The research in this report was motivated by our personal involvement with BTEC from the 1980s onwards, as teachers, managers, franchisers, assessors, selectors and evaluators, in schools, colleges and universities. During this time,16-19 learners in England have chosen between a stable academic route (A level, largely unchanged since its introduction in 1951) and a succession of vocational initiatives that have sometimes been withdrawn before they have even been fully implemented (GNVQ, AVCE, 14-19 Diplomas).
Amidst this vocational uncertainty, the BTEC level 3 Diploma has offered almost 40 years of stability, providing a broadly vocational route that offers choice, flexibility and routes to further education, training or university. We know from personal experience that it offers an approach to teaching and learning that enables students who are not suited to exam-based courses to show their full potential. It also equips learners to make well-informed choices about their Next Steps.
The research presented in this report was motivated by our desire to fill an apparent gap in the debate by giving voice to those able to speak with authenticity on the value of BTEC: adults who could reflect on the lifelong impact of the BTEC qualification they had taken.
REAL WORK with REAL EMPLOYERS was key to young people’s success
For those without GCSEs, BTEC levels 1 to 3 offer a second chance that truly 'levels up'