About the course
This course is designed to provide the learner with a broad based experience across the range of IT disciplines. It introduces professional skills and personal development to learners in an effort to give them the widest possible opportunity to progress in Higher Education, employment or further training in the IT/computing sector.
Unit combinations are defined by the specialist programme you choose.
Computer Games and Digital Graphics
Web Design and Development
Programming and Software Development
Either GCSE passes in five subjects at grade C/4 or above, including Mathematics and English at grade 5 or above; or current WSC students an appropriate Level 2 qualification at Merit grade and one of either GCSE Mathematics or English at grade 4 or above.
The College offers a wide menu of Level 3 Diplomas. We will work with all learners in their first six weeks at College to place them on the appropriate Diploma programme that best meets their individual needs and best ensures their success. Within this course, learners will have the opportunity to take either OCR Level 3 Extended Diploma in Information Technology (2years) equivalent to 3 A-levels or OCR Level 3 Foundation Diploma in Information Technology Practitioners 90 Credit (1 year) equivalent to 1.5 A-levels. Along with the Computing Diploma there is also an option to study an additional qualification in Core Mathematics (1 year) equivalent to 0.5 of an A-level.
What you'll learn (core modules)
This is a two year full-time course, which covers a range of Computing and IT Industry specific topics including: use and configuration of industry standard hardware and software systems, working with networks, software development, website design and working within the IT Industry. 18 modules will be covered in the course, 9 units each year.
Over the life of the course, learners will undertake a range of practical projects in our purpose built and well equipped computer labs. The design of the course promotes a hands-on practical and theoretical engagement with a broad spectrum of modern IT subjects.
In addition, learners will be required to complete a number of assessments through a range of assessment methods. Assessments will be undertaken during classroom activities or in a more formal assignment style report within each of the 18 modules.
Cisco Certified networking is a useful additional session taught to all Extended National Diploma learners as part of this industry relevant qualification and learners who show an aptitude in this subject will have the opportunity to gain an extra qualification.
Any student aged 16 to 19 who does not hold a GCSE 9 to 4 on the new grading structure or equivalent qualifications in Mathematics and English by age 16 will be able to apply for the level 2 course.
Benefits, skills and character strengths
During the course learners will develop a wide range of computing and IT skills: Programming and Software Development, Computer Systems and Hardware, Computer Networking, Digital Graphics and Systems Analysis.
There is a growing skills shortage in the Computing and IT industries, not just in this country but globally, which means that on completion of the course your skills and qualifications will be highly sought after. There is a wide range of careers available in Computing that offer exciting challenges and opportunities all over the world, computer scientists are in demand and their salaries reflect this!
During each year of the course learners with take part in at least 45 days of industry placement. This will build on the skills developed in the classroom, give an insight into professional practices within the industry and will provide valuable experience evidence for a learners CV and skills portfolio. The industry placement is also a great opportunity to develop contacts with potential future employers in the IT sector.
Studying Computing at West Suffolk College will also encourage learners to build upon the key character strengths that will contribute to their success in future study and employment. Activities built into the course will help learners to develop Self-control, Optimism, Confidence, Curiosity, Ownership, Resilience, Respect and Ambition.
How will I be assessed?
There are 3 exams that you must sit for the mandatory units. You will sit these exams in January and then have the option to re-sit/improve your grades in May/June. You will then be assessed for other units using a diverse range of assessment methods including: written reports, online tests, creating software applications, practical demonstrations and professional discussions.
Where is the course delivered? (facilities/classrooms)
The course is delivered at the West Suffolk College's main campus that benefits from a wealth of learning and support facilities. The Computing department has a number of well-equipped, bespoke Computing suites, including three networking labs. The recently upgraded PCs in our classrooms are high specification capable of running the advanced development software used by our students.
Where will the course take me?
Where would you like to go? Very few courses at this level provided the extensive opportunities that Computing can offer. Excellent wages, career structures and an existing skills shortage combine to provide Computing students with a great future.
This course is the preferred choice for learners who are intending to progress into a career in IT/Computing through university or work. No other course provides a three A level experience focused so uniquely on the requirements of universities or industry. Of the students who completed this course last year 57% entered Higher Education, 30% secured employment, 8% went into Further Education while another 5% applied for other courses or entered full time training.
Will I need any materials or equipment?
Stationery (notepad, pen/pencil and ruler) and a storage device (memory stick). A home computer is not required but would be helpful to work at home. All other resources such as text books and software required for the course will be covered by the enrolment fee.
How much will it cost?
There is a £40 enrolment fee at the beginning of each year of the course to cover the costs of essential resources and field trips. There will be at least one field trip in each year of the course. In the past 2 years we have visited Bletchley Park, The Cambridge Centre for Computing History and EGX the European Gaming Exhibition at the NEC.
I'm interested. What should I do now?
Complete the online application and you will be invited to attend and interview for the course, when you will be able to view the facilities, meet some of the lecturers and ask questions.
Days & times
Starting September 2023