Education: What are your options at 16 and beyond?

Colleges offer a huge range of courses to study aside from A-Levels

Colleges offer a huge range of courses to study aside from A-Levels - Credit: Archant

With GCSE results day taking place next Thursday (August 23), it’s time for students to start thinking about what’s next. Sixth form is not the only option; there’s a range of courses and qualifications out there, and a further education college can help prepare you for the next stage in your education or career.

The courses are tailored to prepare you for the world of work

The courses are tailored to prepare you for the world of work - Credit: Archant


Greater choice

Colleges offer an exceptional range of subjects and qualifications if A levels are not the right route for you. North Herts College (NHC) has more than 90 to choose from, and at a variety of levels to suit your goals. Full time courses at the college are available in business, engineering, construction, the creative industries, health and social care, childhood studies, IT, catering, hair & beauty, tourism and sport.


Prepared for the world of work

College courses are tailored towards preparing young people for the world of work. NHC works closely with businesses both locally and nationally to understand what they are looking for, and designs courses to provide the skills and knowledge that future employers will expect.

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NHC has outstanding relationships with some amazing businesses that are committed to working with their students. Students enjoy work experience placements with employers like Fujitsu, Sainsbury’s, Hilton Hotels and TUI Group.

In NHC’s most recent Ofsted inspection they were praised for providing their students with “well-planned individualised work experience that closely supports student’s career plans and future aspirations.”

NHC know that they are a stepping stone, supporting every single one of their students as they progress to higher levels and into work. They’ll help you think about what you want to do next throughout your time with them and they’ll work with you tirelessly to get you there.


Different environment

Studying at college is unlike school. You’ll be mixing with people aged from 16 to older students returning to education. Depending on your course, your timetable might be shorter or more flexible than you have previously experienced at school, which means you will have more time for self-study.

A spokesperson for North Herts College said: “At NHC you are treated like an adult in charge of your own destiny. We trust that students who come to us are ready to make their own decisions but we also impress upon every student the values and behaviours expected by employers when they enter the workplace.”


16-18 year olds pay no course fees

Lots of courses for adults are also free, and in some circumstances you could be entitled to financial support to complete your studies.


Student Success Story

A Level 3 Applied Science student joined NHC in 2015 after previously studying AS levels at his school, but he didn’t achieve the grades required to progress into a degree in dentistry. Throughout his course, the student was a lively and active member of the class, becoming the class representative in the second year of his studies.

He demonstrated full commitment and dedication to achieving the highest possible grades throughout the two years he spent at NHC. He also took part in the leaders in science scheme that the College runs in partnership with the science-led global healthcare company, GSK.

During his second year on the course, the student completed the UKCAT test with strong scores in each area and then applied to Bristol University’s Gateway to Dentistry course. After interviews and aptitude tests, the university made him an offer with a condition of achieving very high grades in his BTEC.

He worked hard and achieved the grades required to secure his place at Bristol University. He is now studying his dentistry course, which was his aspiration since leaving school.


About North Herts College

North Herts College (NHC) is Hertfordshire’s highest achieving college.* An Ofsted inspection in November confirmed that courses are ‘Good with Outstanding features’, the best of any college in Hertfordshire and among the top-rated FE colleges in the country.

Kit Davies, CEO of the Hart Learning Group and Principal of North Hertfordshire College said: “I’m incredibly proud of our status as the best further education college in Hertfordshire; we’re good and continuing to get better.

“Over the past three years we’ve developed a proven model for high-quality teaching, curriculum management and improvement and are now seeing the results of our significant transformation.

“Everything we do here at NHC helps prepare our students for their next steps by equipping them with the skills and knowledge that they’ll need in their future career. We look forward to continuing to provide the best education and training for the Hertfordshire area.”

Visit the North Herts College website for a full list of courses for school leavers, adult learners, apprenticeships and more.

*DfE National Achievement Rate Tables: 2016/17


For more information on North Herts College visit

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