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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

Pathway to Vocational Studies Level 1 is a BTEC study program that allows students to develop and prepare for their future specialist sector.  They will be able to try out a variety of different vocational areas within their year of study.


How does it work?

All students will:


Attend college for three days and will attend a vocational area of their choice on Friday of each week.  The vocational areas are;


  • Business
  • Hairdressing
  • Animal Studies
  • Computing
  • Music and Media
  • Sport
  • Culinary Arts
  • Hair and Beauty
  • Catering and Hospitality
  • Tourism and Events


PPE will be provided for each student if required in the area they are attending on Fridays.

Students will continue to study English and maths lessons to improve their grades for further progression.

Participate in health and well-being sessions tailored to the industry pathway and student needs

Go on a variety of trips and visits to various fun and exciting locations 

Have opportunities to meet with guest speakers and employers from their chosen industry. 

Work on live projects based on the chosen industry pathway


The Duke of Edinburgh award plays an important part of the student's progression.  The opportunity to register and complete the 4 stages of the program to achieve this prestigious award

Entry requirements

4 x GCSE Grades 1/2 OR progression from another course within college.

All students will be interviewed before they start the course and must demonstrate a ready to learn attitude and enthusiasm to participate in the various industries and lessons.


Pathway to Vocational Studies Level 1

What you'll learn (core modules)

Being Organised

Developing a Personal Progression Plan

Creating a Mood Board

Contributing to your community

Practical Actions to Protect the Environment

Benefits, skills and character strengths

The Pathway course will teach students, through the qualification and The Duke of Edinburgh award, the skills needed to:

  • Become more confident in a variety of different vocational areas of their choice.
  • Make well-informed decisions towards positive future goals.
  • Work as part of a team.
  • Take on new challenges through the Duke of Edinburgh award
  • Take part in social and community projects
  • Undertake vocational tasters and work-related learning within the college, community, and workplace (as appropriate to individual needs and future goals).

To help you achieve and progress onto the next level of learning or employment, you will be working on developing the following character strengths: Ambition, Confidence, Curiosity, Optimism, Ownership, Resilience, Respect and Self-Control.

How will I be assessed?

The Assessment methods will vary, there will be some written work, some practical work and assessment opportunities within trips and visits. Please note that there are NO formal exams on the course with the exception of Maths and English.

Where is the course delivered? (facilities/classrooms)

The course will mainly be delivered in classroom, however some activities will be outdoors

Where will the course take me?

The course will take you into your chosen vocational area or department providing you have achieved the entry requirements specific to them

Will I need any materials or equipment?

You will need basic equipment, such as pens, pencils, notebooks.

Your own electronic device, such as ipad, tablet or laptop will be useful and we have locker storage at college

How much will it cost?

The course is free

I'm interested. What should I do now?

Apply through the college website if you are a new student


 if you are a progressing student please contact

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Can I apply for a bursary now?

Yes, please do this after you have applied for the course to allow time for it to be processed.

Days & times

Starting September 2023

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If there is anything more you would like to know about this course, please message us here.

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