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This study programme is designed for 16 to 19 year olds (aged 19 to 24 for students with an Education, Health and Care Plan).

All courses take place on our Sixth Form Campus, therefore any applicants aged 25+ or over who do not have an Education, Health and Care Plan may be required to complete a DBS check as part of the conditional offer to West Suffolk College. The cost to the applicant for a DBS is £30.00 and the DBS check can be completed through the college.

Please visit our Adult EducationDegrees and Employer section for alternative courses.

About the course

The Extended Diploma in Business is a prestigious academic qualification and is the equivalent of studying 3 A-Levels. This provides learners with the opportunity to develop knowledge, understanding and skills surrounding Business with specialist pathways of study in Business, Law and Marketing.  
It is a two-year programme involving the study of 13 units, examples include, Exploring Business, Personal and Business Finance, Principles of Management, International Business, Investigating Customer Service, Employment Law, The English Legal System, Managing an Event, Recruitment and Selection, & Acts of Criminal Liability. Learners will be assessed through a variety of methods; these involve both internal and external assessments which will allow learners to develop their vocational and study skills.  
Learners will be supported with their progression towards higher education and future employment â€“ based within the Business sector. They will be given the opportunity to gain valuable work-related experience to give them the insight and connections with working within the Business and professional industries. In addition, learners have the opportunity to undertake further short courses alongside their main qualification which evolve with industry demand such as WorldHost Principles in Customer Service, Introduction to Barista and QNUK Emergency First Aid at Work.


This qualification provides full-time learners with the opportunity to develop the knowledge and the range of business skills essential for a successful career in a range of sectors. Businesses of all shapes and sizes are facing huge challenges in today's economic climate. The structure of the programme provides an innovative and creative curriculum, providing learners with knowledge about the evolving business environment, future challenges and the importance of technology relevant to business of all shapes and sizes. 


In year 1, learners are exposed to a range of business principles which include economics, marketing, finance, employment law and events management.  When progressing to year 2, learners have the opportunity to build on the foundations established in year 1, or take a more specialist pathway in business and marketing, law or accounting and finance.   


To fully appreciate the business sector, you need to get out there. During the course, you will be exposed to successful business speakers, business organisations and industry specialists. Visits will be linked to your course criteria, allowing you to gaining valuable insight into the running of real businesses. Throughout the course you will be supported by staff who have real life experience and a true passion for industry. Delivery strategies will include real life project-based scenarios involving industry 'clients', national competitions and challenges.


Whatever your long term goals may be, this course will equip you with the fundamental skills that underpin businesses across a range of sectors, providing a solid foundation for your next steps into employment, higher education, apprenticeship, self-employment in a trade or a stepping stone to starting your own business.


The Level 3 Business courses are sponsored by Trident Marketing, The Lively Crew and Scrutton Bland.






How do I know if there are still places on the course? The business course is in very high demand, so it is advisable to apply by following the online application process to give yourself the best chance of securing a place.  Our administration team will then contact you.

Do I need to complete work experience? Yes, you will be expected to complete a minimum of 40 hours of work experience to support your qualification. This is an ideal opportunity for you to gain an insight into a new business sector or build on the business skills required for operation in a trade should you be interested in starting your own business or pursuing a specific trade e.g. beauty therapy, hairdressing, bricklaying, carpentry.

Will I need to find my own work experience? We encourage students to try to find their own work experience, however we have a dedicated work placement officer within the team should you need support finding a placement.

Is this course suitable for me if I want to start my own business or pursue a trade? Yes, the course will give you the fundamental skills required to run your own business, as well as support the needs of self-employed workers. The course would be an excellent choice for budding entrepreneurs, as well as for someone that has already studied a trade or plans to in the future.

Do I need to wear uniform? No, however when students are taking part in projects or visits, we expect students to wear business dress.

Entry requirements

Entry is by interview. Candidates will need either a minimum of four GCSE's at Grade 4 (C) or above, including maths or English at Grade 4 (C), or a Level 2 qualification merit grade or above. Applicants will need to be able to be motivated and manage their own time. Learners will need to have a mature and responsible outlook, as they will be required to work with a high degree of independence throughout much of the course.


The College offers a wide menu of Level 3 Diplomas. We will work with all learners in their first six weeks at College to place them on the appropriate Diploma programme that best meets their individual needs and best ensures their success. Within this course, learners will have the opportunity to take either BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Business, BTEC Level 3 Foundation Diploma in Business, or BTEC Extended Certificate in Business.

What you'll learn (core modules)

Learners will be timetabled for three days per week with two independent study days which will support research and investigation. With social distancing likely to be a factor for the foreseeable future, it may be necessary to review timetables across the term to ensure a safe learning environment which involves a larger emphasises on virtual learning.


In addition to the core programme learners are required to undertake mandatory work experience where they have the opportunity to enhance existing skills, as well as further developing transferable skills in a business context. In addition, learners have the opportunity to take part in an industry work placement one day a week.  These are year long placements which work around the course timetable, giving learners the opportunity to gain a more in-depth experience which can be linked to existing part-time employment. This is an ideal opportunity for students to gain an insight into a new business sector or build on the business skills required for operation in a trade for learners that are interested in starting their own business or pursuing a specific trade.   


Trips will be arranged during the year to support curriculum delivery and there may be opportunities for a European residential visit.


Any student aged 16 to 19 who does not hold a GCSE A* to C (9 to 4 on the new grading structure) or equivalent qualifications in Maths and English by age 16 will need to continue to study these subjects in each academic year.

Benefits, skills and character strengths

The business course provides learners with the fundamental skills that underpin businesses across all sectors, which are supporting throughout West Suffolk College by our core character strengths:

  • Curiosity to find out more and learn
  • Optimum to look on the positive side of events and situations and expect the best of others
  • Ambition to have high expectations and aspirations with a 'can do' attitude
  • Ownership to take responsibility and control of your own behaviour and look after the working environment 
  • Self-control to be able to control your own behaviour when pushed or under pressure 
  • Respect to show positive feelings of admiration for others that you believe have good ideas or qualities 
  • Confidence to be certain of your abilities

How will I be assessed?

A range of assessment strategies are used to up skill learners and prepare them for their next steps upon competition of the course.  Examples include:

  • Written reports
  • Vlogs, blogs, log books, production diaries
  • Role play
  • Articles for journals, press releases, web pages
  • Production of visual or audio materials
  • Presentations
  • Exams/ controlled assessments

Where is the course delivered? (facilities/classrooms)

We understand it is important to evolve with the ever changing demands of the world to meet the needs of society and businesses therefore we embrace the use of both physical and virtual classrooms across our business programmes.


  • West Suffolk College main campus, Out Risbygate, Bury St. Edmunds
  • Virtual learning platforms  

Where will the course take me?

Whatever your long term goals may be, knowledge of the core principles of business will provide a solid foundation for your next steps which could include:

  • Further courses that benefit from a business foundation e.g. health and beauty, hairdressing and barbering, carpentry 
  • Apprenticeships
  • Higher Education courses
  • AAT
  • New business start up
  • Learners will be able to progress after year 1 to pathways in Finance and Accounting Marking, Law and General Business. Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in Understanding Enterprise and Entrepreneurship (20 week course)

Will I need any materials or equipment?

  • Computerised device e.g. laptop
  • Storage of electronic work e.g. Virtual storage, USB stick
  • BTEC national business: student book 1 (2016 specification).  Phillips, J. et al. (2016) BTEC Nationals business : for the 2016 specifications. London: Pearson Education
  • Standard learner stationery e.g. A4 note book with organiser, ring binder folder, plastic wallets and stationary
  • Business dress for competitions/ speakers 

I'm interested. What should I do now?

  • Apply online by completing the online application form using the 'Apply Online' button at the bottom of this page. To complete the application process you will need to register, or login if you are already have a user account

  • Once you have made you application, you will be contacted to arrange an interview.  If you have any further questions, see our FAQ section below, or contact our admissions team 

  • Complete the summer task
  • Sign up to our business Instagram feed to keep up to date with course information @business_extended_diploma
  • Subscribe to our YouTube page for further insights in the courses we offer

Days & times

Starting September 2023

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