Qualifications Explained

Essential Skills
(Entry Level 1, 2, 3 and Level 1 and 2 available)

Essential Skills are intended to provide people with a set of core skills desired by employers, the three Essential Skills areas are:
  • Numeracy
  • Literacy
  • Information Communication Technology
  • Essential Skills therefore assist personal and social development and improve opportunities for employment.
All students who enrol in the College who do not have GCSE English and/or Maths at Grade A-C or equivalent must complete Essential Skills qualifications.
BTEC First Diploma / Diploma
(Level 2 Qualifications - Equivalent to 4 GCSEs Grades A-C)

A BTEC First Diploma provides good preparation both for employment and more advanced courses such as a BTEC National Award, Certificate or Diploma. First Diplomas are practical, work-related courses where you learn by completing projects and assignments that are based on realistic workplace situations, activities and demands. They are one-year full-time programmes of study.
 
Course & Duration Entry Requirements (UK) Entry Requirements (ROI) Progression
SWC UNI JOBS
1 year
A qualification worth 4 GCSEs, as well as practical skills, to allow you to move onto a Level 3 course.
Attempted 4 GCSEs, achieved 2 Grades (D-F) Leaving Cert Applied - Pass Yes    
National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs)
(Level 2 and 3 Qualifications available)

These qualifications are industry and employment based and involves trainees undertaking a programme of study that will have a work placement component.
 
Course & Duration Entry Requirements (UK) Entry Requirements (ROI) Progression
SWC UNI JOBS
(Level 2 to Level 4)
1 or 2 years
TfS (NVQ L1 & L2)
Undertake practical, work-related tasks designed to help you develop the skills and knowledge to do a particular job effectively.
NVQ Levels 2 to 4:
Previous NVQ Level or equivalent
NVQ Levels 2 to 4:
Previous NVQ Level or equivalent
Yes (L2 - L4) Yes (L3 & L4) Yes (L2 - L4)
BTEC Extended Diplomas
(Level 3 Qualifications - Equivalent to 3 GCE A Levels)

This is a route to both Higher Education and Employment and provides both a broad foundation and a firm basis for specialism in a selected route. They are normally offered in specific vocational areas. BTEC Extended Diplomas are two year full-time programmes of study. They are accredited through the National Award/Certificate which are 6 and 12 unit qualifications respectively, and the Extended Diploma which is an 18 unit qualification.
 
Course & Duration Entry Requirements (UK) Entry Requirements (ROI) Progression
SWC UNI JOBS
2 years
A qualification related to your chosen career, equal to 3 A levels. The practical work experience and skills will prepare you for work or higher level study.
  • 4 GCSE passes (C or above)
  • Level 2 Diploma (Merit)
  • NVQ Level 2
  • OCR Qualification
  • City & Guilds Qualification
  • 4 Ordinary Passes (D1 or above)
  • Leaving Certificate Applied (Merit/Distinction)
Yes (HND/C or Found Degree) Yes Yes
Access Courses
(Adult Learning - 1 year Full-time or 2 Years Part-time)
 
Course & Duration Entry Requirements (UK) Entry Requirements (ROI) Progression
SWC UNI JOBS
1 year
This course is a bridge to higher education. It is designed for adult learners who wish to enhance their qualifications in preparation for higher level study.
  • Aged 18 & over*
  • Interview
  • Aged 18 & over*
  • Interview
Yes Yes Yes
Higher National Diplomas
(Level 4 Qualifications - Equivalent to...)
 
Course & Duration Entry Requirements (UK) Entry Requirements (ROI) Progression
SWC UNI JOBS
2 years
You will combine practical skills, work experience and academic study to gain a vocational qualification that leads to
employment or 2nd/ 3rd year at university.
See entry points
below
See entry points
below
  Yes Yes
Foundation Degrees
(Level 5 Qualifications – 2 years Full-time, 3 Years Part-time or 2 Years Part-time fast track – includes 3 summer semesters)
 
Course & Duration Entry Requirements (UK) Entry Requirements (ROI) Progression
SWC UNI JOBS
2 years
A third level qualification which combines college study with a 15 week block work-based learning placement to give you relevant knowledge, understanding and skills for your career.
See entry points
below
See entry points
below
Yes (for some courses) Yes Yes
Degrees
(Level 5 Qualifications – 2 years Full-time, 3 Years Part-time or 2 Years Part-time fast track – includes 3 summer
semesters)
Entry Explained
UK Qualifications
BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma BTEC L3 Diploma Access Diploma A Levels
Grade Profile UCAS Tariff Points Grade Profile UCAS Tariff Points % Pass Grade UCAS Tariff Points Grade UCAS Tariff Points
D* D* D* 168 D* D* 112     A* 56
D* D* D 160 D* D 104 75 168 A 48
D*DD 152 D D 96 70 136-120 B 40
DDD 144 DM 80 65 112-104 C 32
DDM 128 MM 64 60 96-88 D 24
DMM 112 PM 48     E 16
MMM 96 PP        
MMP 80      
MPP 64    
PPP 48

ROI Qualifications
Irish Leaving Certificate - Higher and Ordinary FETAC Award
Higher Grade UCAS Tariff Points Ordinary Grade UCAS Tariff Points Entry to HND / C Full 8 subject
Level 5 Major Award with five
subjects at Merit Level and the
remainder (three) at pass level.
A1 36 A1 12
A2 30 A2 10
B1 30 B1 10
B2 24 B2 8
B3 24 B3 8
C1 18 Foundation Maths:
Foundation Mathematics at A2 and ILC D1 Ordinary will be accapted as subsidiary entry qualifications. However, for progression to degree
programmes, it is advised that GCSE mathematics is undertaken by those students holding an A2 in Foundation Mathematics.
C2 18
C3 12
D1 12
D2 9
D3 9

For full details on UCAS Tariffs please download the UCAS Tariff Leaflet

Entry Requirements
What qualifications do I need to gain entry to my chosen course?
 
  Standard Requirements Duration
Level 1 0-5 points
1 Year Full-Time Level 2 6 points 1 Year full-time (Check individual courses for any specific entry requirements)
 
Level 3 Minimum 4 GCSEs Grade A*- C Or First Diploma or equivalent
The points system may be used for enhancement
2 Year full-time (Check individual courses for any specific entry requirements)

Points System for Entry to Level 1 & Level 2 Courses
GCSE Grade Points
A* 6
A 5
B 4
C 3
D 2
E - G 1
Essential Skills in Numeracy, Literacy & ICT at Level 1 and 2 are considered by the College for entry purposes.

Enhanced Criteria
Where courses are oversubscribed, the College reserves the right to enhance the criteria for entry. South West College particularly welcomes applications from mature students. Standard admission requirements may not be applicable to applicants with alternative qualifications or experience. Further information is available from the Careers and Information Officers at each campus.

English Language Requirements
The language of instruction for College courses is English and it is strongly advisable that students who wish to benefit fully from a College course should be suitably proficient in English (ESOL Level 1). South West College aims to fully support students who require additional help with their English and courses in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) are provided by the College. For further information about ESOL courses, Contact Student Services/Admissions.