Career tools

Entry Level

What is it?

If you want to gain a qualification that is recognised across the UK, but don't feel ready for GCSEs or similar qualifications, an Entry Level qualification could be for you. They are available in a wide range of subjects.

Entry level qualifications can help you build skills, increase your knowledge and boost your confidence. They are known as 'certificates' or 'awards', and are open to anyone interested in gaining a recognised qualification. There are no entry requirements.

There are three different Entry Levels, which are broadly the same as the National Curriculum levels 1, 2 and 3.

Subjects you can take

There are over 100 Entry Level Certificates to choose from. These include:

  • English, science and maths and other traditional subjects
  • literacy, numeracy, life skills and other skills
  • hairdressing or office practice and other specific vocational subjects that tell you about a particular area of work
  • general vocational subjects that give you a broad introduction to the world of work

When and where you can take them

You can study Entry Level Certificates at a pace that suits you. If you choose to do them at school, you will complete them in Years 11 and 12 (ages 14 to 16).

They may also be available in:

  • Further Education colleges
  • the workplace
  • community settings through voluntary work
  • prisons and young offenders' institutions
  • residential or daycare settings

Where they can lead

You can progress from one entry level to the next. At Entry 3, the qualifications are designed to help you move on to further qualifications, such as:

  • GCSEs
  • Key Skills
  • Skills for Life
  • NVQs
  • BTEC Introductory or Level 1 BTEC Awards, Certificates or Diplomas

They can also lead to work-based learning, like an Apprenticeship, or straight to a job.

Help and advice

Speak to your teacher or contact your local FE college about the range of entry level qualifications on offer. You can also contact the National Careers Service