FE colleges (further education college) are education and training institutions that are very different to schools.
Further education colleges are attended by people of all ages – unlike schools – from 16 to 90+ although most students are between 16 and 18 years old as all young people must now stay in learning until their 18th birthday.
Some colleges are very large, with several sites or campuses and some are specialist, such as those offering agricultural or marine courses.
FE college provides high-quality technical and professional education and training for young people, as well as adults. They prepare students with valuable skills for the workplace, helping to develop their career opportunities.
In 2015 there were more young adults in FE college than in university: 2.9 million compared with 2.4 million.
Further education includes any study after secondary education that is not part of higher education: an undergraduate or graduate degree. Courses range from basic English and maths programmes to Higher National Diplomas (HNDs).
FE college is a totally different world to school or sixth form college: you are expected to be responsible and take control of your own time-management, which can be great for those craving more independence.
The environment is also less formal: you’re likely to be on first name terms with most of the staff, whatever their age, and it’s unlikely there will be any dress code – definitely not a school uniform – which can be very appealing to some young people.
A full time course at college is 16 hours, which can mean a student can have a part-time job at the same time (but they will be expected to complete course work and projects too!). Students required to re-sit or take English and maths as part of their study programme may be in college for more hours each week.