From education to employment

Foundation learning – helping our 14-19 year olds


One area of growing interest to NCFE is our engagement with a growing number of 14-19 year olds, who may be at risk of dropping out of education.  We want to help them achieve greater economic and social well-being.

Foundation Learning is a flexible framework of qualifications, which recognises that there are a large variety of learners with different needs and progression aims.

The framework for Foundation Learning allows schools, colleges and training providers to create personalised programmes which meet the particular needs, interests and aspirations of the individual learner. These programmes provide positive opportunities for progression towards an intended long term destination – to Diplomas, GCSEs, apprenticeships, or, in some cases, to support employment and/or independent living.

At NCFE we have many positive examples of the excellent opportunities that Foundation Learning provides young people.

For example, The Crew Club, an innovative youth centre and digital training hub based in Whitehawk, is committed to providing exciting opportunities for young people. As part of this work, the club has formed a successful partnership with Varndean College to support the development of 14-19 year olds who have struggled to achieve through traditional academic learning in school.

Together with the college, The Crew Club runs a series of programmes under Foundation Learning that proactively recruits a diverse range of young people from this deprived community. The recruitment varies from young people with health issues, poor attendance or learning needs to those who may be carers, asylum seekers or from travelling communities.

The programmes consist of 3 elements to help young people engage with learning:

• Functional Skills in English, Maths and ICT from Entry Level 3 to Level 1

• A Personal and Social Development element, which works on confidence, self-esteem and life skills

• A vocational element, spanning the subject areas of music, enterprise media or care. As part of this, the partnership offers NCFE qualifications in Music Technology, Enterprise Skills and Customer Service.

From last year’s cohort, the programme saw a fantastic level of success with 100% achievement, 90% progression and 89.4% average attendance. Some of the students left with 9 qualifications!

We’ve developed an extensive range of qualifications that meet the needs of Foundation Learning. Qualification areas include Arts, Media and Publishing, Business Administration and Law, Information and Communication Technology, Preparation for Life and Work, Health, Public Services and Care and Leisure, Travel and Tourism.

For further information please visit or ring our Research and Development team on 0191 239 8000

David Grailey is chief executive of NCFE, the training provider


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