Information on Occupational Studies

Occupational Studies are vocational skills-based qualifications which enable the learner to sample a variety of work-based learning contexts.

Level 1 and Level 2 Occupational Studies

There are six Occupational Studies qualifications accredited at Level 1 and six at Level 2 on the National Qualifications Framework, with the following titles:

  • Business and Services;
  • Construction;
  • Creativity and Design;
  • Engineering;
  • Environment and Society; and
  • Technology and Innovation.

Entry Level Occupational Studies

There are also two Entry Level qualifications:

  • ELQ Occupational Studies; and
  • ELQ Extended Occupational Studies.

Next steps after achieving an Occupational Studies qualification

Around 9000 learners in Northern Ireland achieve Occupational Studies qualifications each year. Around three quarters will progress to training programmes after school. A growing number use the qualifications to go on to:

  • Level 2 and 3 qualifications in further education colleges;
  • sixth form at school; and/or
  • higher education after age 19.

Occupational Studies Progression Routes

Some schools offer Occupational Studies as an enrichment qualification; this enables learners in Years 13 and 14 to experience different career pathways or develop their life skills.

See the Occupational Studies Progression Routes section for examples of past learners' career pathways.