Celebrating success as 241,000 career-focused BTEC students head to university and work | Pearson qualifications

Celebrating success as 241,000 career-focused BTEC students head to university and work

15 August 2018
  • BTECs support career-focused education that aligns to The Future of Skills: Employment in 2030.
  • Today results are available to be shared with BTEC students who have completed the revised BTEC Nationals, which have been developed within a new framework reflecting the views of Higher Education and employers.
  • Early analysis shows similar overall pass rate year on year, but a decrease in the number of students receiving the top grade as overall standards rise, reflecting the more challenging curriculum.
  • The most popular subjects studied are Business, Sport, Health and Social Care, IT and Applied Science.
  • As with previous years, an anticipated 100,000 BTEC students will confirm places at university this Autumn – approximately one in four students starting at university will have a BTEC.
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Today, to mark BTEC Results Day (August 15) in schools and colleges across the country, Pearson is issuing preliminary results of the revised Level 3 BTEC Nationals (the same level as A Level) for 2018. These preliminary results represent roughly 80% of the final results. As always, full results will be issued in the Autumn once all BTEC qualifications for this year have been completed.


What’s new in 2018?

BTECs are the UK’s most popular career qualification, and roughly 241,000 Level 3 students have completed their qualifications thus far this year. 2018 marks the first time that learners completing the revised BTEC Nationals on two-year courses will receive their results. BTECs are internationally-recognised qualifications taught in 60 countries.  They are supporting an increased global demand for high-quality, career-focused education, preparing learners with the skills required to be successful in the workplace of the future.

A key feature of the new Level 3 BTEC Nationals is the introduction of external assessment. In previous years a BTEC was awarded solely through continuous teacher-assessed coursework and assignments.

The new qualifications, developed in consultation with employers, professional bodies and higher education representatives, provide enhanced support for learner progression and represent a raising of the bar in line with other reformed UK qualifications.

As with GCSE and A Level reforms, the transition to these new BTECs is gradual and will bed down in the coming years. Approximately 44,000 BTEC students will today receive final results for these new qualifications – with external tests included – and this number will rise in future years.

Early analysis by Pearson on students receiving the new BTEC certifications this year suggests a similar overall pass rate year on year, but a decrease in the number of students receiving the top grade (Distinction *). This is reflective of the more challenging curriculum implemented in response to the need of higher education providers for greater differentiation at the top end. A more detailed analysis will be issued alongside our full BTEC results in the autumn.

The provisional data indicates the five most popular BTECs studied this year are Business, Sport, Health and Social Care, IT and Applied Science.

BTEC students progress onto HE and into the world of work

Over 1 million learners every year take BTEC qualifications and BTEC continues to be the nation’s fastest growing route into university, with almost one in four students who started university last year having taken the qualification.

Many other students getting BTEC results today will be starting employment in the autumn. BTECs embed the key skills that employers value, including practical work experience, team-working and presentation skills, and research indicates that BTEC qualifications are associated with higher employment rates and higher wage returns. 


Rod Bristow, President of Pearson in the UK, commented:

“Today we congratulate all BTEC students for their achievements and wish them every future success as they look to the next phase of their lives entering higher education or building their careers.

“BTECs provide an invaluable combination of academic and technical study that enables flexible progression to university and the world of work. Now, more than ever, our redeveloped qualifications offer career-focused pathways, responding to the needs of employers and HE to provide progression opportunities for UK students from a broad range of socio-economic backgrounds.”

Notes to editor

For further information please contact Hamir Patel on hamir.patel@instinctif.com or 0207 457 2072 / 07771 780 946


Additional quotes


“I studied BTEC Sport and for me BTEC was a no-brainer.  I’m the type of person who wants to get stuck in and really involved in what I do.  BTEC is practical as well as coursework based so it was perfect because that’s the way I learn best.”

Max Whitlock MBE, double Olympic gold medal gymnast


“BTEC students that come here with vocational skills can really add something extra to the university setting.  We’re seen a real rise in the number of BTEC students applying to the university and we’ve accepted many more. What we’re really pleased to see is that those students are going on to be really successful at the University of Exeter.”

Ian Blenkharn, Director of Student Experience, University of Exeter


“What I love the most about teaching BTEC is the creativity.  Quite a few of our students go on to study professional acting, dancing, musical theatre, the sky is the limit!”

Tanya Veron, Performing Arts Teacher, Suffolk One Sixth Form College, BTEC College of the Year 2018.


“In this day and age, in 21st century society needs young people who are skilled to be able to work.  We are very firm believers in BTEC and work related learning.”

Maka Baramidze, Vice Principal Westminster Academy, BTEC School of the Year 2018.


“My interest lies in the field of innovation and the creation of electronic items.  I chose BTEC as a vocational pathway into higher education to further my studies in robotics which I believe is one of the best ways of contributing to the world.”

Mu’az Abdul Harim - BTEC International Student of the Year 2016, KKTMPJ College, Malaysia


“BTEC qualifications allow us to acquire skills that 90% of college students in the world don’t acquire.  Skills such as teamwork, creative thinking, communication and presentation skills. Those skills make us distinctive at university and in practical life.”

Sarah Khalil Ibrahim Almejrab, BTEC Level 5 ,Business administration, ABChorizon Academy - Istanbul


“A BTEC empowers young people and inspires them with an amazing hands on learning experience.  It helps to develop their skills, nurture their potential and gives them the confidence to progress in their chosen career or into higher education”

Zoe Jackson MBE, Entrepreneur and Founder of Living the Dream Performing Arts Company




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