Personal Pathways: BTEC Vocational programme

At RBIS we understand that a wholly academic stream of study is not suited to everyone. That’s why we offer students the opportunity to take a more vocational pathway with Pearson’s BTEC (Business and Technology Educational Council) which allows students a hands on opportunity to explore higher level programmes of study. From August 2019, RBIS is proud to launch its Art and Design BTEC, with a view of introducing more subjects  in the future.

The BTEC consists of unitised work which allows students to progress through the programme knowing how well they are doing. These units are assessed internally and all courses involve an externally assessed module. The BTEC can be combined with A level study or can be the entire focus of a students education. BTEC is a fantastic way to prepare students for the world of work and further education. One in five students at university in the United Kingdom have  completed a BTEC and the qualification is accepted in many universities globally in the USA, Australia, Hong Kong and Canada and many Universities in Thailand’s international programmes are beginning to recognise the BTEC.


What is a BTEC?

A BTEC (Business and Technology Education Council) is a unitized vocational course which prepares students for University or employment. It has been a recognized qualification in the UK for over 30 years and has very recently been launched by Pearson in Thailand as well. It is an alternative pathway to A level and allows a more ‘hands on’ approach to education.

The BTEC is broken down into units of work, some are core and some are  optional. The units are assessed internally and externally moderated.


Is it as good as A levels?

Quite simply, it’s a very different type of course to A levels. Many people believe that vocational courses are not as well thought of at universities as more traditional qualifications such as A levels. However, in the UK 1 in 4 students enrolled on undergraduate degree courses studied BTEC and not A levels. There are several different options of study for BTEC, all of which have equivalence to A levels in some way. They begin with a BTEC level 3 certificates which are equivalent to  0.5 of an A level, and range all the way to a full level 3 extended diploma, equivalent to 3 A levels. They can also be studied as single full time courses or alongside other A levels.


How is it assessed?

The BTEC is a unitised qualification in which students are given a unit front sheet or brief in which they will have to produce a portfolio of work for. These units are then assessed by the teacher in school and externally moderated by an examiner. Each BTEC has a selection of Core units a student must complete, and a number of optional units; much like a British degree.

Students are then awarded either a Pass, Merit or Distinction for the unit. All the units at the end of the course will be calculated to give a student an overall grade for the course (again Pass, Merit or Distinction). If a student does not manage to get at least a Pass on a unit, they are able to retake the unit using a new task.

This manner of assessment enables students to gain greater skills in independence that better prepare them for University study and employment.


How do the units work in BTEC?

There are various levels of study in BTEC; levels 1 and 2 are equivalent to GCSEs and Level 3 national Diplomas are equivalent to A levels. The level 3 BTEC can be studied alongside A levels or as a course on its own. This is due to the different BTEC entries. Each entry contains a different amount of units and will result in different equivalencies:

BTEC Level 3 National Certificate – 2 units (1 mandatory, 1 externally assessed) – 0.5 A levels

BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate – 4 units (2 mandatory, 2 externally assessed) – 1 A level

BTEC Level 3 National Foundation Diploma – 6 units (4 mandatory, 2 externally assessed – 1.5 A levels

BTEC Level 3 National Diploma – 2 A Levels

BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma – 3 A Levels


Who is eligible to study BTEC

Anyone is able to study a BTEC,  as long as a student is hardworking , independent and has a drive to succeed, they can finish the qualification ready for university. The BTEC, more so than A levels, teaches students to be independent, pro-active critical thinkers. The units are largely project based which involve students engaging in elements of research, production and reflection.


The Gateway Qualification into UK universities from Thailand

Many students in international schools in Thailand complete A levels as it is the only  option after IGCSEs. However, many students struggle with either the academic demand of the courses; the rigid assessment criteria; or even the language used in the exams and content. The BTEC is finally a qualification that will allow international students a vocational pathway to top UK Universities. In fact, 1 in 4 students at universities in the UK have a BTEC and not A levels. BTECs are accepted in almost all universities in the UK, even Cambridge and Oxford.

From August 2019, RBIS is proud to launch its Art and Design BTEC, with a view of introducing more subjects in the future. Join us for your direct pathway to a UK education.