Today’s BTECs, seeing you go further

Today’s BTECs are more focused, more aspirational and more relevant. They are known to increase student engagement, enable students to progress, develop employability skills and add value and variety to your studies.

Grantham College have been offering BTEC qualifications for over 25 years in a wide range of subject areas including Business, I.T, Public Services and Sport. Taught by sector experienced staff in high quality and well equipped classrooms these qualifications replicate what the standards industry now looks for.

What is a BTEC?

BTEC stands for ‘Business and Technology Education Council’, which used to run the award, first introduced in 1984.

BTECs are now awarded by the Edexcel exam board and are taken in more than 100 countries at all levels, from pre-GCSE to Degree equivalent.

They are vocational and work-related courses, designed to accommodate the needs of employers and allow students to progress to further and higher education.

A BTEC takes a practical approach to learning, without missing any of the important theory on the subject.

BTECs are extremely reputable, having been around for 25 years now, so rest assured you will be embarking on an excellent course.

Why study a BTEC?

There are a couple of reasons why you may want to choose a BTEC over other qualifications.

  • They are recognised by a large number of companies across a wide range of industries – as well as being developed in partnership with industry representatives so all employer and student needs are met, many professional bodies offer successful BTEC students exemptions for their own accredited qualifications.
  • If you are not fond of taking exams and find the pressure causes you to under-perform, a BTEC will allow you to undertake a number of units for which you will present evidence, based on real-life work and studies – this means you can demonstrate your skills and knowledge through a practical situation rather than sweating it out in an exam hall. You will be provided with personal guidance and support by your teacher, who will also help you meet deadlines and reach your full potential.

What are the different BTEC levels?

BTECs are offered at a number of 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 a particular 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 long does a BTEC take?

A BTEC will generally take one to two years to complete, depending on whether you study for the course full time or part time.

What BTEC subjects are available?

Grantham College offer a wide range of BTECs in the following subject areas:

  • Art & Design
  • Business
  • Graphics
  • Health, Social Care & early Years
  • IT
  • Performing Arts
  • Public Services
  • Science
  • Sport
  • Travel & Tourism.

How many hours does it take to study a BTEC?

BTECs range from 180 guided learning hours for a Level 2 BTEC First Certificate (35 week qualification) and 1080 hours for a Level 3 BTEC National Diploma (2 year qualification).

Guided learning hours are the number of hours of supervised or directed study time you’ll need to do to for your BTEC qualification.

How many UCAS points do you get with a BTEC?

If you take a qualification at level 3, you can earn points on the ‘UCAS Tariff’ for entry into higher education.

BTECs can earn you equivalent points to AS and A levels. For example, a BTEC National Diploma with overall three merit (M) grades has 240 UCAS points (one A level with A grade has 120 UCAS points).

See the following table to see how many UCAS points you can earn from Distinction (D), Merit (M) and Pass (P) grades.

BTEC National Awards give you one mark P (40 points) M (80 points) D (120 points)
BTEC National Certificates give you two marks PP (80 points) 



MP (120 points) 


MM (160 points)

DM (200 points) 


DD (240 points)

BTEC National Diplomas give you three marks PPP (120 points) MPP (160 points) 


MMP (200 points)


MMM (240 points)

DMM (280 points) 


DDM (320 points)


DDD (360 points)


Progression to Higher Education

Independent research on progression and career opportunities for young people in the UK demonstrates how BTECs open doors into higher education and beyond.

Figures based on research revealed in January 2011 from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) show that:

  • More than 100,000 BTEC students apply to higher education and make the university grade
  • In 2011, admissions to UK universities by BTEC students had risen 30% year on year
  • Ninety-five per cent of Higher Education Institutions accept BTEC students, including Russell Group universities
  • More than 50% of 20-30-year-olds going on to higher education are BTEC students.
  • 20% of level 3 BTEC holders go on to undergraduate degree courses*
  • With a level 3 BTEC you can boost your lifetime’s earnings by up to £92,000 *

* Independent research carried out by London Economics in 2010.

Do all universities accept BTECs?

95% of universities and colleges in the UK accept BTEC students, including competitive universities from the Russell Group (which now has 24 universities in its group including 4 of the top 5 universities) with more than 50% of 20 to 30 year-olds going on to higher education have progressed via studying a BTEC.

Nearly all universities accept BTECs in relevant subject areas, similar to how they would with equivalent A-level qualifications.

BTEC students can often be better prepared in terms of the independent studying that’s required at degree level, due to the portfolio-based nature of BTEC courses. The time management and self-organisation you’ll pick up on a BTEC course can also give you an added edge.

BTEC students achieving good grades are just as sought after as students with good A-level results – here’s how to widen your options even further.

It is important to research, as early as possible, what the entry requirements are for courses you’re interested in. For some BTEC students studying at National Diploma level, it might be that you are required to study an additional A-level, or equivalent, in order to meet the minimum UCAS points or specific grades offered. This is in the same way that an A-level student may need to have taken a certain number of A-levels, or studied particular subjects in order to get on to a course.

BTEC students have the experience of real-life practical tasks and work placements. This will set you aside from students studying A-levels, who don’t usually have this element as a part of their course.

For a subject such as Health & Social Care, the work placements in areas such as childcare or healthcare settings can make for strong and well-rounded applications to courses including nursing, social work or health and social care degrees.

As with A-levels, there are many transferable opportunities in terms of subjects e.g. if you have studied for a BTEC in one subject area, you can apply for a different subject at university.

Studying an applied science BTEC can lead on to degree programmes in chemistry, biochemistry, food science or zoology, to name just a few examples.