SPONSORED: NCFE Study Programmes help your 16-19 learners succeed

We know and understand that choosing the right qualifications to fit your 16-19 cohort and build your vocational curriculum can be challenging and technical education is an area of constant change.

NCFE Study Programmes are designed to provide 16 -19 year old learners with a structured and challenging learning experience to support their development and progression to further study or their future career.

The Study Programme is a bespoke programme of learning and is made up of a substantial qualification, with learning time allocated to English and Maths, if required, additional qualifications, and a work placement. NCFE offers a range of qualifications across a number of sectors to give learners the choice and flexibility to learn in a way that’s best for them, and all are supported by award-winning customer service and high-quality learning resources.

Professor Alison Wolf recommended that all young people should be able to gain real experience and knowledge of the workplace

NCFE Study Programmes meet the requirements of the Department for Education (DfE) and NCFE level 3 substantial technical qualifications attract UCAS points to support progression into higher education.

In her review of technical education in 2011, Professor Alison Wolf recommended that all young people should be able to gain real experience and knowledge of the workplace in order to enhance their employability skills. She suggested that Study Programmes be introduced to offer learners breadth and depth, without limiting their options for further study or work. In response, the DfE consulted on proposals for Study Programmes, published its responses and plans for implementation, and in September 2013, Study Programmes were officially introduced. The ongoing post-16 Skills Plan has since set out further reforms to technical education, and whilst these reforms will impact the qualifications available to 16-19 year olds, it is expected that they will build upon the existing core principles of the Study Programme.

NCFE Study Programmes explained

NCFE Study Programmes aim to maximise learner progression to the next stage of education, employment or an apprenticeship. There are various pathways that NCFE can offer from substantial qualifications at level 2 and level 3, to Functional Skills and additional qualifications at level 1, which all contribute to a well-rounded programme of study.

NCFE Applied Generals are level 3 qualifications aimed at post-16 learners who wish to continue their education through applied learning. These qualifications are included in the performance tables for technical and vocational qualifications and don’t require work placements/employer involvement in the delivery of the qualification. They are assessed through a mixture of internal and external assessment.

NCFE Tech Certs and Tech Levels are level 2 and 3 qualifications aimed at post-16 learners to equip them with the knowledge and skills they need for skilled employment or further technical study. Tech Certs and Tech Levels do have elements of work placement, which allow learners to apply knowledge in real work environments.

Substantial qualifications are level 2 and 3 qualifications aimed at post-16 learners to develop their knowledge and skills in their chosen vocational area. These qualifications are assessed through a portfolio of evidence with no external assessment and may be suitable for a variety of learners including those who do not perform at their best under exam conditions.

Maths and English are an important component of the study programme and learners are expected to hold at least a GCSE in Maths and English (grade 4 or grade C). Learners who have achieved a grade 2 or below, or grade E or below, are able to study an alternative qualification such as Functional Skills. Learners could increase their chances of success in achieving Maths or English by studying Functional Skills, as these focus on developing practical skills and applying them to real life situations.  

NCFE also offers a range of employability and smaller qualifications to help learners succeed in their chosen career. From CV writing and developing enterprise skills, to health and safety and substance misuse awareness, they develop learners’ transferrable skills, improve confidence and help to support progression and employment outcomes.

A package of resources to complement study programmes

NCFE Study Programme qualifications are supported by a full package of resources to support learners’ progression, including online interactive programmes, learning games, advice and guidance, PDF workbooks and videos. These resources and programmes have been developed in conjunction with employment specialists Reed to support employability within the curriculum.

BESTest (Baseline Employability Skills Test) is another fantastic resource from ForSkills that supports NCFE Study Programmes. BESTest is an online diagnostic, psychometric assessment that accurately measures a learner’s employability skills. It does this by measuring the starting points of a learner against 10 indicators that are vital for employment success – CV, Job Search, Interviews, Workplace Behaviours, Initiative, Resilience, Motivation, Organisation, Professionalism and Sociability – and generating an immediate report which provides a ‘spikey profile’ of their employability skills. Learners then complete 10 interactive modules that relate directly to the results of their BESTest score to upskill them where needed.

These resources combined with work experience, which is another key principle of the 16-19 study programme, aim to give young people the opportunity to develop their career choices and improve those critical employability skills needed for real working conditions.

NCFE believes in the importance of choice and flexibility when it comes to learning, especially at such a key stage in a learner’s life and that’s why we think it’s important for our customers to be able to build a tailored, bespoke programme of study to suit their learners’ needs.

To find out more about how NCFE can help you with your 16-19 curriculum planning, please visit the NCFE website.

For more information about BESTest or a free trial, please visit the ForSkills website.