BTEC First Diploma


Course code

1 year

How will I be assessed?

What is Engineering?

Are you intrigued by how gadgets work? Do you like to take things apart? Do you enjoy making things? Would you like to learn how professional designers and engineers work? Would you like to use computers to help you in designing and making products? Are you interested in improving your practical manufacturing skills? Would you enjoy learning about the concepts that lie behind the way things work?

If you answer ‘yes’ to any or all of the above questions this course could be for you. It is a mixture of learning and doing, allowing you to see and try a whole range of designing and manufacturing activities. From freehand sketching to CAD drawings; from manual workshop skills to the use of CAM; from understanding the theoretical concepts behind mechanical, electrical and materials topics to applying these to your own designs; you will be involved in a wide range of design and engineering based activities.

Is Engineering suitable for me?

Students on this course enjoy the variety of lessons and the practical nature of much of the work. The use of high quality CAD/CAM facilities helps to see how this type of work is carried out in the real world.

The course is really hard work. Because lots of the course is assessed by coursework, it means there are lots of assignments to be completed and you have to meet lots of deadlines. Some of the coursework includes written work as well as design work. There’s quite a bit of homework to do, so you have to be really organised and keep on top of things.

How will I learn?

Some lessons are in classrooms, some are in the engineering and design workshop, some in the science labs and some in computer rooms. You will encounter a wide variety of learning opportunities including some theoretical teaching, video based learning, practical workshop sessions, individual project work, group work, etc. You will have lots of short assignment based tasks, so lots of short deadlines to meet!

You will be expected to work outside your actual lesson time. This could be at home, in the College library and independent learning centre, or in the department work area. You should spend in excess of 5 hours a week outside lessons on this activity.

Entry requirements

In order to be successful on this course you must be keen and motivated towards design and engineering activities, be prepared to spend time and effort in producing your portfolios of work, and possess four GCSE D grades, which should include English, Mathematics, Science and/or Design and Technology.

Course costs

All students will be expected to provide their own textbook, stationery, computer disks and calculators (where appropriate).

Essential: Sturdy leather boots or shoes for workshop use (approximately £50).

£10 for materials.

If the cost of equipment, materials and trips may cause you financial hardship, there is the opportunity to apply for help from the College Access Fund.

Additional information


There are a variety of routes you can take when you successfully complete this course. You may wish to go into employment with an engineering company, where you may be able to continue with some training, perhaps on a day-release basis. If you have the aptitude you may qualify to continue studying at Alton College on the BTEC National Diploma Engineering course.

The work of this course is assessed entirely through assignments that you produce during the course.

You will study a total of eight units during the year of the course. All of the units are assessed by coursework – and this may include the production of portfolios, presentations, practical projects, and staff observations. None of the units require you to sit a formal examination.

For each unit you complete you will be awarded a Pass, Merit, or Distinction grade. You will also be awarded an overall grade, which again will be at Pass, Merit or Distinction.



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