Not to be confused with an art foundation degree, foundation degrees were introduced in 2001 and are both practical and flexible. They focus on precise skills and career outcomes. There are no prerequisite qualifications needed in order to apply.
Foundation degrees are generally vocational and therefore the outcome tends to be a job in a specific area. These areas and careers are usually within education, business studies, construction, or careers associated with medicine such as nursing, paramedics, sport and exercise science as well as training to be a police officer.
Many students who complete foundation degrees do so whilst in employment. Foundation degrees offer new qualifications and possibly an opportunity to change career whilst being employed rather than having to re-train without a wage.
A foundation degree is shorter than a full degree taking just 2 years to complete. It is, however, a national qualification and valued as much as a full degree by many businesses and industries thanks to students having practical work experience and a qualification.
Other than full-time attendance at a university there are a number of other ways students can work and study by applying for a foundation degree as part-time students. It will take 3-4 year to complete the degree.
"The more you learn, the more you can earn" Lord Bilimoria
Completed through distance learning. The course is presented online and interaction with the tutor and other students can be made by a number of methods: email, conference calls, online forums. There also maybe occasional residential weekends or day sessions.
Work-based learning (WBL).
Actual work is submitted as the coursework for assessment.
WBL programs often find private or public instructions to partner with them to develop foundation degrees. This is ideal for individuals already working in a particular field who would like a degree to help them advance further.
A combination of online learning and attendance at the institution of choice.
It is possible upon completion of a foundation degree to convert it into a bachelors degree by completing further units and gaining the required number of credits. The exciting part about topping up a foundation degree is that it does not have to be completed immediately, the time frame is created to suit the student and other demands on their time.
Like a full degree, foundation degrees have fees attached to them. Funding options are available to help pay. Further information on fees can be found from the course provider and UCAS.
There are a number of businesses who already see the added value of foundation degrees, they know these qualifications are good for them and their employees. These companies will consider sponsoring employees to complete one whilst they working for them as a WBL student. Some of these companies are listed here:
- Youngs Bluecrest Seafood
- Rolls Royce
- Baxter and Platts
- Network Rail
- Balfour Beatty
- BMW Group
- Radisson Edwardian Hotels
- Norwich Union
- Ford UK
- KLM UK Engineering
- Hampshire Police Service
- United Utilities
- Nottingham City Transport
- London Ambulance Service
UCAS has an online data base finder for foundation degrees, (it is a bit clunky, but bear with it).