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.

Online Career Assessments

The most popular we make available are:

Kudos – is an interactive career matching program.
The program asks you a series of questions about your skills and qualifications, your health and your attitude to different aspects of work e.g. would you rather work in or outdoors? and on this basis gives a list of suggested careers.

Careerscape – is a companion program to Kudos
and offers careers information on over 1800 careers and includes photos and video clips of many job situations.

Exodus (Careers Abroad) – gives information on living, working and studying abroad including all European Community countries, the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand among others.

Some of these programs or other similar programs e.g. Jobs Explorer Database (JED) are available in some schools and colleges. Check with your school or college’s careers staff or your Career Connect Adviser for which ones are available in your school or college.

(Please note, if your school or college does not have a Career Connect Adviser, you might not be able to get access to these programs)

Personal Branding
As you work to continuously create your “Personal Branding” message and improve your marketability through your resume, consider leading with competencies

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