We offer BTEC Firsts to UK and international centres. Read more about BTEC Firsts in your region here.

Read more
User tabs

Find out more about the profile of a typical BTEC First learner, what and how they learn, how they are assessed, and the progression opportunities on offer with a BTEC First. 

Learner profile

Developed in consultation with employers and teaching professionals, BTEC Firsts are designed for level 2 learners, and are equivalent to GCSEs.  

The majority of BTEC First students are likely to be in the 14-19 age group, although BTEC Firsts are suitable for learners of any age needing an engaging introduction to life and work in a vocational sector.  

A successful BTEC First learner demonstrates the high standards of knowledge, practical skills and understanding required for further study and employment.

What you learn

BTECs Firsts are divided into:

  • core or mandatory units
  • optional specialist units.

Each unit covers a specific area of knowledge, skills and understanding required by the sector.  

Every BTEC First learner will study the mandatory units, ensuring all students gain a solid foundation through a broad understanding and knowledge of the sector.  

The BTEC First teaching team then has the freedom to build a course to suit local needs and their learners’ interests and aspirations by selecting from a range of optional units and pathways that support progression to further study, an apprenticeship or into employment.

How you learn  

BTEC students develop their knowledge and understanding by applying their learning and skills in a work-related context.

The teaching team creates a series of assignments, which can be written or activity based. The format of the assignments varies to suit the needs of the subject area, and could include activities such as creating a film clip, planning and putting on a performance, or creating a business plan.

BTEC First assignments offer learners the opportunity to demonstrate their learning in a real-life context. Students work on assignments in a variety of ways; some they complete on their own, and for others they work as part of a team.

How you are assessed

All BTEC Firsts are assessed predominantly through teacher- or tutor-led internal assessment. Next generation BTEC Firsts are assessed through a combination of internal and external assessment.

Next generation BTEC Firsts (NQF) are assessed through a combination of:

  • teacher- or tutor-led internal assessment throughout the course using assignments (see 'How you learn' above)

  • up to 25% external assessment (a test set by the awarding organisation) which can be taken either during or at the end of the course.

The type of external assessment is tailored to the subject, and can be:

  • a paper-based test
  • a set task
  • an onscreen, on-demand test.


Together, these styles of assessment provide:

  • the opportunity to measure progress on a continuous basis (as you do in the workplace)
  • the rigour of external benchmarking expected by employers and higher education institutions.

BTEC Level 2 Firsts (QCF) are assessed through 100% internal assessment.

Progress with BTEC Firsts

Taken as part of a balanced curriculum, BTEC Firsts provide a tried-and-trusted progression route to further study, to an apprenticeship or into employment.

How to progress with BTEC Firsts

Find out more about our BTEC International Level 2 qualifications, what and how you’ll learn, how you’ll be assessed, and the opportunities for progression. 

What are BTEC International Level 2 qualifications?

Our BTEC International Level 2 Certificates, Extended Certificates and Diplomas offer learners the knowledge, understanding and skills that they need to prepare for employment.

Equivalent to International GCSEs and tailored to the needs of international schools and colleges, they’re designed in a range of sectors for learners who wish to explore a work-related vocational qualification or specific industry area.

These qualifications are not available to centres in the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or British Armed Forces schools based overseas.

Learner profile

The majority of BTEC International Level 2 students are likely to be in the 14-19 age group, although the qualifications are suitable for learners of any age needing an engaging introduction to life and work in a vocational sector.

A successful BTEC International Level 2 learner demonstrates the high standards of knowledge, practical skills and understanding required for further study and employment.

What subjects are available?

BTEC International Level 2 qualifications are available in the following subjects:

Art and Design
Beauty Therapy
Business
Construction
Creative Media Production
Engineering
Health and Social Care
Hospitality
IT
Music
Performing Arts
Sport
Travel and Tourism

What you learn

BTEC International Level 2 qualifications are divided into:

  • core or mandatory units
  • optional specialist units.

Each unit covers a specific area of knowledge, skills and understanding required by the sector.

Every learner will study the mandatory units, ensuring all students gain a solid foundation through a broad understanding and knowledge of the sector.

The teaching team then has the freedom to build a course to suit local needs and their learners’ interests and aspirations by selecting from a range of optional units and pathways that support progression to further study or into employment.

How you learn

BTEC students develop their knowledge and understanding by applying their learning and skills in a work-related context.

The teaching team creates a series of assignments, which can be written or activity-based. The format of the assignments varies to suit the needs of the subject area, and could include activities such as creating a film clip, planning and putting on a performance, or creating a business plan.

BTEC International Level 2 assignments offer learners the opportunity to demonstrate their learning in a real-life context. Students work on assignments in a variety of ways; some they complete on their own, and for others they work as part of a team.

How you are assessed

Our BTEC International Level 2 qualifications are assessed through teacher- or tutor-led internal assessment.

Progress with BTEC International Level 2 qualifications

On completing a BTEC International Level 2 qualification, learners can move onto further study in the same or a related vocational area, or directly into employment.

Learners will be able to progress to BTEC Level 3, A level and International Advanced Level qualifications. The skills developed while studying a BTEC qualification also support progression into local study programmes.

Changes to international BTECs from September 2014

Our new BTEC International Level 2 qualifications replaced the BTEC Level 2 First QCF qualifications outside the UK on 1 September 2014.

These international-only qualifications:

  • are very similar in content, structure and assessment to the BTEC Level 2 First QCF qualifications
  • follow the same quality assurance process as the BTEC Level 2 First QCF qualifications
  • are 100% internally assessed
  • enable progression to the next level of study
  • continue to offer a high level of support to help centres with qualification delivery.  

On 1 September 2014, UK centres moved to next generation BTEC Level 2 Firsts on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF), which uses a combination of internal and external assessment. This meant withdrawing our existing BTEC Level 2 Firsts on the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF).

After careful consideration, we came to the conclusion that it was not appropriate to offer the new BTEC Level 2 First NQF qualifications outside the UK. This is because they create challenges for international centres with:

  • external assessment timetabling (making assessment opportunities available at a time which is suitable for learners outside the UK)
  • aligning to the UK academic year (many international centres run roll-on, roll-off programmes that are not suited to a qualification with external assessment opportunities, timed to fit in with a teaching year starting in September).

Instead we decided to create these new Pearson BTEC International Level 2 qualifications, which are tailored to the needs of centres outside the UK to ensure they can continue to deliver our high-quality BTEC Level 2 programmes.

These qualifications are regulated by Pearson rather than Ofqual (the regulator of qualifications in England) and are therefore not available to learners in England.

We already use the Pearson-regulated framework for many qualifications including International GCSE and International Advanced Level (IAL), which are recognised by universities around the world. The Pearson-regulated framework ensures that every international qualification:

  • offers progression opportunities to further study or employment
  • includes the appropriate level of demand
  • can be effectively quality-assured.
     

The last registration date for BTEC Level 2 First QCF qualifications internationally was 31 August 2014. The last certification date will be 31 August 2016. Existing students have the option to drop down the size of the qualification they are studying within the parameters set for the last certification date. 

The new BTEC International Level 2 qualifications will be approved from 1 September 2014 until 31 August 2018 for new registrations.

The last certification date for these qualifications will be 31 August 2020.

During this time we'll consult with centres as part of our ongoing review process to make sure that the qualifications contain appropriate content and meet learner needs.