What is Further Education? A Complete Guide

After high school, people pursue various educational programs to acquire information and skills relevant to their desired careers. They can opt for more study, continue their studies, or begin working right away on research and mentoring.

Understanding more about further education can help you decide what to do after high school or choose a course to take to advance your profession. The definition of continuing education, its advantages, how it differs from higher education, and how to begin learning at this level are all covered in this article.

Further Education: What Is It?

So, the question is what is further education? It is a type of post-secondary education known as further education that is not included in higher education, which means it is not a requirement for an undergraduate or graduate degree. It includes classroom instruction and usually has a career focus.

Further education is awarded to students by organisations such as specialty, sixth form, and FE colleges. These establishments provide adult and youth education and training in academic, professional, and technical fields. While FE primarily aims to assist students in acquiring work-related skills, it also gives them the opportunity to pursue options for further education.

The Advantages That Further Education Offers

There are multiple beneficial opportunities that further education offers students, but for you we have categorised some of the major benefits of further education below:

  • Offers a range of options

A vast range of study packages and qualifications are available at further education colleges. The programmes include finishing a basic vocational course in a discipline like plumbing or business and obtaining job experience in the study areas through tutoring, volunteering, and the development of employability skills. If you did not receive a passing grade in maths or english in secondary school, they might also consist of GCSE courses in these areas.

You have more career options because of further education’s wide range of course offerings. Colleges may, for instance, provide courses in a range of subjects, including fish farming, boat building, agriculture, horse management, and animal science and management. Even nuclear science apprenticeship courses are offered by some colleges.

  • Provides a foundation for people

People with limited or no qualifications can engage in further education courses. While many institutions provide entry-level education programmes that don’t require any prior qualifications, other courses do have entry prerequisites. In certain cases, a person’s passion for a subject matters more than their degree. For instance, if you love to cook and have no prior experience, you may join an entry-level catering school.

  • Includes advancement through various certifications

Further education students advance from foundational or entry-level courses to degrees and professional level credentials. Students progress from one level to the next in various topics as they pursue higher certifications, which may include higher education degrees. If a student is enrolled in a full-time study and does not yet possess a GCSE or its equivalent, they can still pursue qualifications in maths and English, such as functional skills or GCSE qualifications.

  • Gives students access to real-world instruction

Further education institutions provide students with opportunities for hands-on learning to develop employable skills. Exams and written projects are still required, but some courses also include practical assessments in which teachers grade you in a real-world setting.

Uniforms are required for some courses, and several universities mandate that students buy them before they may begin. The following are examples of FE courses, depending on the path you take:

  1. Taking classes
  2. Gaining relevant work experience of some kind
  3. Learning and training in settings that are representative of the workplace, including dining establishments, studios, salons, live performance spaces, media rooms, and fitness centres
  4. Participating in employer workshops or specialised skills
  • Increases your potential for income

Your income potential is directly impacted by your qualifications, experience, and skill set. Specifically, acquiring credentials from a FE college might significantly raise your income potential.

  • Provides a flexible timetable

The timetables of further education colleges, which are adult education establishments, differ from those of secondary schools. Courses frequently feature variable schedules to fit your needs. Even when you are in the same class as someone else, your schedules couldn’t be more dissimilar.

While concentrating on various tasks throughout the day, some students study in the evenings. For instance, as you study and gain experience, the college may invite you to assist with nighttime events if you are a catering or hospitality student.

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Further Education Vs Higher Education: Brief Comparison

To help you appreciate these ideas, consider the following distinctions between higher education and further education:


The education level known as further education is the one that comes after secondary school but before further education. Colleges and universities offer undergraduate and graduate programmes in higher education to students who have completed secondary school and obtained sufficient grades to be admitted to these institutions.

Additionally, it is offered by specialty colleges that offer short-term certificate and diploma programmes in practical training.


FE is job-focused since its primary goal is to equip students with the skills they need to succeed in the workforce. Giving pupils more knowledge than they would receive in secondary school but not as much as they would in higher education is its main goal. Higher education is more theoretically oriented. During their time in school, a lot of HE students also receive professional training, typically in the form of an internship or industrial attachment.

Educational establishments:

Colleges and universities typically offer higher education. FE colleges and smaller institutions provide FE to students. Depending on the nation, these institutions may go by several names; some may call them community colleges or technical schools.


The completion of your secondary education is the primary prerequisite for enrollment in a FE institute. While some courses admit students without verifying their educational history, higher education institutions require students to complete extra qualifications prior to enrollment. Additionally, they have grade criteria that change based on the course and organisation you enrol in.

Length of study:

The amount of time needed to complete a further education course varies greatly. Some, like certain teaching courses, might only take a few months to finish, while others could take up to five years. In higher education, bachelor’s degree completion typically takes three years. Depending on whether you’re studying part-time or full-time, a graduate degree typically takes two to four years to accomplish.


After completing a course in FE, students frequently find employment very readily. Generally speaking, their earning potential is smaller than that of undergraduate and graduate students. Additionally, FE offers courses that enable students to continue their education. better educated individuals typically fetch better salaries, and some graduates with higher education also find employment rather readily. Earnings between graduate and undergraduate degrees are frequently higher.


Undergraduate and graduate degrees are available in higher education. Undergraduate courses often involve working towards a bachelor’s degree, whilst graduate certifications include master’s degrees and PhDs. Various credentials are available through further education, including foundation degrees, T Levels, practical courses, apprenticeships, and vocational disciplines. That leaves you wondering who invented exam, but that’s a topic for another time. For now, let’s focus on…

How To Begin Your Further Education?

The following are some guidelines to help you get started with your additional education:

  1. Locate a course and college

Different forms of further education are offered by different colleges. Look through the FE colleges in your area to see which ones offer the programs and resources you need. Examine your alternatives for transport to find out how much it will cost and how long it will take to go to college. 

  1. Ascertain additional expenses

Although continuing education is free for students under 19, several programs have extra fees. These expenses cover travel, tests, fees, supplies, and uniforms.

  1. Go to an open day.

Visit the campus on an open day or evening to tour it and talk to faculty, staff, and current students. Many colleges offer presentations on various courses and college life.

  1. Finish the application.

Complete an application to indicate your interest in enrolling in a further education college to study a particular course. Applications are typically offered in digital and print formats. For full-time and part-time courses, as well as for different course kinds, some colleges have separate application forms.

  1. Get ready for the interview

Typically, college personnel schedule interviews with applicants to get to know them better and see whether they would be a good fit for a particular course. Here are some preparation recommendations for the interview:

  • Arrive early, create a nice first impression, and put your phone away.
  • Apply for summer courses or get ready for an aptitude exam.
  • If you’re applying to creative schools like art and photography, you should bring a portfolio.
  • Get ready to share personal anecdotes.

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