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Extended Certificate in ICT at Winstanley College

Course description

Why should I study IT at Winstanley?

Whilst jobs are disappearing in many sectors of the economy, IT is one of the few industries where highly skilled and qualified IT staff are actually in demand. Given that there are many career opportunities for both females and males alike, as well as the fact that IT is fundamental to the way we all live today, shouldn’t you be considering taking the BTEC National Information Technology course at Winstanley College? Although a GCSE in ICT/Computing, or equivalent, would be an advantage, as long as you have a genuine interest in IT, you are motivated and committed, then anyone is welcome to study this subject at level 3.

What will I study?

Designed in collaboration with employers, and representatives from professional bodies and higher education, this qualification is aimed at those who are interested in the study of creating IT systems to manage and share information. You will study the role of computer systems, understand how to effectively select and use appropriate IT systems and the implications of their use in personal and professional situations; study the design, creation, testing and evaluation of a relational database system in order to manage information from the smallest in-house system to stock control systems for large on-line retailers; explore how businesses use social media to promote their products and services then use this knowledge to implement social media activities in a business to meet their requirements; and finally study how data modelling can be used to solve problems then design and implement a data model to meet a client’s requirements.

How will I learn?

You will learn in a supportive and friendly environment, and be encouraged to actively develop your independent learning skills, an important skill-set for university and beyond. Lessons will take place in a dual purpose IT/theory classroom using a range of resources and activities to facilitate your learning. Since there will be formal assessments and examinations throughout the course it is therefore important that you develop a regular pattern of self-study outside the class in order to be successful in both the internal and external assessments. In completing your internally set assessments, wherever possible, you will be given the freedom to choose your own project in negotiation with your tutor to ensure that your individual needs and interests are met. These will also provide you with the opportunity to demonstrate your individual IT skills. In completing these assignments, you will be expected to work independently and largely at your own pace with your tutor providing support whenever you need it. The department’s facilities are always available at breaks and lunchtimes for IT/Computing students to use for completing coursework projects, homework tasks and revising theory or to simply practise your skills outside class time. Furthermore, there are additional IT facilities for you to access throughout the day and these are provided in The Islands and the IT Drop-in Centre.

Subject combinations

Though traditionally linked to Business Studies, IT combines well with a range of other subjects including Media, English, Art and Design, Graphics, as well as Computer Science. However, students will find that the knowledge gained and skills developed are useful in many other contexts at home, at university as well as beyond and in to employment.                                

Enrichment activities

Students in the department are encouraged to take part in enrichment activities which have included careers events with representatives from local universities and businesses, attending presentations from guest speakers and ex-students and a trip to see the IT systems at Manchester Airport. Students can also volunteer to become Class Representative, attending half termly meetings to discuss and get involved in departmental matters such as the re-design of the new IT dual-purpose classroom. Students also help out in the Department at College Open Evenings.

Future careers

IT is particularly useful in careers such as teaching, journalism and publishing, and all aspects of the media. For those students wishing to progress further, there are degrees available in Business Information Systems/Technology, Business Management with ICT, and the well regarded ITMB degree which combines Business Management and IT with Project Planning and was designed in conjunction with employers. Previous students have also taken degrees in Software Development, Business Computing, Computer Science, and the various Broadcast & Media Production courses. More recently, students have secured places on a number of prestigious IT Apprenticeship Schemes at levels 3 and 4.


The course is divided into 4 units taken over the two years. Two of the units will be externally assessed by way of a 2hr written exam, and a 10hr supervised on-line project completed over the course of one week, both of which are set and marked by the exam board. The other two units are assessed through centre devised assignments ie internally set and marked projects which are then externally moderated.

Exam Board: Pearson BTEC

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Winstanley College directly.

Last updated date: 25 September 2017
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Key information

  • Start date: Next September