- All UK further education institutions are held to strict quality standards, so that you can be sure that you are getting a world class education.
- UK further education institutions have strong links with industry, ensuring that what you learn is relevant to your career aspirations.
- Qualifications are approved on the basis that they meet industry needs.
- Many courses are designed and delivered in partnership with industry experts and local employers.
- Employers and further education institutions partner to offer apprenticeships, years in industry and work placements that all offer ways to work towards qualifications while working (subject to visa restrictions).
- Further education institutions are innovative, with state-of-the-art facilities mirroring the work-place. They make use of the latest technologies to teach and learn, and offer virtual reality employment-based learning experiences.
- Many further education institutions encourage entrepreneurial learning, including a focus on social enterprise activities. This develops innovative approaches and creative and critical thinking skills that allow you to set up your own enterprises, or rise to positions of influence within existing organisations.
- Many UK colleges are institutions of both further and higher education. They offer a wide range of full time and part time courses in a huge variety of subjects and specialisms, to different levels, to students from all over the world, and to students of all ages. This means you could be part of a vibrant student community.
What is a pathway course?
Foundation pathway courses can help you improve your English skills and give you the confidence to start undergraduate or postgraduate study.
Further education institutions offer many of the same courses as schools and higher education institutions, as well as vocational and technical courses designed to meet the needs of employers. They are taught in a way to suit those who prefer to learn in a vocational context.
You can find a list of UK further education colleges on these websites:
- England: Association of Colleges
- Wales: Colleges Wales
- Scotland: Colleges Scotland
- Northern Ireland: NI Direct
You can also search for a specific course using the National Careers Service course search.
What types of courses are there?
Academic pathway courses
Including AS and A levels, International Baccalaureate and undergraduate study – can lead to university, an apprenticeship or a job.
If you do not meet the academic or English language requirements set by the university that you are interested in, then a pathways course can help you plot a route onto your chosen degree.
Applied general or technical pathway courses
Including national vocational qualifications and business and technical qualifications – can lead to higher apprenticeships, higher education at college or university, or a job.
Occupational or professional pathway courses
Taken in apprenticeships or through training courses for employees – can lead to higher apprenticeships, a job or promotion.
Note: As apprenticeships are primarily focused on the job and employment, any international applicant must be eligible to work in the UK, as well as have the necessary visa.
Learn more about a UK education and pathway courses
More in this section
Studying for a postgraduate degree in the UK can transform your career, with many courses taking just one year to complete.
Get started in your academic career with a UK undergraduate degree.
Studying for a degree outside the UK
A life-changing UK degree, yet closer to home. Learn more about studying for a UK degree in your home country.
A boarding school is a residential school where pupils live and study during the school year. Find out all you need to know about UK boarding schools.
Improve your English
There’s no better place to master your English than in the UK, and there are a range of English language courses on offer to support your learning.
Other relevant websites
- Find out more about foundation degrees on UCAS
- Information on costs of further education courses on the UKCISA website