From education to employment

The Study Programme: a new approach to lead 16-19 year olds into further education and employment


It’s a new year and we’re looking ahead to the changes, challenges and opportunities that 2013 will bring. The introduction of Study Programmes from September 2013 is one change, representing a radical transition in the way quality vocational education and training is provided for young people aged 16-19.

All 16 to 19-year-olds will be offered balanced, high quality Study Programmes to open up their options and give them the best chance of progression into further training opportunities or lasting employment. The majority of learners will also take part in work experience.

A Study Programme is to consist of a minimum of 540 learning hours and is made up of a substantial core programme of study (either academic or vocational), combined with Maths, English (where appropriate) and any additional learning  or work experience. This empowers providers to design learning to meet the needs of a range of different learners. The hope is that Study Programmes will stretch and motivate learners, helping them to build new skills through valuable, nationally recognised qualifications which are of sufficient size, weight and relevance.

This is particularly timely in the light of the recent findings from The Prince’s Trust Youth Index. The index looks at how young people feel about their lives across a range of areas from family life to emotional health. The results showed that one in 10 young people feel they can’t cope with day-to-day life, and that young people not in employment, education or training (NEET) are more than twice as likely to feel unhappy. Worryingly, 27% of young people believe their prospects have been “permanently damaged” by the double-dip recession.

The Study Programme is a way of restoring the confidence and wellbeing of young people across the country, equipping them with the skills and qualifications they need to enter the labour market and succeed long-term. Study Programmes are based on a commitment to excellence; this is certainly something that we believe in here at NCFE, through our commitment to quality, raising standards within education and providing young people with pathways to employability.

NCFE offers a range of qualifications which meet the requirements of the Study Programme and support other priorities facing the 16-19 market. We have a portfolio of valuable vocational qualifications from a range of sectors, starting at Foundation Level and progressing to Level 3 and beyond, that offer progression into employment and higher level studies and include Functional Skills in English and Maths.

We also offer a number of qualifications which can be delivered alongside the Study Programme to prepare your learners for securing employment at the end of their training and support them with their work placement. These qualifications include NCFE Level 2 Award in Developing Skills for the Workplace, NCFE Entry Level 3, Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 Awards and Certificates in Employability Skills, NCFE Entry Level 3, Level 1 and Level 2 Awards and Certificates in Enterprise Skills, NCFE Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 Awards in Job Search and Interview Skills and NCFE Entry Level 1, Level 1 and Level 2  Awards and Certificates in

Occupational Studies. These qualifications support the development of key employability skills and give structure to work experience, enabling students to demonstrate the skills that they’ve learnt and how they can be applied in the workplace.

You can visit our website, or get in touch with your local NCFE Business Development team for help with your curriculum planning for the Study Programme.

We’re also running a series of ‘Work Readiness’ events across the country in York (30 January), Birmingham (12 February) and London (1 March). These free events cover key areas on the education agenda such as the Study Programme. They will also feature a funding and policy update from Nick Linford (Managing Director of Lsect and FE Week) along with other not-to-be missed speakers including Adrian Bailey MP (Chairman of the BIS Select Committee) and the Relationship Director at The Skills Funding Agency.

David Grailey is chief executive of NCFE, the training provider

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