1. Overview

Further education (FE) includes any study after secondary education that’s not part of higher education (that is, not taken as part of an undergraduate or graduate degree).

Courses range from basic English and maths to Higher National Diplomas (HNDs).

FE also includes 3 types of technical and applied qualifications for 16 to 19-year-olds:

  • level 3 tech levels to specialise in a specific technical job
  • level 2 technical certificates help get employment or progress to another tech level
  • applied general qualifications to continue general education at advanced level through applied learning


Many courses in reading, writing and basic maths are free, and you may not have to pay for tuition if you’re under 24 and studying for your first qualification equivalent to GCSE or A level.

Find out about financial support, eg with your course or day-to-day living costs.