Key Facts

Entry Level 3
Subject Sector:
14.1 Foundations for Learning and Life
Qualification No:
175 hours
Total qualification time:
250 hours
Age Range:
Pre 16, 16-18, 19+

Whilst some of our qualifications are regulated for pre 16 learners our minimum age is 14.

Qualification purpose

Prepare for further learning or training and/or develop knowledge and/or skills in a subject area

Qualification Grading Type


Assessment Methods

  • Portfolio of Evidence

  • Why choose this qualification?

    These qualifications have been developed to enable learners who are vocationally undecided to have their achievements recognised across a number of different vocational sectors.

    These qualifications are linked to the Gateway Qualifications Suite of Skills qualifications, available in the vocational sectors at Entry 3, Level 1 and Level 2 which are progression routes from the Vocational Studies suite.

    The employability skills units are common across the suite and also appear within Gateway Qualifications qualifications in Employability Skills. Some of the employability skills units also make up the Gateway Qualifications Personal, Learning and Thinking Skills qualifications and the Entry 3 employability skills units also feature in the Entry 3 Preparation for Employment qualifications.

    Rules of Combination

    Learners must complete 25 credits with at least 13 credits achieved at Entry 3. 18 credits must come from Group O1 (Optional Units: Sector Specific Skills) and a maximum of 7 may come from Group O2 (Optional Units: Employability Skills, English and Maths). Learners may take units from up to 4 sectors in Group O1. Learners cannot include more than one unit with the same or similar title.

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    What is the purpose of this qualification?

    This qualification is for learners, young people and adults, who would benefit from exploring different possible career options, while building up a set of employability skills useful across sectors, usually prior to progressing to more specialised vocational learning in a specific sector at Level 1. It is likely to be of particular relevance to:

    • young people leaving school or returning to education following a period of being NEET, without clear career aspirations or unable to make up their minds between different options, often due to a lack of knowledge about them, and who are in need of an extended programme to prepare them for learning at the next level
    • learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities with aspirations for employment but without a clear understanding of the world of work or the different sorts of job roles that may be open to them in the future
    • adults who have been long-term unemployed, who need to identify sectors and job roles within them where the

    What skills, knowledge, or understanding does this qualification develop?

    This qualification includes units covering introductory knowledge and skills from a range of different sectors (eg health and social care; hospitality and catering, hair and beauty, construction) alongside more generic employability skills (eg team work, time management, problem-solving). There are no mandatory units, enabling learners to combine units in areas of potential interest to them. Learners must, however, include units from two or three different sectors and at least 18 of the 25 credits required for the qualification must be derived from sector-specific (rather than generic employability) units.

    How is this qualification different from other, similar qualifications?

    The qualification is part of a suite which includes a Certificate, an Extended Certificate and a Diploma. Learners should take the Extended Certificate if they need a programme of a reasonable size that will help them choose between two or three different sectors, increases their understanding of the world of work in general, and enables them to gain some of the basic knowledge and skills that will support their progression to sector-specific learning at Level 1.

    Which sector does this qualification support?

    The qualification is not intended to lead directly to employment, although some learners may progress to entry-level jobs or supported employment opportunities in their chosen sector.

    What are the progression options?

    The primary purpose of this qualification is to enable learners to identify a sector in which they would like to work and to gain the knowledge and skills to support their progression through further learning to employment in that sector. The qualification supports progression to level 1 vocational learning in any of the sectors included within the qualification, eg a Level 1 Extended Certificate in Retail.

    Progression & entry requirements

    There are no age restrictions for this qualification and no specific requirements for prior learning or attainment.

    Funding information

    There are now two main sources for funding information, a straightforward ESFA Qualification Search and the more detailed Find a Learning Aim website.

    The new Find a learning aim (FALA) service provides a search tool that you can use to check the funding status of any qualification, framework, unit, standard or T Level:

    View this qualification on the ESFA’s Find a learning aim website

    The Education and Skills Funding Agency search provides funding information on qualifications. It does not provide funding information for units, non-regulated activity and work placements, for this information please use Find a learning aim (FALA).

    View this qualification on the ESFA Qualification Funding Search

    How to find a learning aim

    If you’re not sure how to use the new find a learning aim website, we’ve created a handy walkthrough to help you:

    How to Use: Find a learning Aim

    We have done our best to collate and summarise the key information, and wherever possible we alert our providers to changes in funding policy.

    This funding information is provided in good faith and it is always advisable to check directly with the funding agencies before committing to delivery.