Having good communication skills is a well sought after quality and it is tricky to master. Become a Communications professional where you can tell stories, market products and make magic happen. Keep reading so we can help you navigate a career in Communications via the UK.

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Academic Routes

Technical Routes

Academic Routes

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Further Education

Higher Education

What do I need?

As the name suggests, the ideal candidate working in the field of Communications needs to be able to relay information well to various audiences.

Careers within Communications are vast, so check out our previous post explaining the Communications sector to get a clear understanding, and examples of careers you can slide into.

Further Education

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A-Levels

BTEC Diploma

Access to Higher Education

Further Education is considered Level 3 education in the UK (England, Northern Ireland, and Wales). The most common further education route is A-Levels, but it is not the only option. There are coursework based alternatives like BTEC. To pursue a Bachelors degree (Level 4) or any other undergraduate qualification, you must complete this level of education first.

A-Levels

A-Levels are exam based courses taken post-secondary education. Usually, people take from 3 A-Level subjects as most university courses require at least 3. Communication-Esque degrees accept a range of educational backgrounds at this level.

If you have decided what career you would pursue within Communications (e.g. Journalist, Public Relations Specialist) you can pick A-Level subjects that are related. If you are interested in a writing-based Communications career, we suggest that you take an A-Level in English Language or English Literature. If you are interested in the Business side, a Business A-Level could suffice or if you’re more creative an A-Level in Media. Nonetheless, the A-Level subjects you choose can be varied.

Do note that A-Levels are not practical. Which means if you do not intend on pursuing further study, you should be building experience in your field while studying. Read more about internships and work experience here >>

What qualifications do I need for A-Levels?

A-level courses will usually require at least 5 IGCSEs (A*-C)/CSECs (Grades 1-3). Mathematics and English Language passes are usually mandatory to possess. It is best to check the specific requirements of the university or college you intend to go to, as the entry requirements may differ.

To find A-Level courses search online or Contact us for help.

BTEC Diploma

The process of obtaining these qualifications are more practical, in comparison to the theory-based A-Level. You are assessed solely with coursework.

These qualifications are available at different levels from Levels 1-3. At Level 3, the diploma can be equivalent to up to three (3) A-Levels. BTECs can be taken alongside other qualifications (such as an A-Level) and can permit entry to university.

Depending on what you’re looking for, a BTEC in Business, IT or Art & Design is a great way to go.

What qualifications do I need for BTEC?

Depending on the BTEC diploma you’re pursuing; Level 3 BTEC diplomas will usually require at least 5 IGCSEs (A*-C)/CSECs (Grades 1-3). Mathematics and English Language passes are mandatory to possess as well. It is best to check the specific requirements of the university you intend to go to as the entry requirements may differ.

To find BTEC courses search online or Contact Us for assistance.

But what if I’m over 18 and I have no Level 3 qualifications? We got you below.

Access to Higher Education

Access to Higher Education aka Access to HE is tailored for students aged 19+ who intend to apply for an undergraduate course. These courses take one year, performing as a fast track to higher education.

Tip: Access to Higher Education courses in Business, Media & Journalism etc. are among good options for subjects related to Communications.

What qualifications do I need for Access to HE?

Access to HE diplomas will usually require at least 5 IGCSEs (A*-C)/CSECs (Grades 1-3). Mathematics and English Language passes are customarily mandatory to possess as well. It is best to check the specific requirements of the school you intend to go to as the entry requirements may differ.

To find Access to Higher Education courses search online or Contact Us for assistance.

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Higher Education

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Foundation Degrees

Undergraduate Degrees

Postgraduate Degrees

Foundation Degrees & Foundation Years

Foundation courses can be taken if your results/tariff points accumulated in a Level 3 qualification were not high enough to allow entry to a standard three-year Bachelors course.

There are two foundation options:

  • Foundation Degree – a standalone qualification (1-2 years) equivalent to one or two years of a Bachelors degree. A top-up degree can be taken afterwards to get the full Bachelors degree.
  • Foundation Year – this is the first year of a four year degree consisting of = 1 foundation year + 3 years of a standard Bachelors degree. At the end of the four-year course, you will receive the same qualification as a three-year Bachelors degree student.

For example, UWE Bristol offers BA Media Communications including a Foundation Year, which lasts for four years. Taking the foundation version of the course would require at least 64 tariff points while the standard three-year degree route would require at least 112 tariff points.

After you complete the Foundation degree qualification (instead of an integrated Foundation Year) you can complete a top-up which takes one year to achieve the full Bachelor’s degree.

What qualifications do I need?

It often varies per university and course with the usual requirement being at least 60 tariff points. Check the entry requirements per course on UCAS.

To find Foundation courses, enter your area of study and search Foundation degrees here. In the filters select Foundation to only view Foundation courses.

Undergraduate Degrees

All applications to undergraduate courses are accessible via UCAS. Undergraduate courses can come in the form of foundation degrees, HND or Bachelors level. 

Communications is on offer as a degree in the UK. If you are still wavering about this career path, remember Communications consists of many fields, therefore you do not have to do a traditional Communications degree. However, if you are unsure which sector you would like to get into; you may benefit from doing a standard Communication degree.

For more varied degree choices, Combined/Joint Honours courses or courses with a variety mix of subjects may be better suited to you. Examples include BA International Media and Communications Studies, BA Fashion Communication and Promotion, BA Media Communications & Publishing, BA Business Management with Communications, BA Marketing with Media Communications etc.

Searching Communications courses on UCAS throws a wealthy bunch of universities for you to choose from.

How do I choose which degree?

With the copious choices given, it may make it difficult to decipher which is best for you.

To start narrowing it down, we suggest you first look at the entry requirements to the course and assess your existing or prospective exam/coursework results.

Next, have a look at the modules done by the university and assess if those are relevant to your career if you’ve already chosen. Also view the teaching quality at the university.

Finally, use comparative websites like Discover Uni or the Complete University Guide to compare course satisfaction and other statistics to make informed decisions.

If you have sports or other extracurricular interests you can research universities which offer these to keep your hobbies alive.

Tip: Some university courses offer an integrated placement year (otherwise known as a sandwich) where you get the option to work in your industry. This provides you with at least one year of experience in your field before graduation.

To view all higher education options and courses, enter your area of study and search courses here.

What qualifications do I need?

It varies per university but largely universities require at least 104 tariff points. Grades in A-Level tend to be at least BCC-AAA for Communications related courses. BTEC diploma grades required tend to be at least DMM. Check the entry requirements per course on UCAS. Some courses have foundation entry options which allow you to gain the Foundation qualification and continue the course with lower entry requirements.

Postgraduate Degree

If you already have an undergraduate degree and would like to make a career swap, or you would like to pursue further education we’ve got options for you.

To progress in your career, specialisation is key and a good method of doing this is through postgraduate study. Communications is also offered at Postgraduate level so that can be your avenue to specialisation.

If you have never done a Communications related degree, volunteering or any means to generate experience while pursuing the postgraduate qualification would be essential.

Similar to applying for an undergraduate degree, click here to view options and courses, enter your area of study and search courses. Filter options to Postgraduate. (Some postgraduate courses may not be listed on UCAS so do independent searches online).

Technical Routes

Possible entry-level job routes into the Communications sector without a degree can be found as a personal assistant, marketing assistant, sales representative, media runner and more. Familiarise yourself with different aspects of Communications around the world to build your knowledge.

Building relationships with professionals in the industry will build your network and this can be done through volunteering and internships. As with any other field, experience is essential in setting yourself apart in the recruitment process. For this reason, we highly suggest taking advantage of available volunteering and/or internship opportunities wherever possible.

For broadcasting entry, you can try approaching local radio stations for opportunities – find a list of local stations here. Alternatively, you can get in contact with news outlet organisations in the TCI like PTV8 and WIV news or even newspaper companies Weekly News or the TCI Sun.

For entry to the publishing sector, it may help to contact the Turks and Caicos Government’s Publishing Department to enquire on any internship opportunities they may have available.

Our sister company WAVES magazine (aka WAVES BFTCI) offers volunteering and work experience opportunities in areas like Writing, Digital Design, Research, Photography and Marketing. Get more info here >>.

Follow us on Twitter @brainfoodtci, where we share various jobs in these sectors.

The following are technical developments to improve your chances within a career.

Apprenticeships

On an apprenticeship, you’re employed to do a real job while studying for a formal qualification, usually for one day a week either at a college or training centre. By the end of your apprenticeship, you’ll hopefully have gained the skills and knowledge needed to either succeed in your chosen career or progress onto the next apprenticeship level. – Prospects

Apprenticeships are very common in the Communications field. In the UK, companies like ITV, Channel4, BBC, Creative Access and many others offer apprenticeships or share opportunities. These applications often open October/November so you’ll have to be on the lookout at these dates for openings.

To find an apprenticeship through Gov.uk in the UK click here >>

Internships

Completing an internship can help you to gain crucial experience. These can be found via LinkedIn, and/or simply via Google.

You can source internships directly by researching marketing, publishing, broadcasting, media, creative companies and agencies online. Internships, are usually advertised in the October/November period but often show up on later dates.

If you discover that internships are not being advertised, you can still apply but you will need to pitch to the Hiring Manager and convince them on why you should be offered an internship position at their company. If you would like some advice on doing that Contact Us and we will be happy to help.

Have a browse of some internships in the UK here >>

Volunteering

Volunteering is the act of willingly using your time to work with a cause or mission you are interested in. This is usually unpaid, but try not to decline unpaid opportunities especially if you have no experience (if you can afford it). Given your work ethic and circumstances, you may eventually be offered a paid position. Remember, from volunteering or working you are building an invaluable network and you gain a head start in your field due to on-the-job learning.

To find volunteering opportunities, you can enquire at various media or marketing companies to seek work shadowing or voluntary work and gain experience.

Our sister company WAVES magazine (aka WAVES BFTCI) offers volunteering and work experience opportunities in areas like Writing, Digital Design, Research, Photography and Marketing. Get more info here >>.

For volunteering opportunities in the UK click here >>

Independent Research

Use online resources to build knowledge in your field. Keep abreast with the news, and listen to podcasts or books about your field.

If you are interested in writing or journalism, start a personal blog or blog where you give hot takes on something of interest to you. For example, if you want to be a writer for music publications, start a music blog. You can do this on sites like WordPress or Medium.

Starting your own blog allows for a digital portfolio of your work which you can use as previous experience.

YouTube is your best friend. There are many videos available teaching you more about Communications. Find your niche and the information will be easier to research.

To find out what immigration hurdles you must pass to pursue education in the UK click here. For financial 411s click here >>

Unsure about what Communications is? Read our explanatory post here.

Need help applying for university in the UK? Click here >>
Posted by:Nandina Hislop

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