Case study: How CACHE qualifications provide advancement opportunities | NCFE

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Case study: How CACHE qualifications provide advancement opportunities 

Paul Lawlor wasn’t sure whether he’d go to university, but he’s now an outreach officer at the University of Cumbria – a role he accepted after completing his primary education degree there.  

Paul said: “I enjoy helping people who are in a similar position to me, who maybe feel like they aren’t good enough for university.” Paul began his career journey with a CACHE Level 3 qualification in education and childcare in his home town of Belfast. Now, his day-to-day mission is empowering learners in the position he was once in to consider further education as an option. 

Throughout the academic year, Paul visits FE colleges to make young people aware of their options for career progression: 

I work in Ireland and in the north west of England with schools and colleges, delivering CACHE Level 3 qualifications and now T Levels as well. I speak to their learners and let them know the benefits of going into higher education, and what we have on offer at the University of Cumbria.


I do a lot of work with Level 3 Childcare and Education learners, letting them know about getting into teaching and other pathways for working with children and families, such as children’s nursing and psychology.”


Paul was drawn to raising awareness about possibilities for Level 3 learners after being inspired himself in his first position after completing his CACHE qualification. “While I was working at this local primary school back home in Belfast, the headteacher encouraged me, and gave me the motivation and the confidence that I could go to university and expand my horizons, if I wanted to.” The learners that Paul visits in Ireland, Cumbria, and other areas of the north west are particularly receptive to this message. 

According to Paul, the CACHE Level 3 Diploma in Childcare and Education prepares learners well for the rigorous pedagogical study of further education: 

With a Level 3 education, you learn about different educational theories, behavioural management, how children learn and develop, which is all critical to what they’ll build their knowledge on in our degrees.”


In contrast with those who come from completing A Levels, Paul has found that CACHE Level 3 learners are better prepared for the demands of the course: 

With this qualification and with the T Level, students go into schools in the working environment, and this features heavily in our courses. Learners from the Level 3 background have a higher retention rate than some of those that come from A Levels, because they don’t have that experience. They perhaps think that teaching is for them, but they don’t have that in-school experience.”


Paul further praises CACHE Level 3 qualifications for empowering learners to pursue their own paths, inside or outside of further education. “It’s great that learners can go into higher education, but if they want to go straight into the workforce, it does provide that opportunity.”  

Ultimately, Paul believes that CACHE qualifications set learners up for lifetimes of personal and professional development. “I do feel as though CACHE qualifications provide Level 3 learners with the opportunity to go on to do a degree at university, to lead onto a higher paid career, or to go straight into the world of work. This could be working as a teaching assistant or at a playgroup, which are obviously very rewarding jobs.”