Level 3 National Foundation/National Extended Diploma

Course Level

Level 3


2 years full-time


Multiple placements




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Department of Digital
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Gain a strong foundation through focusing on developing practical computing and ICT skills

Learn from expert lecturers with a wide range of computing and ICT experience

Technology is seriously big business. Six of the world’s seven most valuable companies are technology firms and spending on Information Technology (IT) services has soared in recent years to almost $4 trillion in 2019.

Understanding of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and digital skills are now in huge demand and have become almost universal requirements in today’s job market. Jobs requiring such skills offer higher salaries too, paying as much as £8,000 a year more than roles which do not. Students taking their first steps towards a career therefore need the right blend of technical and academic abilities that employers and universities are looking for.

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

You will enrol on the National Foundation Diploma (equivalent to 1.5 A-Levels) in year 1 before progressing onto the National Extended Diploma (equivalent to 3 A-Levels).

Why choose this college course?

  • BOOST YOUR SKILLS – Study computer science and systems and develop a range of digital and ICT skills, as well as high-level skills such as teamwork, presentation and creative thinking
  • WORK PLACEMENTS – Gain valuable real-life experience while you study by undertaking two work placements in each year of your course
  • RECOGNISED QUALIFICATION – Our BTEC Level 3 IT course gives you a recognised work-related qualification to open the door to higher education and professional careers
  • MOVE UP TO UNIVERSITY – Want to keep studying at a higher level? This college computer course will give you skills to support your progression to degree level
There are lots of reasons why we think you should study with us, but here are our top 5. View video.

Course breakdown

Topics you will study:

Year 1

  • Principles of Computer Science 
  • Fundamentals of Computer Systems 
  • IT Systems Security and Encryption 
  • Business Applications of Social Media 
  • Human-computer Interaction 
  • Website Development 

Year 2

  • Planning and Management of Computing Projects 
  • Software Design and Development Project 
  • The Impact of Computing 

Only 4 units will be delivered from the following list (subject to uptake): 

  • Object-oriented Programming 
  • Mobile Apps Development 
  • Relational Database Development 
  • Computer Networking 
  • Virtualisation 
  • Systems Analysis and Design 

Please note: Units/topics of study are subject to change

You will also have an individual study programme to help you build the skills and experience you need to progress onto higher education or gain employment.

Entry requirements

Our computing lecturers are looking for students who are committed, enthusiastic and have a desire to succeed in the IT industry, so please contact Admissions if you do not have the specific requirements outlined below.

If you are unsure if your qualification is equivalent or if you wish to check if you meet the entry requirements for this course, please call 0121 214 2919, email or use our live chat.

Academic requirements

  • 4 GCSEs at grade 4 (grade C) including English Language and Maths, or equivalent.

English and maths

As applicants are required to achieve English and Maths at grade 4 (grade C) prior to entering this course, University College Birmingham will not offer English or Maths alongside the Computing and ICT course.

Supporting documents required

  • School applicants will be required to provide a good school report, which must include attendance. This will be assessed in conjunction with your qualifications and application during the confirmation of your place at University College Birmingham.
  • If you are a school leaver (over 19), you will be required to provide a reference from a previous education provider or employer in support of your application.

Guaranteed progression

Students who achieve 56 UCAS points or more from this qualification will automatically be guaranteed a place on a degree course at University College Birmingham. Some undergraduate courses require additional entry requirements, so applicants are advised to check entry requirements before applying.

Key information

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 2021-2024.


of graduate employers say relevant experience is essential to getting a job with them

Work placements

Work placements offer a wealth of benefits alongside your studies, helping you put your learning into practice, develop your skills and understanding of the workplace, boost your CV for your chosen career or enhance your UCAS application for higher education. Our Hired employability team can help find the ideal placement for you.

Each year of our BTEC ICT and computing course requires you to undertake two placements, completing ten full working days over two separate one-week blocks.

This specialist, two-year, work-related qualification with 13 units is equivalent to three A-levels and is assessed either internally or externally. There is an opportunity to develop industry standard programming skills in C# and Python, for example, as well as learn about aspects of computing such as networking, web design and cyber-security.

Edward Bird Assistant Dean of the Business School

Career opportunities

The example roles and salaries below are intended as a guide only.

IT support technician

Average salary: £19,000 – £29,000

IT service engineer

Average Salary: £21,000

IT trainer

Average Salary: £30,000

Systems developer

Average Salary: £31,162

Database administrator (DBA)

Average Salary: £30,000

Project manager, information technology

Average Salary: £41,775

Aspiring to a higher level career? Complete this course and you could progress onto our Computer Science or Cyber Security degree courses.


We are here to support your career goals every step of the way. 


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Kanwal’s Story

Kanwal brings vast expertise to this new course and is dedicated to promoting learning strengths across diverse groups of students.

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