Professional Pathways – Applied Science

Professional Pathways is an innovative programme of study that has been developed by Ark to prepare deliver a high quality technical curriculum that is directly relevant to the workplace.

The qualification at the heart of the programme is both challenging and rigorous. It is respected by employers and universities, and provides a balance between academic skills and work-readiness skills. The programme is supported and endorsed by major employers, who believe the programme is excellent preparation for the world of work, and creates the type of students that they would want to employ. 

Completing the BTEC Level 3 in Applied Science provides pupils with a genuine insight into how science has shaped modern life. It is a demanding course that will provide pupils with a range of transferable skills and a knowledge set that will allow them to continue their studies at University or move into the career of their choice, Science-based or otherwise. The qualification focuses on project-based learning (70%) combined with exams (30%). It is equivalent to three A Levels and holds the same number of UCAS points.

Not only will students learn about a huge range of scientific concepts but they will have the opportunity to see how these work in action through partnerships with healthcare providers and commercial laboratories. This link will give pupils a chance to see how scientific ideas are applied in the workplace and how the skills they will be developing can impact others and the wider world. They will be able to apply some of their learning within a professional context and will gain first-hand experience of some of the careers open to them upon completion of the course.

The topics explored on the Applied Science course include content from all three disciplines. In biology, students will focus on microbiology, disease, and human physiology. Within chemistry they will explore organic, inorganic and industrial-scale chemistry. In the field of physics students will consider the physical properties of materials in more detail as well as how medical physics have shaped our understanding of health. Units based around infection, biomedical science and forensic analysis are just a few examples of how this course allows pupils to see how science is used on a practical level. Students will also have the opportunity to pursue their own scientific interests through an investigative project.

Alongside their academic study, students have the opportunity to practice employability skills, both within the classroom and with employers. This includes developing their IT skills, giving them lots of opportunities to practice presenting, and helping them to build contacts and networks across a range of industries. They will also receive career mentoring to help them make a real and informed choice about what to do when they leave school.

This course is demanding and academically challenging, but in a different way to A Levels. Students will need a minimum of 5A*-C, including English and Maths, but they also need to be prepared to work independently on projects. There are some exam-style assessments, but most of the course is assessed through projects. These require students to work independently to write up their work, and to bring it together under the success criteria.