business including marketing, law, human resources and accounting.

What is a BTEC?

  • BTECs are work-related qualifications suitable for a wide range of students, built to accommodate the needs of employers and allow progression to university.
  • They provide a practical, real-world approach to learning without sacrificing any of the essential subject theory.
  • They can be taken alongside, or in place of, GCSEs and A levels and alongside Diplomas in schools and colleges. They can also form part of the 14-19 Diploma and Modern Apprenticeships.
  • BTECs are recognised by schools, colleges, universities, employers and professional bodies across the United Kingdom and in over 100 countries worldwide.
  • BTECs have been around for 25 years and their reputation is second to none.
  • They continue to be developed and updated with and for industry and in response to the needs of learners.

How does it work?

  • BTECs are at different levels:
    • Entry – for learners to develop confidence and initial skills for either a broad work sector or everyday life
    • Introductory (Level 1) – a basic introduction to an industry sector. They encourage development of personal and work-related skills
    • Nationals (Level 3) – specialist qualifications for students with a clear view of their future career or seeking progression to higher education
    • Foundation Diploma in Art and Design (Level 3) – preparation for entry to higher education to study art and design
    • Higher Nationals (Level 5) – higher education qualifications widely recognised by universities and professional bodies
    • Development and Professional Development qualifications (Levels 4-8) – short courses needed for professional development
    • BTEC Short Courses - available at all levels
    • WorkSkills (Entry 3 – Level 2) – a suite of skills-based employability units.How much does it cost

How much does it cost?

For school leavers, about to start a full time course, it is likely that the full time  BTEC course will be funded (by The Learning & Skills Council). Tuition and registration fees will be free if:

  • The student is between 16 – 18 on 31st August 2013.
  • The student is unemployed and in receipt of Jobseekers’ Allowance or Employment Support Work Allowance
  • The Student is enrolling on a literacy or numeracy course.

If the student does not recieve a funded place, they will have to pay a contirbution to the cost of the course, this is likely to be in the region of £1,100 per year.


Students enroling on a BTEC course are likely to incur costs to aid their studies. Typically students will pay a ‘start up levee’ covering folders, paper, pens, USB and trips planned throughout the academic year. This is likley to be in the region of £50-£100.

To decide if a BTEC is right for you, you’ll need to know how BTECs differ from other qualifications and what advantages they have.

  • A practical approach to study
  • Keep your options open
  • Rewarding effort
  • Fitting study around other things
  • Staying up to date


Hints and Tips

A practical approach to study

Students have to undertake a number of units for which they present evidence, based on real-life work and studies. This allows them to demonstrate their skill and knowledge in practical situations. If you think you would succeed better working in this way, the BTEC route may be the one to take.

Some students thrive on the pressure of exams, but others often fail to achieve their potential due to worries or nerves. With a BTEC, progress is measured throughout the course, allowing students to gauge their own performance on a continuing basis, just like in a real workplace. As a result, students are more engaged and motivated, as they can see the progress they’ve made through the course rather than waiting until the end to sit an exam.

Keep your options open

There are many options available to school-leavers: further education, vocational degrees and apprenticeships and jobs that offer workplace learning. If you are not sure about the path you will wish to take, the flexibility of BTECs makes them a good choice, as they offer useful practical experience as well as a recognised qualification.

Rewarding effort

Students will have to meet deadlines set by teachers, but can do this at their own pace rather than having to perform to the time constraints of an exam. Progress is monitored individually by teachers who provide personal support and guidance, helping students develop their learning skills and reach their potential. Learning is progressive, from small-scale and simple topics to larger and more complex themes.

Fitting study around other things

BTECs are flexible. They can be studied for full time or part time. BTECs can be taken as part of an Apprenticeship programme or alongside work commitments and other qualifications.

Staying up to date

An important consideration when deciding on a course to follow is whether the content is relevant and the course has been revised recently. If it is a BTEC, you can be assured that it has. We are continually developing and updating BTECs in response to the needs and skills required by employers. This ensures that learners gain maximum benefit from their work while qualifying, and that the qualifications stay up to date and relevant. All BTEC qualifications are now developed in co-operation with the relevant Sector Skills Council (SSC), ensuring they meet the needs of employers.