Foundation degrees – what are they?

Newry Times News Posted by
Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

Foundation degrees are becoming more popular and widely available these days but many people still aren’t sure what exactly a foundation degree is. 

Johnny Nolan, Careers Manager for Newry in the Department for Employment and Learning’s Careers Service

Johnny Nolan, Careers Manager for Newry in the Department for Employment and Leaning’s Careers Service explained, “A Foundation Degree is a Higher Education qualification which combines academic and work based learning. 

“Foundation Degrees are designed and delivered through partnerships between employers and Further Education colleges so that they meet the specific higher level skills needs of employers. 

“They are particularly suitable for people in employment who want to improve their skills and prospects in their current job through part-time higher level study.

“As a Foundation Degree student you would combine academic and work related learning to gain the technical skills, academic knowledge and transferable skills that the employers in your chosen area look for.Following graduation from a Foundation Degree you also have the option of progressing to an Honours Degree at university.

Nolan continued, “The six local colleges deliver Foundation Degrees in a wide range of subjects including ICT, Interactive Media, Retail Management, Hospitality and Tourism and the Construction and Engineering disciplines.

“Application for courses is normally made direct to the college and courses are available on a full-time basis over two years and a part-time basis over three or four years. 

“Part-time Foundation Degrees allow flexible delivery so that you will be able to study towards the qualification at a time to suit.In your case this may allow you to continue to work full time whilst studying for the Foundation Degree.

“The entry requirements for a Foundation Degree depend on the course and the college. They will normally be stated in terms of A Levels and GCSEs or their vocational equivalents.

“However, applicants who lack formal qualifications but who can demonstrate they have relevant experience, skills and aptitudes may also be considered,” Johnny added.

You can find out more about Foundation Degrees by talking to a careers adviser (Telephone 0300 200 7820 or or by contacting your local college to see what Foundation Degree courses they offer. 

Links to the Further Education college websites and contact telephone numbers can be found by logging onto

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