What is an FE College?

What is a Further Education (FE) College?

FE colleges generally offer vocational (work-related) and specialist qualifications. They tend to provide courses for 16-18 year olds as well as adult learners, and often have close links with the community.

Course subjects

FE colleges offer a wide range of courses at a variety of levels.  Each college is different, so you will need to check with your chosen college what courses are available.  As a guide, the type of subjects on offer include:

  • Catering and Hospitality; Travel and Tourism; Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy;
  • Childcare and Social Care;
  • Fashion; Art and Design;
  • Computing and Information Technology;
  • Vehicle Mechanics; Construction; Painting and Decorating.


FE Colleges often offer courses such as English as a Foreign Language (EFL) and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) to help students develop their English Language skills.

Course and qualification levels

Popular courses include NVQs, BTECs, Apprenticeships, Foundation Degrees, HNCs and HNDs.  Our guide to vocational qualifications explains some of the different options available in more detail.

If you didn’t do well at school, Entry Level Courses generally offer another opportunity to gain qualifications and enable you to go on to study further college courses at a higher level.

The Access to Higher Education Diploma is a qualification which prepares students for study at university. It is designed for people who would like to study in Higher Education but who left school without the usual qualifications, such as A-levels. Assessment is usually by a combination of exams, presentations and projects.

Help with making choices

There is a wide range of courses and qualification on offer, so it’s worth taking some time to make the right choices. Attending an open day at your chosen college is a great way to find out more about what the college can offer and what will suit you. You can also speak to a Careers Advisor for help – visit the National Careers Service for contact information.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements vary, so you will need to check what they are for your chosen course and college. You also need to find out about the application process. In addition to meeting entry requirements you may need to attend an interview and/or assessment.

Help with costs

Details of help with childcare, support with learning costs such as transport, bursaries for students in financial hardship, and Dance and Drama Awards are available on GOV.UK.


Find out more

Find FE provides a search facility to find Further Education and Sixth Form Colleges in the UK


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