Plenty of people still believe the clichés about BTECs – the old 'A-levels are better' argument is one that never seems to go away.
But is there any truth to it? In 2017, over 25% of the students who started university had a BTEC. That's compared with 18% back in 2010 and it's a ratio that's risen consistently since 2008.
BTEC qualifications also represent a route into a first job. BTECs are recognised in more than 100 countries and, since the qualifications were developed with different industries, many of the skills you learn are tailored to the workplace.
So, taking a BTEC doesn't mean you're closing down your options – far from it. Here's what you need to know about some of the routes you can take with a BTEC.
Why do students choose BTEC qualifications?
You might choose to do a BTEC because you want to gain practical knowledge and employability skills.
It could help you into employment, because it equips you with the skills that are attractive to employers straight away.
How easy is it to study a BTEC qualification alongside other qualifications?
You can choose to take a BTEC that's the equivalent of one, two or three A-levels. There’s nothing to stop you studying for other qualifications alongside a BTEC. But BTECs on their own can be quite intensive and you might find you simply don’t have the capacity to devote to more than one qualification at a time.
Remember many BTECs are the equivalent of three A-levels or a foundation degree at university so there is plenty of work involved in studying for them.
Would I be able to go to university with a BTEC?
Yes! Of course, the qualifications you’ll need will depend on the course and the uni that’s running it. But most universities will accept BTEC alongside other qualifications and that includes the Russell Group unis – even Oxford and Cambridge.
I’m worried about getting a job, do employers like BTEC?
BTECs were developed in partnership with industry and because of this there is emphasis on workplace skills. Your BTEC will have given you a great foundation and practical skills which employers are always on the lookout for. Couple that with a relevant degree and you’ll find your employability is pretty high.
According to Pearson, the global education company which runs BTEC, 90% of graduates who went to uni after BTEC are employed full-time and 62% of large companies have recruited graduates with a BTEC. It’s fair to say BTEC could give you a significant headstart.