Computing and ICT Level 3 National Foundation / National Extended Diploma

Overview (NV)

Computing and ICT Level 3 National Foundation / National Extended Diploma

Course length:
2 years full-time


Technology is seriously big business. Six of the world’s seven most valuable companies are technology firms – Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Alphabet (formerly Google), Facebook and Alibaba – while spending on Information Technology (IT) services has soared in the last three years to almost $4 trillion in 2019.

It’s no surprise that understanding of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and digital skills are now in huge demand as a result. They have become almost universal requirements in today’s job market, and they lead to higher salaries too, with jobs that require such skills and knowledge paying as much as £8,000 a year more than roles which do not. Students taking their first steps towards a new career therefore need the right blend of technical and academic abilities to become the highly-skilled, work-ready individuals that employers and universities look for.

Our BTEC National course in Computing and ICT will help you develop today’s sought-after digital skills and provide you with a Level 3 qualification that is widely recognised by both industry and higher education. Covering subjects ranging from IT Systems Security and Encryption to Business Applications of Social Media, the course will enable you either to progress onto study at higher level or enter directly into employment, with career opportunities ranging from technical support to database administration or even the creative industries.

In year one, you will enrol onto the National Foundation Diploma, broadly equivalent to one-and-a-half GCE A-levels. Upon competing this year, you can progress onto the National Extended Diploma, equivalent to 3 A-levels. Almost two thirds of large companies have recruited employees with BTEC qualifications, and more than 100,000 BTEC students apply to UK universities every year.

Why should I choose this course?

  • Studying this course will enable you to develop a range of digital and ICT skills as well as an understanding of computer science and systems, giving you a modern, work-related qualification that will open the door to higher education and professional careers.
  • The course is designed with a clear purpose – to help you progress to degree-level study or employment.
  • It will help you build high-level skills such as teamwork, creative thinking and presentation skills – all of which are valued by employers.
  • You will gain valuable real-life experience during your course by undertaking work placements (two per year).

Open days

Our open days are designed to give you as much information as possible about UCB and the areas you are interested in studying. Come along and we may make you an offer on the day.

Why maths and English are so important to your career

Achieving a good level of English and maths is important so you can compete in today’s labour market and secure the career you have always wanted. Alongside your full-time course, you will continue to develop your English and maths skills. If you haven’t yet achieved GCSE grade 4 (grade C) in English and maths at 16, you will continue to study these subjects by resits or by taking Functional Skills at an appropriate level. We will support you all the way, so there is no need to worry.


Strong mathematical skills are vital for success in the computing industry, for planning, designing and implementing software and network solutions. For example, maths is important for:

  • Understanding programming languages
  • Designing computer algorithms
  • Processing of large quantities of data
  • Presenting information


As with maths, good English skills are important in the world of business because:

  • Good quality speaking and listening skills are needed when communicating with colleagues and customers
  • Customer service skills require good English skills in speaking and written communication
  • Accurate reading is vital for following instructions, reading documents and emails, and understanding the ideas, aspirations and demands of colleagues and competitors
  • Your use of English is important when preparing a CV and a business proposal, and for putting together advertising and marketing plans for your business


Teaching & Assessment (NV)

Teaching and assessment

You will be assessed through coursework assignments and projects, some of which will involve industry-related visits and external assessment. 

Our teaching and assessment is underpinned by our Teaching, Learning and Assessment Strategy 2015-2020.

Entry Requirements (NV)

Entry requirements

  • Normally, you will require a minimum of 4 GCSEs at grade 4 (grade C) or above, or equivalent including maths, or a BTEC level 2 Diploma
  • Alternatively, you will require at least 2 years’ relevant work experience
  • School applicants will be required to provide a good school report and references
  • You should be committed, enthusiastic and have a desire to succeed
  • If you do not have a grade 4 (grade C) or above in English and/or maths and you are under 19, you will be required to complete an assessment so we can ensure you receive appropriate support.
  • You will need to successfully complete an initial assessment. 
What will I study? (NV)

What will I study?

Year 1

  • Principles of Computer Science
  • Fundamentals of Computer Systems
  • IT Systems Security and Encryption
  • Business Applications of Social Media
  • Human-computer Interaction
  • Digital Graphics and Animation

Year 2

  • Planning and Management of Computing Projects
  • Software Design and Development Project
  • The Impact of Computing
  • Object-oriented Programming
  • Relational Database Development
  • Systems Analysis and Design
  • Systems Methodology

Your study programme

In addition to your full-time course, every student has an individual study programme which ensures that you develop the right skills and experience to progress onto either higher education or gain employment. What’s included in your individual study programme will vary depending on what you have already achieved and your career aspirations.

For example, if you haven’t yet achieved GCSE grade 4 (grade C) in English and maths at 16, you will continue to study these through resits or by taking Functional Skills at an appropriate level. Achieving a good level of English and maths is important so that you can compete in today’s job market and secure the career you’ve always wanted.

Work placement

On each year of the course, you will undertake two work placements, completing ten full working days over two separate one-week blocks.

To find out more about the work placement opportunities for this course, click on the ‘Work Placement’ tab above.

Work Placement (NV)

Work placement

A work placement not only gives you valuable experience, it also:

  • Helps you to apply what you’re learning into practice
  • Gives you a better understanding of how a company or organisation works
  • Helps you to develop essential skills such as time management, social and communication skills and the ability to work as part of a team
  • Enriches your CV
  • Enhances a UCAS application and personal statement should you wish to progress to higher education
  • Helps you to consider wider future employment opportunities

At UCB we have a specialised team of employability tutors based in hired@UCB (located on the ground floor of Moss House) who will provide you with the necessary skills in order to source a work placement.

If you are passionate about your career choice, work placements are vital. A set of achievements, skills, understanding and personal attributes make you more likely to gain employment and be successful in your chosen occupation, which benefits you and the workforce.

Careers (NV)


The ever-changing nature of the computing sector means career opportunities are hugely varied and rewarding. The BTEC National Extended Diploma is a fantastic foundation for a variety of careers due to the focus on developing practical computing and ICT skills.

You may be attracted to roles in systems development, database administration, technical support, project management or the creative industries.

You may also want to build on your knowledge and take a higher level foundation degree or bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as Computer Science, Software Engineering or Cyber Security, which could lead to higher paid jobs in the future.


The team at hired@UCB – our student placement and careers service – can help you with advice, information and guidance in finding a job. They can also help you develop your work-related skills.

Based in new facilities on the ground floor of Moss House, the hired@UCB team comprises specialist staff to help with:

  • Careers advice and guidance
  • Placements, work experience and volunteering
  • Unitemps – UCB's recruitment agency
  • Employer engagement
  • Part-time and seasonal work
  • Internships, apprenticeships and traineeships
  • Alumni support

Find out more about hired@UCB services.