School Leavers / Further Education (16+)

Welcome to Further EducationSchool Leavers – What can I study?Course Types – Qualifications ExplainedStudy ProgrammesProgramme Levels and Entry RequirementsWork ExperienceApplying for a Full-Time courseProgression to Higher EducationOur ProspectusParents and Carers – Welcome from the PrincipalParents and Carers – How can we help?Schools LiaisonStudent LifeCareers AdviceFAQ

Alison Andreas

At Colchester Institute we are passionate about your success.

Our aim is to provide you with every opportunity to gain the skills, qualifications and experience that will give you the best possible chance to succeed on your Study Programme or apprenticeship, to progress onto higher levels of study and to gain rewarding work in the job or career you choose. 

We have high expectations of our students and in return we want you to have high expectations of us. We aim to deliver on those expectations by ensuring that you receive the best possible practical and learning support to help you to succeed.

Our tutors have excellent experience of the world of work and delivery takes place in industry standard teaching and training facilities, which are being updated all the time. In Colchester, we have recently added a fantastic new facility for training in Health and Social Care to our £10m development supporting STEM subjects, and we now have a great new fitness gym for use by all students. At Braintree we have just completed a whole campus transformation programme, providing outstanding learning environments for all subject areas, including some of the very best facilities in the country for Digital Media and Engineering. 

Our website 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 of course this cannot tell you everything! I hope that you will come and meet with staff and students and explore our campuses at one of our Open Events. Come and see for yourself how continuing your education and training at one of Colchester Institute’s exciting campuses can set you on the right path to success, whether your next destination is a university degree, a further course of study, an apprenticeship or into the world of work.

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


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

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 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 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 (UCAS report – Progression Pathways Jan 2016)
  • 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:

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.

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 15-19 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.

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.

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/9-4) we’ll build GEM around your main course of study, enhancing your existing skills and developing new ones.

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.

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. 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.

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.


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.


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:

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

Work experience will be an important element of your Study Programme

We’ve teamed up with local employers to bring you a range of placement opportunities to help you gain valuable skills for the workplace and prepare you for an exciting career.

All students will take part in at least 30 hours of work experience as part of their course. Some courses will require more substantive work experience of between 45 – 60 days.

Why is work experience part of my study programme?

Work experience is an important step towards getting the job you want. At work, you’ll develop the real skills you need for success, enabling you to explore different career options and build up your CV, ready to land a great first job.

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.

Our commitment to you
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

The College’s Careers Guidance team is available to students across all campuses to provide information and careers advice to assist with students’ future employment.

Examples of students’ work experience

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

There are also opportunities to take part in employabilty activities as part of your study programme which could include:

  • 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

***Applications for full-time courses to start in September 2022 are now open!***

If you are looking to start, or are a parent/guardian of a learner looking to start in September 2022, then bookings for our popular Open Events are also open.

Open Events

Applying for a Full-Time course

In order to apply for a full-time course you will need to follow the below steps:

  1. First select the course you wish to apply for using the course finder button located after step 3.
  2. Once you are on the page of your chosen course and you are certain that you would like to apply for this course, click the ‘Apply Online’ button for the campus that you would like to study at.
  3. You will be taken to our online application login page and you will need to set up an account. Click ‘create an account’ to begin the application process.

We have also prepared a step-by-step video guide – please view this video which will guide you through the application process.

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Open Events

The Application window for full-time courses starting in September 2022 is open from October 1st 2021.

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.

Our highly experienced Careers Advice and Guidance team provide wide-ranging support to students wishing to apply to university, including dedicated UCAS support throughout the year.
Alongside Course and Progression and Destination Tutors, our Advisors provide support right the way through from the point of choosing institutions and selecting suitable higher education courses through to securing a place at university.

Colchester Institute also hosts an annual ‘Moving on Up’ Progression Fair, organised for students to find out about the opportunities available for when they have finished their studies with us. We encourage students to attend this event and ask lots of questions about what employers and universities are looking for and what you need to do during the rest of your time here to put yourself in the best position to secure one of these opportunities.

The event is attended by over 40 representatives from the world of work, including employers, universities and volunteer organisations. There is also the opportunity to discover more about what you can do here if you choose to study at University Centre Colchester.

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

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.

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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

Every week we visit numerous local schools and colleges, delivering presentations, attending parents evenings and careers conventions. We also talk to Year 10, 11, 12 and 13 students, discussing course choices and career options.

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 or college based careers evenings to provide information to students and parents about the FE and HE courses at the College. Please get in touch using our contact details shown below.


What Can We Offer
Meet The Team

Student Life at Colchester Institute

The duration of a  full time study programme can vary by course and students are given timetable details at the start of their course. It is usual for students to be in College for at least two to three days a week.  It is expected that all students will attend all timetabled lessons.

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 Tuesdays 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 9-4 (A*-c) in English or maths will need to keep studying these. If you haven’t yet achieved a GCSE high grade in English and/or maths, you’ll attend timetabled English and/or maths classes and work towards achieving grade C or above.

Part-time Work
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.

Make a payment through the online store

Careers Advice

Good careers advice can make a positive difference to a student’s aspirations and motivation whilst at college. It can be instrumental in increasing their self-confidence and enable them to discover opportunities they never would have considered.

Based at our Colchester Campus, Colchester Institute’s team of careers advisers provide information, advice and guidance to enable their students to make informed decisions about their future and help find the best job or career possible for them. Our advisors have a wealth of experience and hold at least Level 6 or higher guidance qualifications.

If you are still at school we recommend that you contact your school careers adviser for help about your future pathway.
Alternatively you can contact the National Careers Service helpline for information and advice about jobs, careers and training.
National Careers Service helpline
National Careers Service
Telephone: 0800 100 900

It can be confusing to plan your next step after leaving school as there are so many different options to choose from. To help you get started please explore our useful links.

Careers Advice and Guidance

Careers Programme

Useful Links



Ask a question

Careers Advice and Guidance

Located at our Colchester Campus, the Careers team are available Monday – Thursday 8.30am – 5pm and Fridays 8:30am – 4:30pm.

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 50 representatives from the world of work, higher education and voluntary organisations.

The College holds the matrix quality standard for information, advice and guidance services. This is the Department for Education’s (DfE) standard for ensuring the quality of the delivery of information, advice and guidance is of the highest quality.


If you have a question or feedback for the careers team or if you are an employer  and would like to become involved with our Careers Programme, please contact us using the form below.

We value all feedback on our Careers Information Advice and Guidance services.

Louise Cantrill-Godden
Operational Careers Leader

Careers Programme

The College offers a rich and varied CEIAG (careers education, information, advice and guidance) programme which is based upon the Gatsby Foundation’s Good Career Guidance benchmarks. Details of which can be found here:

If you have a question or feedback for the careers team or if you are an employer  and would like to become involved with our Careers Programme, please contact us using the form below.

We value all feedback on our Careers Information Advice and Guidance services.

Louise Cantrill-Godden
Operational Careers Leader

Ask a Question

If you have a question or feedback for the careers team or if you are an employer  and would like to become involved with our Careers Programme, please contact us using the form below.

We value all feedback on our Careers Information Advice and Guidance services.

Louise Cantrill-Godden
Operational Careers Leader

Useful Links

Find out what a job involves and if it’s right for you.

The world of work explained with advice from people who’ve found the right path for them.

Higher Education

Find the right course and university for you

The organisation responsible for managing applications to Higher Education courses in the UK.


Apprenticeships explained

Alternative paths to university, including apprenticeship and volunteering opportunities.


Preparation for the world of work

Giving young people skills, careers support and tools to fulfil their potential

If you have a question or feedback for the careers team or if you are an employer  and would like to become involved with our Careers Programme, please contact us using the form below.

We value all feedback on our Careers Information Advice and Guidance services.

Louise Cantrill-Godden
Operational Careers Leader

Careerometer: Job Comparison Tool

Start by typing in a job that you might be interested in and then select a match from the list to see the data. You can then include a second choice to compare the compare key information about the different jobs – including salary, working hours etc.

Use the Careerometer below to explore and compare your job ideas and help you make your course choice.

Skillsometer: Discover what jobs you might do in the future

This is a quiz that can help you figure out what you want to do in the future. After you start the quiz, you will be shown a series of cards with statements.

You will be presented with a series of statements. For each statement, please think about whether you would like or have an interest in doing this in a future job. Select the emoji that represents what you think. At the end, you will be given some ideas about jobs linked to what you would like to do.

If you wish to start again please refresh the page.

Application Questions

How do I apply?

All applications must be made through our online application system.

You will need to create an account that you can then log back into to track your application.

Information on creating an account and making an application.

What do I do if I can’t remember my log in details to access my account?

  • Check that you have used the correct Username (This was sent by email when you first created your account)
  • Check that you are entering the correct password.
  • Check you are spelling the username and password correctly.
  • Remember these fields are case sensitive.

If you are still having trouble and are unable to access your account we are able to provide further help and support options via the link below:

Use this link to reset password

Is there a closing date for applications?

We encourage you to apply as soon as possible. For full-time further education programmes our initial deadline for receiving applications is 31st January 2022 for a guaranteed place on your chosen programme (subject to you satisfying the entry requirements).

What happens after I apply?

Once your application has been submitted our admissions team will complete some data checks including checking that you meet the published entry criteria for your chosen subject.

For most programmes you will then receive an email inviting you to log back into your account to book your telephone interview. If you have applied for Music or Performing Arts we will email you with a date and for an audition.

Please check your emails as all communication will be sent by this method.

What happens at my telephone interview?

You will be asked to book a pre-arranged timeslot and you will need to be ready to answer your phones between the times stated. The call will come from either an 01206 number or it might show as withheld or unknown.

The interview is designed to let out teaching staff find out about you and your interest in the course. To prepare you might want to think about what you enjoy doing, why you have applied for this course, what subjects you expect to do well in (if you are still at school/college) and how you will manage your revision in readiness for any exams.

How will I know if have been offered a place?

Once you have had your interview / audition we will email you to let you know if you have an offer. Offers will be subject to you meeting the published entry requirements of the chosen programme, once GCSE results have been published and provided to the College.

If you are not offered a place on your chosen programme, we will do our best to support you in finding an appropriate alternative.

How do I apply for an apprenticeship?

If you would also like to be considered for an apprenticeship you must tick the appropriate box on your application.

Our apprenticeship team will contact you to discuss this further and provide you with further information.

As you need to have an employer to undertake an apprenticeship we will prioritise your full-time application until you have confirmed that you have an employment contract in place.

How can I get additional support?

If you have a disability or learning difficulty, you must tell us this on your application.  Our support team will contact you for further information and to assess your needs.

If you are not sure about what of the support is available please speak to our Additional Learning Support team on 01206712073 or by emailing:

Our Additional Learning Support teams are also available at all of our open events.

Will my school/college be contacted?

If you are currently at school/college we will contact them to confirm your predicted GCSE grades and get 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 about my course?

If at any point during the application process you wish to change your programme choice, please contact us as soon as possible please. We can change a programme choice, but your original one will be withdrawn. Do not make a second application.

If you have already been made an offer, you will have to attend another interview for your new course.

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. This will be listed as entry criteria in our prospectus.

There will be an additional cost associated with this.

When is my Welcome and Induction Day?

You will need to come to College for one day on either Monday 4th or Tuesday 5th July 2022 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. Keep checking your emails as we will send out more information about this, and other updates, throughout the year.

Enrolment Questions

How is my place on my course confirmed?

You will be told how to upload you GCSE results, and any other qualifications you are taking or have already achieved, on Thursday 25th August 2022. Even if you have studied at Colchester Institute before you must still upload evidence of your exam results.

When these are received, the course tutors check them against the published entry criteria and confirm your offer on the most appropriate level of study for you, and ask you to complete your enrolment online.

You must check your email account regularly to make sure you know what to do, we will set a 3pm deadline on Friday August 25th 2022 to upload evidence of your qualifications. If you miss this deadline there is no guarantee that you will get a place on your course.

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

Even if you haven’t got the grades you need you must still follow the instructions and upload you results on Thursday 25th August 2022. The course tutors will need to see these in case there is another level of course you cvan go on. If not you will receive an email with a link to book a slot onto one of our Advice Sessions. These sessions allow you to talk to other course areas, or our careers team, to see if there is something else suitable.

When is the start of term?

Wednesday 7th September 2022, but start dates are staggered across the Wednesday and Thursday of that week. You will receive your actual start date and first day information shortly after your enrolment – so look out for the information when it comes.

When will timetables be issued?

In most cases, timetables cannot be confirmed until after enrolment is concluded and students are sorted into groups. Actual timetables are usually shared on the first day of term.

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.

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 (eg.

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

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.

Commencing in September 2020, Colchester will be a cashless campus. In line with this, our car parks will be managed by ANPR barriers and we will be using app-based technology to pay for Pay and Display parking with JustPark. Please go to the Apple App Store or Android Play Store to download the app and add your details prior to parking on campus.

Parking Permits

There is no longer a requirement for staff and students to display a physical permit on their dashboard. The online system logs all details of registered vehicles and uses ANPR to allow access.

If you are not registered, you are not authorised to park onsite and you will not be able to gain access.

Students are only registered for the duration of their course; staff details are to be requested in July 2020 and remain registered from this date until the next survey annually.

For those dropping staff and students off, this is still possible and you will not be charged providing you exit the campus as soon as you can following the drop off.

Parking Tariff

  • Pay and Display – £2.50 per day
  • Staff – £11.90 per month deducted monthly for 10 months [Sept-June]
  • CLMG – £ 24 per month deducted monthly for 10 months [Sept – June]

How do I pay for my Pay and Display Parking?

There a number of ways to pay for your parking now online or by phone, but please be aware there will no longer be any onsite payment facilities. Failure to pay for parking as above will mean you will not be able to park on campus.

Staff Parking – How are monthly deductions taken?

Prior to the new academic year, a staff survey will be sent to capture registration details of vehicles and for you to advise what tariff you will be using. Please ensure that this is filled out accurately and returned as soon as possible. Failure to do so will mean you will not be able to access the campus in the new year without having registered.

Staff parking on campus is now operated on an opt out basis. A survey will be sent each summer for the purpose of updating any registration details. At any point during the year if your details change, or you wish to cancel your permit please get in touch with

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. More information can be found in our Travel Information section.

Creating an 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.