School Leavers / Further Education (16+)

Welcome to Further EducationSchool Leavers – What can I study?Course Types – Qualifications ExplainedStudy ProgrammesGAP – Work ExperienceApplying for a Full-Time courseOur Mini GuideParents and Carers – Welcome from the PrincipalParents and Carers – How can we help?Schools’ LiaisonStudent LifeCareers AdviceFAQ
About Us - Principals Welcome | Alison Andreas
At Colchester Institute we are passionate about your success.

Our aim is to provide you with every opportunity to gain the skills, knowledge and experience that will give you the best possible chance of succeeding on your course, progressing onto higher levels of study and gaining rewarding work in the job or career you have chosen.

We have high expectations of our students and in return we know that you have high expectations of us. We aim to deliver on those expectations by providing first class teaching, in industry-standard facilities and by ensuring that you receive the best possible practical and learning support to help you to succeed.

In 2016 we were awarded Ofsted ‘Good’ with inspectors recognising our innovative approaches to teaching and success in preparing students for work. In the same year our new £10m Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) centre was opened at Sheepen Road, as part of a £20m three year redevelopment programme across our Colchester and Braintree Campuses.

This guide aims to provide you with the information you need to help you make the right choice about your next steps in education and training – but a prospectus cannot tell you everything! I hope that you will come and meet with staff and students and explore our campuses at one of the many Open Events throughout the year; and see for yourself how training at a vocational college can set you on the right path to success, whatever your chosen career.

I look forward to meeting with you.

Alison Andreas

Principal and Chief Executive

We have a huge range of inspiring subjects for you to choose from. Our full-time courses are designed to help you develop the transferable skills employers are looking for, or prepare you for study on a higher-level qualification. We also offer Apprenticeship programmes in a variety of industries to provide you with relevant practical experience.

Full-time study

  • Develop your vocational skills
  • Enjoy learning alongside your peers
  • Achieve a recognised qualification
  • Progress onto a degree or full-time work
Search Study Programmes

Apprenticeships

  • Earn while your learn
  • Gain valuable work experience
  • Achieve a recognised qualification
  • Progress onto a degree or full-time work
Search Apprenticeships

Whichever route you choose, you’ll receive hands-on learning through work experience, and develop your English and Maths skills too, ensuring you are ready for a bright career and a successful future!

School Leavers (Further Education) Course Levels
Course Levels | Course Types
NVQs and VRQs

NVQs

NVQs are National Vocational Qualifications for students who wish to develop the skills, knowledge and understanding needed at work. They enable students to become competent in a specific job or craft. They are assessed through multi-choice and short answer questions.

What is an NVQ programme?

NVQ programmes provide a mixture of practical and theoretical studies in realistic working environments to simulate the real world of work. The range and number of NVQ units studied is decided nationally by employers. NVQs are available at levels 1, 2 and 3. Level 1 is a basic introduction, level 2 is a general craft and level 3 is an advanced or more specialised craft level. Some programmes include other specialist qualifications, enrichment activities and work experience.

Why should I study an NVQ?

NVQs are a passport to a job. If you achieve an NVQ you have demonstrated the competence to do the job. This is very attractive to employers because it means that you are already trained and ready to work from day one.

Qualified, skilled employees have excellent earning potential. NVQs assess practical competence and underpinning knowledge, unit by unit, throughout your course.

What NVQs are available?

We offer NVQs for a wide range of careers in automobile engineering, construction, hairdressing, beauty therapy, childcare, catering and hospitality, and more.

VRQs

VRQs are vocationally related qualifications for students who wish to prepare for a career in a specific vocational area. They are offered at levels 1, 2 and 3 and allow students to develop and practise skills required for employment and/or career progression in their chosen sector. College-based study consists of a combination of theory and practical activities related to the world of work.

You will be assisted to improve your IT, numeracy and communication skills through a programme of Functional Skills. VRQs will favour those candidates who prefer a more structured approach to learning and the associated assessment process.

BTEC Diplomas

BTEC facts and statistics

  • In 2015, 1 in 4 students who got into university in the UK did so with a BTEC (UCAS report – Progression Pathways Jan 2016)
  • Almost 79% of BTEC students go on to receive a First or Second class degree (The outcomes associated with the BTEC route of degree level acquisition, London Economics 2013)
  • 90% of BTEC students are employed full time after graduating (The outcomes associated with the BTEC route of degree level acquisition, London Economics 2013)
  • 74% of businesses prefer recruits to hold a mix of academic and vocational qualifications or value them equally (Inspiring Growth: Pearson/Skills CBI Skills survey 2015)
  • Learners who hold BTEC qualifications have high rates of progression between learning levels compared to other types of vocational qualification (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills – October 2015).

Read more: http://qualifications.pearson.com/en/about-us/qualification-brands/btec/progress-with-btec.html

What is a BTEC qualification?

BTEC Diplomas are work related vocational qualifications suitable for a wide range of students, designed to deliver the skills required for different career paths. The courses are a mix of theory and practical, and enable progression to a range of next steps including:

  • Employment
  • Apprenticeship
  • Further/higher study programme
  • University or other Higher Education

They provide a practical, real-world approach to learning and an alternative route to traditional GCSEs and A Levels. BTEC qualifications were established over 25 years ago and are recognised by universities, employers and professional bodies across the United Kingdom and in over 100 countries worldwide.

BTEC Diplomas Equivalences

BTECs are equivalent to GCSEs and A Levels, BTEC graduates can go on to university or start their career straight away. The table below shows the progression routes available to all BTEC students together with their more traditional equivalents.
btec

What are BTEC Level 2 qualifications?

These are one year, level 2 qualifications for students who would like to take up a career in a broad occupational area. They are vocational courses that provide a mix of essential and optional subjects tailored to suit local employment opportunities and develop knowledge, skills and understanding fo employment or progression to a BTEC Level 3 qualification. Students will experience a broad range of study in preparation for a wide range of careers in the vocational area. All programmes include Functional Skills. Some courses include the opportunity to develop other skills relevant to the occupational area and work experience.

Who should study a BTEC Level 2 qualification?

For students with at least four GCSEs (grades D – G), or satisfactory completion of an appropriate programme at level 1, these programmes are recognised and understood by employers and provide an excellent stepping stone to BTEC Level 3 qualifications. The courses are assessed by a range of methods including assignments, practical exercises, role plays, projects and case studies. Much of the course content is based on actual work situations that test the student’s ability to solve real problems individually and in a team.

Who should study a BTEC Level 3 qualification?

These qualifications are for students with a minimum of four/five* GCSEs (grades A*-C), or satisfactory completion of an appropriate level 2 entry route, who wish to prepare for a career in a specific occupational area and/or progress to higher education. College-based study consists of a combination of theory and practical activities related to the world of work. Much of the course content develops your ability to solve real problems. Subjects are mainly assessed through coursework.
*dependent on course area

What is a BTEC Subsidiary Diploma?

A BTEC Subsidiary Diploma is a one year level 3 programme, worth 60 credits and is equivalent to one A Level. This may be beneficial for students who wish to study a shorter level 3 programme. In many areas, there is an opportunity to progress to a second year and complete a larger Diploma.

What is a BTEC Diploma/Extended Diploma?

A BTEC Diploma is a two year programme, worth 120 credits and is equivalent to 2 A Levels. An Extended Diploma is a two year programme, worth 180 credits and is equivalent to three A Levels. This programme can attract the maximum in UCAS points, which allows for progression to university.

Practical Awards, Certificates and Diplomas

Practical Awards, Certificates and Diplomas are designed to give students realistic experience and the practical skills that they will need in the world of work. Alongside practical sessions, students will also study the necessary theory to enable them to develop the knowledge required for working life.

Functional Skills

Functional Skills are practical skills in English, maths and ICT that allow learners to work confidently, effectively and independently in life, including education and training. They aim to increase achievement in all learning, improve employability and provide a sound basis for progression to further study or training. They also help develop other important skills such as team work, presentation and problem solving. Functional Skills are common to all our lives.

They help make sense of daily life, from working out which deal is best value, to writing an application letter or sur­fing the Internet. They are about using English, maths and ICT in everyday situations.

They are essential for:

• Getting the most from education and training

• Personal development of all young people and adults

• Developing employability skills

Foundation Learning
Foundation Learning is a credit-based programme where learners (both 14-19 and post-19 adult learners) undertake a combination of courses which meet their personal needs. The aim of Foundation Learning is to increase learner participation, achievement and progression through entry level and level 1 towards achievement at level 2.

It gives greater meaning to programmes of study and supports progression to clearly defined destinations. It aims to make learning fit-for-purpose for the individual.

Learners completing courses within Foundation Learning can gain credits which allow for the achievement of an Award, Certificate and eventually a Diploma. Foundation Learning covers educational provision at entry level and level 1.

Foundation Learning programmes normally include:

  • Functional skills
  • Subject and vocational skills and understanding
  • Personal and social development
  • WorkSkills/Enterprise Skills

Foundation Learning offers students the opportunity to develop further their social and personal skills including numeracy and literacy. With a curriculum which is full of enrichment activities it makes learning fun and meaningful.

With such a diverse range of courses to choose from, Foundation Learning offers the opportunity to develop personal skills and knowledge, at whatever stage you are in life, to make your learning experience relevant and significant.

Learning for Work

Gateway and Pathway offer a curriculum which is the development of entry level work with numeracy and literacy embedded into a range of subjects.

New Approach is a full-time course for year 11 students.

Schools Links courses offer a taste of the College experience for students in year 11 who are mainly based in special schools in the locality.

All course have a wide range of enrichment activities to make learning enjoyable and meaningful.

Our Study Programmes, or full-time courses, combine a number of different components to equip you with a set of well-rounded skills for the future. Every programme incorporates a vocational qualification (for example an Extended Diploma), development of Great English and Maths (GEM) and work experience, which we call GAP.

Study Programmes Explained
All of our full-time courses for our 16-19 year old students are designed around you, your targets and your ambitions. Our courses consist of three key areas that make it easy for you to understand your workload and what is expected of you.

The programme will be individually tailored to you and will consist of a qualification, core skills in English and maths and work related learning. Read on for a more detailed breakdown of these key areas.

Study Programmes

Specialist Skills (Main Qualification)

The skills that you gain while completing your course will be the main bulk and workload of your qualification.

As dictated by the demands and requirements of your chosen industry sector, you will develop the specialist knowledge and skills needed to enable you to succeed in a specific profession through your main study programme.

GEM (Core Skills)

GEM is a new way of learning English and maths, with your programme being personal to you. If you have GCSE passes (that’s grades A*- C) we’ll build GEM around your main course of study, enhancing your existing skills and developing new ones.

If you haven’t yet achieved a GCSE pass in English and/or maths you’ll take GEM classes and work towards resitting your GCSE exams. Whatever route you take it will be a whole new way of learning, and gaining getting the skills you need to get on – here at college and in life.

GAP (Work Related Learning)

GAP is a fresh take on work experience, working in collaboration with local employers to give you vital, first-hand experience helping towards securing a job once you have finished your studies.

Today’s job market is an incredibly competitive one and employers are looking for more than just a qualification, they are looking for confident people with experience of a working environment. Through GAP you’ll get a massive boost to your CV which will be key when it comes to finding that first job!

Programme Levels and Entry Requirements
PROGRAMME LEVELS AND ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

Aim Higher    Level 4 and beyond!


Level 3                        Typically* 5 GCSEs (grades A* – C / 9 – 4)


Level 2                        Typically* 4 GCSEs (grades A* – E / 9 – 3)


Level 1                        Typically* 3 GCSEs (grades A* – G / 9 – 1)


Entry Level    No formal entry requirements, just an enthusiasm to learn and develop your skills to allow you to progress on to another programme within the College.

Unsure which programme level is for you?

Come along to an Open Event or speak with a Careers Advisor at school for guidance.

*Specific entry requirements for each programme are listed on the individual subject pages. In some cases we will consider other qualifications that are deemed to be equivalent to GCSEs, for example functional skills and qualifications achieved outside the UK, provided valid certificates are produced.

GCSE GRADING SYSTEM FROM 2017*

Ofqual has introduced a new grading system for many GCSE subjects. These GCSEs will be graded 9 to 1, instead of A* to G, with 9 being the top level. The Ofqual grading structure below is a comparison guide of the current and new GCSE system. For more information please visit: www.gov.uk/government/organisations/ofqual

study programmes
Please note: The new grading system (9 – 1) only applies to GCSEs taken from 2017.

Technical Training
TECHNICAL TRAINING

Our Technical Training Study Programmes are designed for you to develop key industry skills and practice within your chosen vocational area. All students on these programmes will begin at the same level, regardless of grades upon entry, and progress together, providing each element of the course is passed sufficiently. This training will enable you to learn professional techniques and perfect your chosen craft to get you ready for the working world.

GEM – Great English and Maths
English and maths skills are essential building blocks for any career. Almost every job requires you to have the ability to read, write and use numbers confidently. That’s why we are prioritising the use of Great English and Maths (GEM), not only at College but in all areas of life. Words and numbers are all around us and being able to use them well is a valuable skill for work, study and everyday activities.

Our GEM initiative encourages you to look at words and numbers differently, approach challenges in new, innovative ways and explore different ways of thinking. GEM is all about getting the skills you need to get on. We have a dedicated team of GEM tutors, specialising in English and maths, to help you every step of the way, whatever your ability.

Whether you join us with GCSEs in English and Maths (grades 9-4) or are still looking to achieve this level, we have something for everyone.

So what exactly are GAP experiences?

We’ve teamed up with local employers to bring you GAP work experiences: a fresh approach to giving you what it takes to land a great first job. Work experience is an increasingly important step towards getting the job you want – enabling you to find a career you’ll enjoy, build up your CV and improve your skills in a real working environment.

Your GAP time will target the real skills you need for success in ways which suit you and your work experience employer – meaning you’ll be busy every time you go to work and can expect to get completely involved in projects and tasks.

Whether you have your sights set on a particular job or industry, want to keep your options open or are looking to improve particular skills, we want to line you up with the right opportunity. All our students have access to our list of GAP opportunities on the portal, giving you plenty of choice to develop your skills.

Work experience should be an adventure wherever you go and we’re here to help you get as much as possible out of your time. Do that you’ll have a great story to tell employers at interview for that all-important first job.

Why do we do it?
As part of your study programme we want you to prepare for the world of work.

Colchester Institute is a vocational college and makes this commitment to you:

  • We will help you get ready for the career you want
  • We will boost your skills to ensure that you are very employable
  • At college, we will always look to give you opportunities to use your skills in work settings to help prepare for your future job
  • We will support you in gaining actual external work experience

Work experience is an increasingly important step towards getting the job you want – enabling you to find a career you’ll enjoy, build up your CV and improve your skills in a real working environment.

Your GAP time will target the real skills you need for success in ways which suit you and your work experience employer. Whether you have your sights set on a particular job or industry, want to keep your options open or are looking to improve particular skills, we want to line you up with the right opportunity.

Work experience should be a GAP adventure wherever you go and we’re here to help you get as much as possible out of your time so that you’ll have a great story to tell employers at interview for that all-important first job.

Examples of students’ work experience include:

Observational physiotherapist – Broomfield Hospital

Dance teaching assistant – JA Performing Arts

Graphic design assistant – TWIST Interactive

Healthcare film production – Essex County Council

Performing arts teaching assistant – Theatricool

Christmas grotto prop maker – Wooden Bench Company

Job shadowing ophthalmologist – Eye Clinic at Essex County Hospital

Yearly GAP activity
Each student will undertake 30 hours a year of GAP activity. GAP (Graduates & Professionals programme) is made up of a range of activities that you can mix and match:

  • Visits from employers and experts – taking place outside of scheduled lessons
  • Group visits to work places and employers –additional to scheduled lessons
  • Work related projects, including ‘live briefs’
  • Employment in the college’s own ‘realistic working environments’
  • Participating in college events to develop your employability skills
  • Undertaking quality work experience and placements outside of college

It is expected that the planned external Quality Work Experience will account for at least half of your annual GAP hours. Where appropriate and achievable, it can be of great value for you to exceed the target hours for both the external placement and for GAP.

Further Information
For further information on our latest work experience opportunities please pop in and see us in Room B66E.

Alternatively you can email us at GAPteam@colchester.ac.uk or call 01206 712787 and speak to a member of the GAP Team.

Our Application Process

Further Education Admissions Policy 2018-2019

Our aim is to make it as easy as possible to secure your place on your ideal programme. All you need to do is complete our online application form by visiting:

Applying for a Full-Time course

Before submitting your online application, make sure you have got an email address which you will check frequently and which is professional and appropriate for this purpose. Submit the application as early as possible and remember to save a copy for your own records.

If you don’t have access to a computer or the internet, please phone our Admissions enquiry line on the 01206 712777 and we will send you a paper application form. The completed form can be returned by post or in person to our admissions teams at our Colchester, Braintree or Clacton campuses.

Admissions
Colchester Institute
Sheepen Road
Colchester
CO3 3LL
Admissions
The College at Braintree
Church Lane
Braintree
CM7 5SN
Admissions
The College at Clacton,
Church Road,
Clacton-on-Sea, CO15 6JQ

We start accepting applications from the 1st October 2017 and have set an initial deadline for receiving applications of 31st January 2018 for a guaranteed place on your chosen programme (subject to you satisfying the entry requirements), although we do still accept applications after this date.

Applicants will receive an acknowledgement within one week of the application being received by our Admissions team, if you do not receive this you should contact the team on 01206 712777 to check that your application has been received.

There is so much choice available when it comes to studying a full-time study programme at Colchester Institute. Our programmes, in a range of inspiring subject areas, give you the transferable skills employers are looking for in the workplace, or the appropriate route for study on a higher level qualification. We also train people in a range of industries through Apprenticeships

We blend vocational, hands on learning with work experience as well as developing your English and math skills. Our aim is to get you ready for the exciting world of work or progression onto further study or higher education.

View 2018-2019 School Leavers Mini Guide

Order a Prospectus

About Us - Principals Welcome | Alison Andreas
Firstly, may I extend a really warm welcome to you, as parents and carers of students joining (or re-joining) us, here at Colchester Institute.

These pages are designed to provide you with information which will help you to support your son or daughter to enrol and settle quickly in to College, so they can have a productive, enjoyable and successful time on their programme of study.

We have tried to include everything that you may need to know, but please use the contact details found further down the page to phone or email us if you still have other questions.

Our aim is to ensure that all our students have the opportunity and encouragement to engage positively with their programme of study; to attend regularly; to work hard and to achieve the best results that they can. In doing this, we also hope to prepare and inspire our students to take their next steps into interesting and rewarding careers or higher level programmes of study.

Experience has shown us that students are most successful when Colleges work in partnership with parents to support them. We look forward to a long and successful partnership with you, and your son or daughter, and hope to see you at future College events.

With best wishes

Alison Andreas
Principal and Chief Executive

College Expectations
Well-being and keeping safe
Financial Support
Student Support
Enrolment Information
Travel Passes
Careers Advice
Progression to Higher Education
Set up a UpayChilli Account
Pay Resources Deposit
Got a question?
Term Dates and Absence Reporting

We visit local schools every year, delivering presentations and attending parents evenings and careers conventions. We also talk to Year 11 students discussing course choices and career options each year.

The Colchester Institute Schools’ liaison team are dedicated to providing a thorough and comprehensive service. We are happy to visit schools, colleges and youth centres to speak directly with students about the options open to them at Colchester Institute. These talks can be at any time and delivered to whole year groups, or smaller groups. Alternatively we can also offer taster activities and workshops on campus or within your school. Please contact us with your requirements and we will try our best to accommodate your needs!

We are always happy to attend school based careers evenings to provide information to students and parents about the FE and HE courses at the College. Please keep us informed about the events you are running and we will bring along tutors and students.

What we can offer
The most frequent requests from schools are:

  • Year 9,10, and 11 School talks (FE and HE)
  • 15 minute overview assembly presentations
  • Apprenticeship Talks
  • To attend Options/careers/parents evenings
  • To attend Careers Conventions
  • Group tours of campus
  • Subject specific roadshows
  • After School clubs

Throughout the year the College mails out to many local secondary schools and colleges, to ensure we keep you up-to-date with the latest opportunities on offer at Colchester Institute. They include information on our Open Events, prospectus order forms and publicity materials.

Mini Guide
Mini Guide 2018-19

To find out more about the range of inspiring subject areas our study programmes are available in, please browse through our mini guide. Inside you will find information about our application process, open events, GEM and GAP initiatives and much, much more.

If you would like FE or HE prospectuses delivered to your school or college please contact Prospectus@colchester.ac.uk

There is so much choice available when it comes to studying a full-time study programme at Colchester Institute. Our programmes, in a range of inspiring subject areas, give you the transferable skills employers are looking for in the workplace, or the appropriate route for study on a higher level qualification. We also train people in a range of industries through Apprenticeships

We blend vocational, hands on learning with work experience as well as developing your English and math skills. Our aim is to get you ready for the exciting world of work or progression onto further study or higher education.

View 2018-2019 School Leavers Mini Guide
Order a Prospectus

Meet the Team

We have an expanding Schools’ Liaison team here at Colchester Institute

In order to keep your communication with us simple we have created a Schools’ Liaison generic email: schoolsliaison@colchester.ac.uk. Please send all communication to this email.

We are very keen to meet with you to discuss how we can improve working together more efficiently during these busy times. If you would like to meet please contact us using the details below.

Please find each member of the Schools’ Liaison and Events team below based at the Colchester Campus. Please do not hesitate to contact the relevant member of staff for any enquiries.


Encya Vitelli – Marketing Officer (Schools’ Liaison and Events) – Primary contact

encya.vitelli@colchester.ac.uk – 01206 814038

Ed Fletcher – Senior Marketing Officer (Schools’ Liaison and Events)

Ed.Fletcher@Colchester.ac.uk – 01206 712065

Sue Johnson  – Marketing Coordinator (Schools’ Liaison and Events)

sue.johnson@colchester.ac.uk – 01206 712620


Schools Transition Officer

Sarah.self@colchester.ac.uk – 01206 712158

Sarah works as part of the Admissions team, Sarah is responsible for developing links with local schools to increase the number of applications and enrolments from year 11 students, increasing the conversion rate from application to enrolment from this cohort.

Student Life at Colchester Instiute

A full-time programme of study will require a minimum of 18 hours attendance in class per week, although some will have more. This will usually be over three or four days. Full details will be provided when timetables are issued. It is expected that all students will attend all timetabled classes.

The College is open from 9am until 5pm Monday to Friday, with evening classes, salons and restaurants being open up to 9pm or 10pm on Mondays to Thursdays in Colchester and Braintree.

As well as their chosen subjects there will be elements of enrichment and work related experience for all students – which may include work placements, depending on the course being studied.

English and Maths

English and Maths

In addition, all students who have not achieved grade C or above in English or maths will need to keep studying these. Students who got a grade D may be able to retake their GCSE in the summer of 2017.

Students often take up part-time work whilst studying, but please be aware that there is an
expectation that students will study in their own time. There will be assignments and extension activities for all programmes with supporting information available through our Virtual Learning Environment ‘moodle’.

Course targets and communication with Parents/Carers

Course targets and communication with Parents/Carers

All students will agree an Individual Learning Plan (ILP) with their tutors at the start of the year and will set targets for their own achievements. In most cases this will be done through a web based ILP system called ProPortal, which students will have access to, both at College and at home.

Students will be encouraged to share their targets with you, and we are aiming to develop parental access to ProPortal in the next academic year. Evidence shows that students achieve best when Colleges work in partnership with parents, and so reports will be sent home at certain points throughout the year. There will also be opportunities for you to meet with teaching staff to discuss progress.

We expect students to attend all timetabled classes promptly and we have high expectations in terms of behaviour and conduct at College. Although we treat our students as adults, we still reserve the right to contact parents about any concerns relating to attendance, behaviour and achievement until the end of the academic year in which they turn 18.

Online Store

Online Store

Payment for trips and other products can be made via our online store. You will need to register and create an account before enrolment to ensure payments can be made.

Colchester Institute’s team of careers advisers provide information, advice and guidance to enable students to make informed decisions about their future and help find the best job or career possible for them.

Help and support is available for a wide range of areas including

  • Career choice
  • Course choice
  • Progression Routes
  • Apprenticeships
  • Choosing and applying for university
  • Preparation for employment

One to one impartial guidance interviews are available as well as a daily drop in service. There is a well-equipped careers centre within the College containing information on jobs and courses, careers software is available to help students choose and research suitable careers.

Colchester Institute also hosts an annual Progression Fair, organised for students to find out about the opportunities available for when they have finished their studies. The event attracts over 40 representatives from the world of work, higher education and voluntary organisations.

The College holds the Quality in Careers Standard, a national quality award for the provision of Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance as well as  matrix ,the Quality Standard for information, advice and guidance services. These awards  ensure that the service provided is of the highest quality.

Careers Advice | Information, Advice and Guidance

The careers team have a wealth of experience and hold at least L6 or higher guidance qualifications. They are registered with the Careers Development Institute (CDI) as Career Development Professionals which means they follow a code of ethics and undertake 25 hours of continuous professional development each year.

For further information on careers information, advice and guidance please contact us:

Jo Batch
Operational Careers Leader
careers@colchester.ac.uk.

Application Questions

How do I return my application form?

Please complete our full-time and apprenticeship application form in CAPITALS and black ink and return by post or in person to our Admissions team at our Colchester (for Colchester and Clacton applications) or Braintree campus*:

Admissions Team
Colchester Institute
Sheepen Road
Colchester
CO3 3LL
Admissions Team
The College at Braintree
Church Lane
Braintree
CM7 5TN

*If you are currently at school, please check with them as some schools will be coordinating applications centrally.


Is there a closing date for applications?

We accept applications throughout the year, but to make sure you get on your chosen programme we encourage you to apply as soon as possible. However, if we receive your application before January 31st 2017 we will guarantee you a place on your chosen programme – this will be subject to you meeting the published entry requirements for the programme.


What happens after I apply?

Once our Admissions team have received your completed application form you will be sent a letter with your interview date and time. Interviews will last for approximately 15-20 minutes and you will be given information about your course. This is your opportunity to ask any questions that you may have as well as letting the course team know why you want to study your chosen course area. Some areas, such as Art & Design, Music and the Performing Arts, may invite you to attend a second interview or audition to demonstrate your skills and to ensure you are on the most appropriate level for you.

Once accepted by the course leader, we will write to you with your offer of a place on the most appropriate course. Please note, the offer is likely to be conditional on achieving the published entry requirements. If for any reason the course you have chosen is not suitable, we will do our best to find a course that is suitable for you. If you are currently at school, details of your application and offer will be shared with your school.


How will I know if have been offered a place?

Once you have attended an interview, we will contact you with details of whether your application has been successful. Offers will be subject to meeting the entry requirements of the programme as published. In the event that you did not get on to your chosen programme, we will do our best to ensure you are referred to an appropriate alternative.


How do I apply for an apprenticeship?

If you are applying for an apprenticeship please use the application form supplied with this guide, ensuring you complete section 4 of the form. In order to start your apprenticeship you must have an employer ready to complete your apprenticeship with. Please contact our Apprenticeship Admissions team on 01206 712412 or admissions.apprenticeships@colchester.ac.uk or visit our Apprenticeships Section for details and support when finding an employer. If you already have an employer please include their contact details in section 4 of the application form.


How can I get additional support?

If you have a disability or learning difficulty, please let us know by completing the section 6 on the application form. Our support team will then contact you for further information and to assess your needs. If you have particular interview requirements, please indicate this on your application form in section 6. If you are still unsure on what support is available please speak to our Student Services team at one of our Open Events, call 01206 712000 or email student.services@colchester.ac.uk.


Will my school/college be contacted?

If you are currently at school/college we will make contact to get confirmation of your predicted grades and general information about how you are progressing. We will also keep them up to date with the progress of your application.

Post Application Questions

What if I change my mind?

If at any point during the application process you wish to change your programme choice, please contact our Admissions team as soon as possible.


Will I need a DBS check for my course

If your programme features contact with children or vulnerable adults, you will be asked to complete a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check before starting your programme. There will be an additional cost associated with this.


What if I don’t receive my expected grades or no longer meet the entry requirements?

First of all, please don’t panic! It may be that you can go onto a different level or on an alternative course. Please still attend the planned enrolment session to talk to a tutor or come along to one of our August Advice Days and get advice on the opportunities available to you this September and apply on the same day.

Enrolment Questions

When is the Induction Day?

You will need to come to College for one day between Monday 3rd and Wednesday 5th July to attend a welcome and Induction Day. These are important for you to attend to start your induction and find out more about your programme of study. Watch out for a letter coming to you at the end of May with more details and your exact date and time.


When I finish my programme, will I be able to progress onto the next level of study?

We always encourage our students to aim high to achieve their full potential. On most programmes there is an opportunity to progress on to a higher level and after Level 3 we offer a number of different degree level programmes too. Progression to a higher level is not guaranteed and will be subject to you gaining a satisfactory result in the preceding qualification and meeting the necessary entry requirements for the higher level qualification.


What if I don’t achieve the results I need?

If you have been made a conditional offer based on your GCSE grades then your results on Thursday 24th August are all important, and fingers crossed that you get what you need! If you don’t, then don’t panic – we hold GCSE advice days around this time so you can come in and talk to us about your options, more information will be available nearer the time.


When is Enrolment Day?

Enrolment will take place between 21st August and 1st September. There will be a set date and time for your programme which can’t be changed and this will be confirmed during your Welcome and Induction Day. It is important that you avoid taking any holiday during this time as your place on your programme cannot be guaranteed if you don’t make your enrolment day.


What if I cannot make the enrolment date?

Enrolment dates are not negotiable but in exceptional cases you must let us know in advance if you cannot attend by phoning 01206 712777 or completing the “Enrolment Day Non-attendance Form”. We cannot guarantee that your place on your chosen course will be held if you do not attend on the original enrolment date, without letting us know and agreeing alternative arrangements.


What will happen at enrolment?

Students will attend with everyone else on their chosen course and will meet with a member of the teaching staff to go through their exam results, an check that they are on the most appropriate course level. Students will complete an enrolment form and sign up to the College Expectations and their learning agreement. The process will include having their photograph taken and being issued with their student ID card and lanyard.

From day one of their programme students will be required to wear their ID card and lanyard to gain access to the campuses, and at all times whilst on site.


What will I need to bring?

To complete the enrolment process the following is required:

  • Their original GCSE results slips, and proof of any other qualifications already received, plus two photocopies.
  • An official form of identification either driving licence, passport or birth certificate.
  • Their full contact details, including the email address of a parent/carer who we will communicate with up to the end of the academic year in which they turn 18 (where appropriate).
  • A pen and paper to complete their enrolment form and note any key information from their tutor.

Further Information

Please be aware that enrolment can be very busy and there may be a lot of waiting, and sometimes queing. Whilst we work ahrd to reduce this, students should be prepared for a long day. The College refectories will be open but students may wish to bring food and drink with them, particularly on a hot day!

Parents and carers are not normally expected to attend enrolment.


When will timetables be issued?

This may happen at enrolment, but it is more likely to be on the students’ first day at college. Programmes with a higher volume of students may need to know students’ GCSE grades to sort them into groups, and timetables cannot be confirmed until this has happened.


When is the start of term?

Term starts on Wednesday 6th September 2017, but start dates are staggered across the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of that week. You will receive your actual start date and first day information at the same time as your enrolment information – so look out for the information when it comes.

Parents and Carers Enrolment Questions

What happens after my son/daughter’s interview?

After attending the interview your child will be notified of the outcome within 15 working days. Successful applicants will receive an offer of a place, the offer may be conditional on achieving the entry requirements or unconditional if entry requirements have already been met. No applicant will be given an unconditional offer if they are progressing from a school.


What happens if my son/daughter is not successful on gaining a place on their chosen course?

Where possible we will recommend an alternative course if the chosen course is not suitable, on request we can provide an explanation for why that decision has been made by the course tutor. If an alternative course has not been recommended then your child can speak to their guidance advisor at their school or if not currently in school contact our careers team. You and your child can also come and visit one of our Open Events to discuss other courses.


What happens after my son/daughter has received their offer?

Your child will be invited to attend an Induction Day. The Induction day is designed to support your child with preparing for the course; it will include course related activities and some course areas will require a dress code. Further information on facilities, student services and support and information on enrolment and registration will also provided.


What happens after my son/daughter attends the induction day?

Your child will be invited to attend their enrolment/registration. Attending enrolment confirms your child’s place on the course, if they are unable to attend their enrolment session they will need to inform the admissions team in advance by completing the enrolment form, available here or calling 01206 712777.

Please note a place on the course is not guaranteed until enrolment has been completed. For enrolment they will need to bring with them:

  • Original GCSE results slips, and proof of any other qualifications already received, plus two photocopies
  • Official form of identification either passport, driving licence, or birth certificate
  • Full contact details*
  • Pens and paper

What if my son or daughter’s GCSE results do not meet the entry requirements?

First of all, please do not panic! It may be that they can go on at a different level for their chosen subject area. Please still attend the planned enrolment session to talk to a tutor.

Alternatively, or if your son or daughter is still unsure, please come to one of our August Advice Days where subject tutors are available to talk about all the available options. You do not have to book, just come along to one of our campuses at the designated times

Please note: any offers made on an August Advice Day may be subject to availability on the course after the enrolment period is complete on Friday 1st September. Should you have any queries please call our course enquiries line on 01206 712777.


What will happen at enrolment?

Students will attend with everyone else on their chosen course and will meet with a member of the teaching staff to go through their exam results, an check that they are on the most appropriate course level. Students will complete an enrolment form and sign up to the College Expectations and their learning agreement. The process will include having their photograph taken and being issued with their student ID card and lanyard.

From day one of their programme students will be required to wear their ID card and lanyard to gain access to the campuses, and at all times whilst on site.


When will my son/daughter’s timetable be issued?

Some course areas may issue their timetable during the enrolment period but most will provide this information to your child on the first day.


Where should my son/daughter go on their first day?

The first day for most courses will be Wednesday 6th September 2017. Information about where your child needs to meet their tutor on the first day will be provided at enrolment/registration. If this information has not been provided prior to their first day, we request that your child reports to main reception at the campus they will be studying at and a member of the team will direct them. If you would like to contact the main reception in advance please call 01206712777 or email: info@colchester.ac.uk.


Further Information

Please be aware that enrolment can be very busy and there may be a lot of waiting, and sometimes queuing. Whilst we work hard to reduce this, students should be prepared for a long day. The College refectories will be open but students may wish to bring food and drink with them, particularly on a hot day!

Parents and carers are not normally expected to attend enrolment.

Parents and Carer FAQ

What happens after my son/daughter submits their application form?

On receipt of the completed application form including reference we will acknowledge receipt and your child will be invited in for an interview or audition with the course tutor. These interviews/auditions are mandatory and it is important that your child comes prepared. Some courses have specific requirements such as for Art and Design courses they will need to bring their art portfolio, for performing arts and music courses they will be expected to prepare some performance material and some course areas will require a particular dress code.


Who can I contact if I haven’t heard back about my application?

If you have not had an acknowledgement within one week of your application being received you should contact the team on (01206) 712777 or email admissions@colchester.ac.uk to check that your application has been received.


What can my son or daughter study?

Colchester Institute offers a large variety of courses for 16 to 18 year olds including full-time courses, part-time courses, and Apprenticeships. All courses are vocational which means they are specifically designed to provide your child with the necessary skills for a specific job or career. For more about the different academic course levels click here.


What can I expect from Colchester Institute?

Our aim is to ensure that all our students have the opportunity and encouragement to engage positively with their programme of study; to attend regularly; to work hard and to achieve the best results that they can. In doing this, we also hope to prepare and inspire our students to take their next steps into interesting and rewarding careers or higher level programmes of study. For more information on what you can expect please view our Parents Information Guide.


Can my son or daughter go on to university having completed a BTEC vocational qualification?

Yes, BTECs are equivalent to GCSEs and A Levels, BTEC graduates can go on to university or start their career straight away. Click here for more information on the progression routes available to all BTEC students together with their more traditional equivalents.


Will I have to pay for my child’s course/equipment?

All school leaver courses are available free of charge up to the age of 19, provided your son or daughter is under 19 years old on the 31 August before they enrol on their course, are taking a full or part-time course of more than 12.5 hours a week and are a European National.

Some courses will have additional costs to over extras such as specialist kit and equipment, trips, uniforms etc., students will be notified of additional costs prior to enrolment, and payment can be made through the On-Line Store.

For families on low incomes, or in receipt of certain benefits, there is a range of financial support available. We will support eligible students with the additional costs associated with their studies, which can cover the items above, and also transport and childcare costs. For more information on the financial support available and the eligibility criteria please email student.services@colchester.ac.uk or call (01206) 712078.


Are students entitled to Free School Meals?

Yes, in September 2014 eligibility for Free School Meals was extended to students aged 16-18 in Further Education, not including apprenticeships. We assess this as part of our overall student finance package, in most cases students eligible for Free School Meals can also get other support.

To apply, please click here to download an application form or for more information on Student Finance please email student.services@colchester.ac.uk or call (01206) 712078


What contact can I expect from the College?

All students will agree an Individual Learning Plan (ILP) with their tutors at the start of the year and students will be encouraged to share their targets with you through the electronic system called ProPortal – students will be given access to this themselves and this can be viewed on any device linked to the internet.

Reports will be sent home at least once per year detailing your child’s progress, identifying strengths and weaknesses, level of attendance and action points to help them achieve high academic standards.

We expect students to attend all timetabled classes promptly and we have high expectations in terms of behaviour and conduct at College. Although we treat our students as adults, we still reserve the right to contact parents about concerns relating to attendance until the end of the academic year in which they turn 18. If there are any concerns where we feel we need your support we will be in touch either by phone or email. If a student is issued any notices under the College disciplinary procedure, you should be sent a copy if they are under the age of 18 in that academic year.


What should I do If I am concerned about my child’s progress?

If you are concerned about your son or daughters progress you can contact their named tutor, they will have been given this information at enrolment. The easiest way to contact a member of staff is by email using the Colchester Institute email address system of firstname.surname@colchester.ac.uk for example: jane.smith@colchester.ac.uk


How much homework/coursework will my child have to do?

The amount of homework and coursework will vary depending on the nature of your child’s course, however please be aware that there is an expectation that students will study in their own time. There will be assignments and extension activities for all programmes with supporting information available through our Virtual Learning Environment.


Can students work part time whilst studying?

We encourage our students to take up part-time work whilst studying as the experience gained is beneficial in developing their confidence and independence, as well as providing an insight into an adult work environment. However work commitments should not interfere with your child’s studying so we would advise that parents help to find a balance between part-time work and study.


What do I do if I think my son or daughter is being bullied?

Colchester Institute will not tolerate harassment or bullying on any grounds. If a student feels that they are being harassed or bullied, they should keep a record detailing the event/s, including keeping copies of texts, emails and comments on social media. No-one should feel ashamed about being bullied as it is not their fault. As soon after the incident as possible, they should seek help to try to resolve the issue informally in the first instance. This can be done by contacting the Student Services (Welfare) Team, the course tutor or the Students’ Union.

If you feel your son or daughter is being bullied we would encourage you to contact Student Welfare / Bullying on (01206) 712263 and we will seek to resolve the issue.

Student Welfare & Support

How do I report an absence?

There is a dedicated Absence Reporting Line – (01206) 712160 for all Colchester Institute students. All calls are logged and the relevant tutor is notified. Please try to call before 9am.


What if I am concerned about bullying?

If you are being bullied, or you see something that concerns you, then it is important that you let us know. We really mean it when we say the College does not tolerate bullying in any form. Students and staff deserve to be treated with dignity and respect and the College has a rigorous Anti-Bullying and Harassment procedure.

If you are being bullied, or are worried about bullying either verbally, physically or online (such as social networks, email or through other mobile devices) it is important you tell your tutor or the Student Welfare Team on (01206) 712263 so that action can be taken.


What if I have a complaint?

Complaints about your course, or something more personal should first be discussed with your personal tutor. If you are still unhappy there is an online complaints form on the College website, and paper copies are available from receptions, support offices, libraries or Student Services.

All complaints, comments and compliments will be sent to The Quality Enhancement Manager, who will ensure that they are resolved or passed on appropriately.


I’m experiencing personal problems and I’m not sure who I can talk to?

The Student Welfare Adviser is available to help with problems you may experience whilst at College. Advice and information can be given on: drug and alcohol misuse, sexual health, mental health, homelessness, counselling, bullying and harassment support, safeguarding and child protection. Signposting and referrals where appropriate can be made to external support agencies.

There is also a counselling service which is free to enable students to cope with their problems in order to continue with their course and achieve their qualifications. To make an appointment just ring (01206) 712295.


I would like to be more involved with the College, is this possible?

Yes, we try to involve learners as much as possible at Colchester Institute. Each class has a Course Representative, who attends monthly meetings and can voice any issues relating to students experience at college, which you can put yourself forward for. There are also several Principal’s Question Time events each year, where students are invited to put questions to the Principal which you can attend.


How do I contact my tutor or find out more about my course?

During your course induction you will get a course handbook and be introduced to your personal tutor who will be your first point of contact for course related questions. To email a member of staff you use their first name followed by a full stop and then their surname followed by @colchester.ac.uk (eg. jane.smith@colchester.ac.uk)


What if I need extra help in the classroom?

If you have a learning difficulty and/or a disability then the Additional Learning Support team may to able to help put support in place. We offer in-class learning support, communicators and note-takers, or in some cases specialist tutors for dyslexia, literacy and numeracy, including one-to-one support. For students on Degree programmes we can advise you on claiming Disabled Student’s Allowance (DSA) to access additional support.

The team also co-ordinate access arrangements for exams, specialist equipment and learning aids and mobility and personal care support.

We work with the course areas to support students in a discreet way to help students achieve their maximum potential. Please talk to your course tutor or contact the team on (01206) 712839/712073 for more information.


What if I change my mind about the course I’m studying?

The Careers Team provide information, advice and guidance for all your queries on further study and progression to the world of work. They offer one-to-one confidential guidance interviews as well as a daily “drop in” service. So if you need help with choosing a career, progression, apprenticeships or job search contact the team at careers@colchester.ac.uk


Fees and Finance Questions

What help is available with course related costs?

We recognise that many students have financial worries and our Student Finance Team is on hand to advise you on the different options that might be open to you. Please view our Student Finance and Course Fees pages for more information. If the cost of coming to College is worrying you then please contact the Student Finance Team on (01206) 712078 or pop in and see us in the Student Finance office in Colchester, Student Services in Braintree or the Clacton Information Centre.


How do I pay for trips, kit or equipment?

The College operates a cashless payment system through our online shop, payments by cheques or cash are not accepted. Your tutor will be able to provide you with the details on how to register and create an account.

Facilties and Resources

How does the printing system work?

The College uses the Canon print anywhere system which allows students to print securely to any networked printer at any campus using your ID card. The first time you go to print you need to register your ID card. You can top up printing credit online through the College portal, at the College shop or use one of the coin operated top up machines.


Can I use the College Library?

Yes of course, most courses will include a Library induction where the staff will give you friendly, helpful advice to help you make the best use of the library services. But you don’t have to wait until your induction, just pop in and see the team who will be happy to help.

Travel Questions

Is there support for travel to College?

The College offers several attractive options to support students travelling to College, including the Colchester Institute Travel Scheme. Please contact Student Services on (01206) 712078/712446 for more details.

There may be financial assistance towards the cost of travel for families on a low income or where it can be demonstrated that travel costs will cause financial hardship.

Please contact Student Services on 01206 712078 to discuss travel options.


Can I park on site?

There is student parking at both the Colchester and Braintree campuses, however this is limited and there is no guarantee of a space.

Students need to apply for a parking permit to allow them to park on campus. The permit is free and can be obtained from our facilities department at Colchester or the information Centre at Braintree.

If parking a car at Colchester, there is a daily pay and display parking charge of £2.30 and a ticket must be displayed alongside a valid parking permit. There are ticket machines on site but they take CASH ONLY and do not provide change. In addition there is moped and motorcycle parking at Colchester which is free on production of a valid student ID card.

There is no charge for any student parking at our Braintree Campus on production of a valid student ID.

Please note: all vehicles are left at the owner’s own risk. The College accepts no liability for loss or damage to vehicles or belongings left on premises.


Can I buy a bus pass / travel pass on-line?

Both bus and train passes can be purchased on line through the Colchester Institute Online Store.

Creating on online account
Parents wishing to purchase travel passes will have to create an online store account by following the instructions below (please note that if you have two children studying at Colchester Institute, a separate account must be set up for each student to avoid any confusion):

Before making any purchase from the online store, you will be required to register with the store. To do this you should click on My Account and then click on the link under New Customer

Please enter your email address and provide a password. This is the email address to which all confirmations and receipts will be sent.

Enter your personal details.

Under Your Address, enter your postcode and house number. Then click find address. A list of addresses matching those provided will appear. Click in the circle next to the right address. The address fields will populate with the one chosen. You must give this address a name (e.g. Home / Work).

If the postcode look up cannot find your address, click the link to enter your address details manually

Click Continue to register your account

Forgotten your password? At each login stage, you will see a forgotten password button, where you enter your e-mail address and a reminder of your password is then sent to you, by e-mail, almost immediately

Purchasing a travel pass
Once you have created an account:
Click on ‘Product Catalogue’ under Navigation
Click on ‘Getting Here’
Click on either ‘First Bus Passes’ or ‘Train Tickets’
Click on the links under ‘Detailed Description’ if you need confirmation of the cost of your travel pass
Enter the cost of the pass in the ‘amount’ box the ‘add to basket’
Fill in the questionnaire
Click ‘next’
If details are correct, proceed to checkout
Once the transaction is complete, you will receive an email confirming your purchase.

Bus tickets can be collected from the College from Tuesday 1st September onwards once you have your purchase confirmation email.

Train tickets will be ordered for the student and once received at the College, we will send the student a text message confirming that the pass is ready for collection.

If you have any queries regarding travel, please call Student Services on 01206 712078.