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Core qualifications include GCSEs, A-levels, BTECs and NVQs, and in Scotland these also include Nationals and Highers. They can be studied in numerous different ways, full-time, part-time, online or at a local college. 

Core qualifications are useful to employers as it gives a formal introduction to your skills. They may be used to enter the workplace for the first time, or upskill to move to a better job or improve your career prospects in the company you are currently employed in.

Some courses may need entry requirements, for example to undertake A-level you must already possess a number of GCSEs. As a general rule, you need to have completed the education levels below the one you are looking to undertake. For example, if you are looking at taking a Level 3 BTEC you need to have completed some level 2 courses. For more information about the levels of courses, please see our Levels of National Qualifications page. 

For more information about the qualifications and what subjects you can study, please see our Qualifications page. 

These qualifications are subject-based, so think about what you want to achieve from the courses, and which subjects might help you along the way. If you want a more hands-on career, the more practical courses of NVQs and BTECs can be studied in conjuction with apprenticeships (see worked-based qualifications below for more information) and you'll also have the benefit of a salary!

If you are over 24 years of age and live in England you can take out a 24+ Advanced Learning Loan if you are undertaking A-levels, while if you study full-time you may also be entitles to Discretionary Learner Support which helps with accommodation, travel and childcare. For more information, please see our Lifelong Learning Funding page. 

You can undertake these core skills at your local further education college (you can search the National Careers Service to find your local college), or for more information about how to undertake these courses online please see our Distance Learning providers on the right.