Recent figures from UCAS show that the number of A-level students achieving grades ABB (the average grades you need to get into the top ranked universities) has fallen by 2,500 over the last year, but the number of BTEC students achieving the equivalent has increased by 16%. It is undeniable that more and more students are opting to study BTECs over A Levels these days, which means we should be paying more attention to this educational trend.
What are BTEC qualifications?
BTEC stands for ‘Business and Technician Education Council’ which used to run the award, first introduced in 1984. BTECs are vocational and work-related courses, rather than traditional academic courses, designed for study in a wide range of occupational areas from business to performing arts. BTECs are offered at all levels: levels 1 and 2 are equivalent to GCSEs, level 3 to A Levels, and levels 4 -7 hold the same status of achievement as a degree.
Why take a BTEC instead of an A Level?
BTEC national level 3 diploma courses have become one of the most widely recognised qualifications for admission to Higher Education; they are gaining popularity as an alternative to A Levels. According to figures from UCAS, the proportion of sixth-formers taking vocational qualifications rose from 3% in 2004 to 15% last year. So what are the benefits of a BTEC qualification?
After 33 years of success, BTECs have built a sterling reputation. More and more students are applying to universities with BTECs, which is clear sign that institutions have recognised the value of a BTEC qualification. According to an article by the Higher Education Liaison Officers Association, 95% of universities in the UK accept BTEC students, including universities from the Russell Group. In 2015, over a quarter of students accepted into higher education held at least one BTEC, which is further proof that BTECs are just as respected as A Levels.
BTECs prepare students for employment; courses can develop a student’s employability skills as they offer the experience of real-life practical tasks and work placements. The CBI has claimed that schools are “exam factories” and that A Levels fail to prepare students for the world of work. BTEC qualifications are generally well-regarded by employers as the courses enable students to develop useful hands-on skills such as time management, communication, problem solving and planning.
Employers value BTEC qualifications as courses are usually industry-directed, in other words they give students industry-specific knowledge and skills which makes them readily employable. Courses are developed by professional bodies and higher education experts, which guarantees that a BTEC-qualified candidate will demonstrate the right standards of knowledge and practical skills for the role.
BTECs are more practical qualifications with a focus on flexible learning and independence, which appeals to those who find traditional teaching methods and exams difficult. The assessment for BTECs is largely based on regular coursework and work experience, which makes them an ideal option for those who crumble under the pressure of exams.
Take the next step
Check out our Level 3 in Business Management, which has been specifically developed to provide the knowledge required for students to work effectively, both as individuals and in teams within business. Upon completion of the course, students will then have the opportunity to apply for admission onto a full Undergraduate Degree programme from a range of UK universities.
It is commonly known that opting for a Diploma course over A-Levels is often not the prevalent route to university, resulting in many people choosing not to pursue them. However, Diploma courses possess a more practical side that A-Level courses often lack, therefore making them a more effective way of teaching. For example, a Diploma course would allow students to compile portfolios and partake in practical work whereas A-Levels are more theoretical and sometimes do not provide students with the same opportunities.
Diploma courses urge you to be more self-disciplined by having you complete regular assignments whilst A-Levels are often comprised of exams throughout the year. Diploma courses also ensure that you are learning and retaining information instead of cramming during exam season which appears to be common practice when studying for A-Levels. They are also more focused on certain areas whereas A-Levels tend to be quite broad. For example, a level 3 business administration course can help to provide a more in-depth look at administration than if you were to opt for a business A-Level.
Importance of Diploma level 3 courses online
Online learning itself is often a more effective route of education and can help to teach you valuable skills that you may not be able to learn otherwise. Studying online requires you to be responsible and accountable for your own learning, instead of having a teacher constantly checking whether you are reaching your targets in the classroom. By forcing you to be more independent, online learning also helps you understand the ways in which you best retain information by experimenting through various styles. In fact, you get to become your own teacher which is a practice that is often used to revise, therefore demonstrating how effectively it can work.
Online learning can also give you a competitive edge over someone with A-Levels because it testifies to the fact that you are hard-working and can take ownership. Admissions tutors will be able to see that you were able to commit and see the course through until the end, which provides you with an added advantage.
Studying online can also create the capacity for you to achieve better grades because you are absorbing and learning information at your own pace. This is something that can be difficult in the classroom when teachers are glossing over large subjects due to a shortage of time. Online learning allows you to take your time to fully grasp the things that you are learning.
Advantages of a Diploma level 3 diploma in business
Studying for a Diploma level 3 diploma in business will teach you the fundamentals of what it takes for businesses to succeed. Through taking different modules such as finance, human resources or marketing, you will have the opportunity to comprehend the various facets that are required to operate a business as well as how they ensure that they continue to prosper. These are essential and will go on to form the foundations of your knowledge, whether you go on to pursue further education or immediately choose to enter the workplace. Business courses also help to develop you into a more logical and critical thinker which can be utilised in all areas of life and can therefore provide additional benefits.
An online Diploma/BTEC level 3 diploma course in Business and Administration can help you go on to succeed in any industry because your skills are adaptable and can therefore be tailored in accordance to the field and environment. Whether you choose to go on to work in the public or private sector, administrative roles are in demand everywhere. Students often go on to pursue level 4 courses to broaden and deepen their knowledge.
Online courses bridge the gap between learning and the world of work by providing you with the skills that traditional education can often lack. Although graduates may possess knowledge, real-life skills that are required in the workplace are difficult to gain without industry-experience. However, online learning allows you to have developed these through your education and is therefore often preferred by employers.
Although they may have previously been considered as lesser than an A-Level, the face of education has changed and it is therefore important to consider a Diploma course because it can positively impact your learning. Diploma courses do not hinder your entrance into university and it is integral to remember that it is the quality of work that acts as the catalyst in helping you succeed.