Whether you are a business looking to hire staff or an employee looking to advance your career, selecting the right training course is a crucial part of ensuring success in the workplace. This is particularly relevant today given that we live and work in a global market place and many people will have several careers over the course of their lifetime.
In this article, we turn out attention to the world of HNCs and the value that they can bring in bridging the skills gap.
HNC is short for Higher National Certificate. It is a one-year level 4 vocational qualification taken post A level, as an apprenticeship or for professional development. The qualification is awarded by BTEC in England and the SQA in Scotland. It is not to be confused with an HND which is a Higher National Diploma. An HNC is comparable to the first year of a university undergraduate degree or a Certificate of Higher Education and can be used as a stepping stone to the two-year Higher National Diploma or an undergraduate degree.
What are the benefits of an HNC?
- Courses are vocational
HNCs are built around the demands of the workplace- they offer specific skill-based training and a qualification that is directly relevant to your employment.
- No scary exams at the end
Courses are broken down into modules or units with practical tasks and ongoing written assessments and projects. This allows you to keep track of your progress and receive feedback as you go along- which can boost morale and performance.
- Flexibility in time and study pattern
An HNC may be studied full time in one year or spread out over two to four years part-time. They may be taken at university or via distance learning from home to fit around other work or family commitments.
- Great value for money
If you are between careers, An HNC may be used to gain relevant experience without having to pay out for a degree. If you are in employment, your employer may pay for part or all of your training.
- Professional membership
An HNC may open other doors to you such as membership of a professional organisation. An HNC in housing for example allows you to belong to the Chartered Institute of Housing.
What courses are available?
HNCs exist in a huge range of industries from agriculture, business and computing to engineering, childcare and social work. Further details on the range of courses available may be found here.
To sum up, an HNC offers great value to employers and employees alike through the provision of specific skills training and learning solutions which are specific to a particular employment.
As a shorter and cheaper option than a degree, an HNC can be used a platform from which to go on to further study if required. If you are thinking of studying an HNC, make sure you do your research in order to select the right course for you.