Many people believe that the only way to earn STEM qualifications is to go to university and, although this is an option, there are also many other routes for your STEM education journey. 
At the Lincolnshire Institute of Technology (LIoT), we work with education partners and employers across the county to offer individuals opportunities to prepare for work, re-enter the labour market and develop throughout their careers. 
Whether you learn best by doing theory, practical or a bit of both, there are plenty of options that will put you in a good position for technical employment. 
Higher Technical Qualifications (HTQs) 
HTQs are Level 4 and Level 5 qualifications available to young people starting their careers and adults looking to upskill or retrain. Academically, a Level 4 qualification is equivalent to one-third of a bachelor’s degree whereas a Level 5 is equivalent to two-thirds, but they’re especially valuable to employers. 
HTQs were first introduced in 2020 and are designed to be in line with the skills and expertise needed for work and to improve knowledge within the workplace. They ensure that learners gain the exact skills that employers want so that firms can be fully confident their staff have the skills, knowledge and behaviours required for their roles. 
HTQs include Higher National Certificates (HNCs), Higher National Diplomas (HNDs) and foundation degrees (FDs), so there are plenty of options available no matter what stage of life you're currently at. 
At LIoT, you can study HTQs in the construction, design and building sectors, as well as health and science. From September 2024, there will be several additions to this including business and administration, education and early years, engineering and manufacturing and legal, finance and accounting. 
Higher National Certificates/Diplomas (HNC/Ds) 
HNCs and HNDs are work-related or vocational higher education qualifications, which are based at Level 4 and Level 5. 
When studying for an HNC or HND, you will be learning skills related to a specific industry that can be used in a particular job. Our partners specialise in digital technologies, manufacturing and engineering, motor vehicle, science and construction so, when studying an HNC or HND with us, you’ll have career options including marine engineering, digital technologies and quantity surveying. 
HNCs take approximately one year to complete full-time and two years part-time, whereas HNDs take two years full-time and three to four years part-time. 
Foundation Degrees (FDs) 
FDs are another Level 5 qualification so they’re the academic equivalent of two-thirds of a Bachelors degree, an HND and Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE). They focus on developing in-demand technical skills for a particular job or profession, providing a strong platform for people seeking employment. 
They usually take two years full-time to complete or longer for part-time students and, if you decide you’d like to do a full degree after starting an FD, you can continue for a further year to gain a full honours degree. 
There are two types of FD - courses for people who are already in work and courses for people who are looking to enter a specific area of work. The former is ideal for people who want to study alongside their current role and the latter is better suited for people who want to break into an industry but don’t meet the formal entry requirements for a full degree course. 
We also work with our partners across Lincolnshire to deliver Level 3 apprenticeships in a variety of different areas. These are equivalent to A-Levels and subject areas include food technology, welding, digital marketing and IT solutions - just to name a few. 
Apprenticeships are jobs where students learn and gain valuable experience, at the same time as earning money. As well as gaining practical, hands-on experience in their job, apprentices also spend at least 20% of their working hours completing classroom-based learning with a college, university or training provider. 
Apprenticeships are available for people at all different stages of life, whether you are early in your career, looking to upskill in your current job or are looking for a career change. 
If you’ve decided that STEM is the route for you, then we’d love to help you develop your career. Why not visit our partners’ websites to find out more about what they have to offer? You can find the links below. 
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