What is the difference between A Levels and Vocational study programmes?

Vocational study programmes are related to areas of work like Engineering or Health Care and are excellent if you know what kind of career you want. There’s usually more emphasis on coursework than exams and it’s often about learning practical skills that you can apply to the working world. You can go to university after studying a Vocational course.

A Levels tend to be a little more like GCSEs as they can be more exam based with more of a focus on theory. You will select three or four choices from a much wider range of subjects including options like English, Maths, Sciences, Film Studies, French or Art. Studying A Levels means that you can keep your options open if you want to go to university but aren’t sure what career to follow. Also, for some careers, like medicine, A Levels may be your only route.

It’s all about you; think about your style of learning and how you prefer to do things. If you like practical tasks then you might look at a Vocational course, but if you prefer facts and exams, then A Levels might be for you.

What are Apprenticeships?

Apprenticeships are a great way to start or develop a career whilst improving your prospects of finding a job in the industry you have chosen by doing a real job for a real employer.

You can get an Apprenticeship in a wide range of industries like Accountancy, Agriculture, Business Administration, Construction, Engineering, Hair and Beauty and Horticulture, plus many more.

As an Apprentice you will learn on the job, building up knowledge and skills, gaining qualifications and earning money at the same time. You will work towards a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) and tend to spend four days working with an employer and one day a week in College gaining your qualification.

Getting an Apprenticeship is like getting a job. You could be interviewed a few times and even asked to take tests to see if you’re the right person. It would be a good idea to contact a number of employers to keep your options open – so don’t get disheartened. Remember, be prepared to sell yourself and convince others that an Apprenticeship is right for you.

You can apply for apprenticeship vacancies using the National Apprenticeship website www.apprenticeships.org.uk

How do I apply?

Please visit our How To Apply page for information on how to make an application to college.

I'm having trouble applying online - what can I do?

If you have any problems or are unsure how to apply online please contact your School Careers Teacher or College Information Adviser. You can also contact our Admissions Team by telephone on: +44 (0)1226 216 106 or by email: interviews@barnsley.ac.uk

What happens after I have completed my application?

You will be contacted by Barnsley College inviting you in for an informal interview for each subject area that you are interested in. If you’re unable to attend, or miss an appointment, please contact Admissions or email interviews@barnsley.ac.uk to arrange another appointment.

I've completed my application but now I want to change my choices - what shall I do

Don’t worry, if you haven’t attended your first interview you can discuss your options at this point. Alternatively, if you change your mind after the interviews have been arranged all your details are held on our computer and we can easily make changes – there’s no need to complete another Application Form. Please contact Admissions or email interviews@barnsley.ac.uk.

What do I need to bring with me to my interview?

Please bring with you any information you have which will help us give you the best possible individual advice and guidance. This may include a recent school report, work experience or evidence of predicted/actual grades and recent school attendance report.

How will I know I have a place on the my chosen study programme?

At each subject area interview you will receive a letter stating the outcome. You will either have an Unconditional Offer, Conditional Offer or be Referred.

  • Unconditional Offer means you have already met the entry requirements for the study programme and have a confirmed place.
  • Conditional Offer means you have a place on the study programme, subject to achieving the entry requirements e.g. getting the right GCSEs, or passing any entry assessments.
  • Referred means you have been referred to an alternative, more suitable subject.

What happens after I have accepted my offer?

An enrolment pack will be sent to you at the beginning of August. This will contain all you need to know about enrolling to college. You will need to come and enrol at the end of August so please avoid booking holidays around this time.

What is enrolment?

Enrolment is where you officially sign-up for your course and is usually held at the end of August after you have received your GCSE results. You will meet your tutors, fill in all the necessary paperwork and get your student card.

What happens if I do not get the qualifications I need?

Don’t panic! Contact our Information Team and they can help you with your next step. You can also look on the website for details of when you can come in to college to an Advice and Guidance session for students who are unsure about their plans and/or disappointed with their GCSE results. The Information Team can be contacted by telephone: +44 (0)1226 216 123 or email info@barnsley.ac.uk

Will I have to pay for my study programme?

If you are aged 18 or under you will not have to pay any tuition fees for most college full time study programmes.

If you are aged 19 or over, please see our Course fees and funding page.

Can I get help with transport to college?

Please see our Student Travel page.

Can i get help with childcare costs?

Please see our Care to Learn page.