Department of Business and Management Studies

ATHE Level 3 Diploma in Business

Structure of ATHE Level 3 Diploma in Business

ATHE Level 3 Diploma in Business

Unit Credit


Level 3 Units:



Core unit Mandatory

1 How Businesses Operate



Core unit Mandatory

2 Marketing Principles and Techniques



Core unit Mandatory

3 Academic and Research Skills for Business



Core unit Mandatory

4 Communication Skills for Business




*Mandatory units


Rules of combination The Total Qualification Time (TQT) is 600 hours
The Total Guided Learning Hours (GLH) is 360
The Total Credit value is 60


Important Note: 

The College reserves the right to amend the above table as and when required without prior notice.


Course Specifications

Course Title: ATHE Level 3 Diploma in Business

Awarding institution: ATHE

Teaching institution: ICON College of Technology and Management

Accreditation: ATHE

Final Award: ATHE Level 3 in Business


On successful completion of the ATHE Level 3 Diploma in Business (RQF) learners may progress to:

  • qualifications at level 3 or 4 specialising in specific areas of business e.g. qualifications in marketing, finance, operations, management, and leadership
  • business qualifications at level 4 and above e.g. ATHE Level 4 Extended Diploma in Business and Management or university degrees
  • RQF qualifications in business and business-related subjects at level 4
  • employment in business
  • self-employment or setting up own business.

Aim of the qualification

This qualification is applied learning, integrating knowledge and understanding with the development and application of skills. It is designed to provide opportunities for learners to acquire a range of knowledge and understanding about business and to apply the knowledge and understanding by demonstrating skills in business. In this way, learners will undertake assignments that are directly related to business activities enhancing their understanding of the world of business.

Admission requirements

To meet the entry requirements for admission to Level 3 Diploma in Business, a candidate must have one of the following:

  • 5 or more GCSEs at grades C and above or Grade 4 and above
  • other related level 2 subjects
  • other equivalent international qualifications

Learners will need to have appropriate Level 2 standard in English and Mathematics/Numeracy, so they can access resources and complete the unit assignments.

For those whom English is not their first language we recommend the following standards of proficiency in English language skills or an approved equivalent for this qualification:

  • IELTs 5.5
  • Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) B2
  • Cambridge English Advanced (CAE) 162 or above
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic 42-49

Mature learners may present a more varied profile of achievement that is likely to include relevant work experience (paid and/or unpaid), participation and/or achievement of relevant qualifications. This may be used for recognition of prior learning (RPL).

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

The RQF is based on the principle of credit accumulation and transfer. Within this suite of qualifications, learners have the opportunity to build their achievements from a single unit into a full Diploma or set of Diplomas.

There will be occasions where learners wish to claim recognition of prior learning which has not been formally assessed and certificated. Centres should refer to the ATHE policy on

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) which is on the website and contact ATHE to discuss the requirements for RPL, as appropriate.

Study Skills

Study skills are an important set of generic and transferable skills. All of the qualifications in the IAP develop study skills. The development and application of study skills will enable learners to achieve their current qualification; be better prepared for higher education; support lifelong learning and progress in employment. In the Level 3 Diploma in Business the following study skills will be developed and assessed.

  • Critical thinking
  • Planning, organising and time management
  • Research
  • Gathering information, note taking and summarising
  • Analysis
  • Oral and written skills
  • Academic skills, including referencing
  • Application of IT skills
  • Reflection

The application of the study skills will be signposted in assignments and will therefore form part of the assessment process.

Reflection as a skill is essential as it helps individual learners to identify their strengths and areas requiring further development. Reflection can take place at any stage in the learning and summatively at the end of the learning. However, it must be applied at the outset via a study/skills audit, which is included in the Learner Handbook. The outcomes of the audit should be discussed with the tutor and it needs to be submitted with the rest of the evidence in the portfolio. This will ensure it is part of the external moderation or the verification process.

Total Qualification Time (TQT) and Credit

Values for Total Qualification Time, Guided Learning Hours and Credit are calculated by considering the different activities that a learner would typically complete to demonstrate achievement of the learning outcomes of a qualification.

The needs of individual learners and the different teaching styles used mean there will be variation in the actual time taken to complete a qualification.

Values for Total Qualification Time, Guided Learning Hours and Credit are estimates.

Guided Learning Hours (GLH) 

The term Guided Learning Hours (GLH) is an estimate of the amount of time, on average, that a tutor, trainer, workshop facilitator etc., will work with a learner, to enable the learner to complete the learning outcomes of a unit to the appropriate standard.

GLH are intended to provide guidance for centres on the amount of time required to deliver the programme and support learners. GLH are made up of activities completed by the learner under direct instruction or supervision of a tutor/teacher, lecturer, supervisor, trainer etc. whether through actual attendance or via electronic means, the activity must be in real time.

Some examples of activities that can contribute to Guided Learning Hours include:

  • Supervised induction sessions
  • Learner feedback with a teacher in real time
  • Supervised independent learning
  • Classroom-based learning supervised by a teacher
  • Work-based learning supervised by a teacher
  • Live webinar or telephone tutorial with a teacher in real time
  • E-learning supervised by a teacher in real time
  • All forms of assessment that take place under the immediate guidance or supervision of a lecturer, supervisor, tutor or other appropriate provider of education or training, including where the assessment is competence-based and may be turned into a learning opportunity.


Total Qualification Time (TQT)

Total Qualification Time (TQT) is a guide to the amount of time a learner would take, on average, to complete the different activities to demonstrate achievement of the learning outcomes of a whole qualification.

TQT includes all the activities described under guided learning hours (GLH) plus all the additional unsupervised learning and assessment.

Additional learning and assessment will take place away from the classroom and this will not be under direct supervision of a tutor/teacher, lecturer, supervisor, trainer etc. The activities will vary depending on the qualifications, their level and the nature of the learning and assessment.

Some examples of activities that can contribute to Total Qualification Time, include:

  • Preparation for classes
  • Independent and unsupervised research/learning
  • Unsupervised work on assignments
  • Unsupervised compilation of a portfolio of work experience
  • Unsupervised e-learning
  • Unsupervised e- assessment
  • Unsupervised e-assessment
  • Unsupervised coursework
  • Watching a pre-recorded podcast or webinar
  • Unsupervised work-based learning
  • Any other form of learning, education or training, not under the direct supervision of a tutor/teacher, lecturer, supervisor, trainer.


The credit value specifies the number of credits that will be awarded to a learner who has achieved the learning outcomes of a unit at the specified standard.

Each credit represents 10 hours of learning time and equates to 10 hours of total qualification time. Therefore, one 15 credit unit represents 150 hours of total qualification time. Learning time is a notional measure which indicates the amount of time a learner at the level of the unit is expected to take, on average, to complete the learning outcomes of the unit to the standard determined by the assessment criteria.

Learning time includes all the activities described under guided learning hours and additional learning. The credit value of the unit will remain constant in all contexts regardless of the assessment method or the mode of delivery. Learners will only be awarded credits for the successful completion of whole units.

The level is an indication of relative demand, complexity and depth of achievement and autonomy.

Each qualification has agreed rules of combination which indicates the number of credits to be achieved, the units that are mandatory and the choice of optional units.


The level is an indication of relative demand, complexity and depth of achievement and autonomy.

This qualification has been designed to suit learners working towards a Level 3 qualification. Level descriptors are divided into two categories:

I. Knowledge and understanding II. Skills

There is a knowledge descriptor and a skills descriptor for each Level within the framework. The descriptors set out the generic knowledge and skills associated with the typical holder of a qualification at that Level. The Knowledge and skills for Level 3 are:


Knowledge descriptor (the holder….)

Skills descriptor (the holder can….)

  • Has factual, procedural and theoretical knowledge and understanding of a subject or field of work to complete tasks and address problems that while well- defined, may be complex and non-routine.
  • Can interpret and evaluate relevant information and ideas.
  • Is aware of the nature of the area of study or work.
  • Is aware of different perspectives or approaches within the area of study or work.
  • Identify, select and use appropriate cognitive and practical skills, methods and procedures to address problems that while well-defined, may be complex and non- routine.
  • Use appropriate investigation to inform actions.
  • Review how effective methods and actions have been.



Purpose of the Course

The purpose of BTEC Higher Nationals in Business is to develop students as professional, self-reflecting individuals able to meet the demands of employers in the business sector and adapt to a constantly The purpose of BTEC Higher Nationals in Business is to develop students as professional, self-reflecting individuals able to meet the demands of employers in the business sector and adapt to a constantly

Objectives of the Course

The objectives of the Level 3 Diploma in Business are as follows:  

  • To equip students with business skills, knowledge and the understanding necessary to achieve high performance in the global business environment.
  • To provide education and training for a range of careers in business, including management, administration, human resources, marketing, entrepreneurship, accounting and finance.
  • To provide insight and understanding into international business operations and the opportunities and challenges presented by a globalised market place.
  • To equip students with knowledge and understanding of culturally diverse organisations, cross-cultural issues, diversity and values.
  • To provide opportunities for students to enter or progress to employment in business, or progress to higher education qualifications such as an Honours degree in business or a related area.
  • To provide opportunities for students to develop the skills, techniques and personal attributes essential for successful working lives.
  • To provide opportunities for those students with a global outlook to aspire to international career pathways.
  • To provide opportunities for students to achieve a nationally recognised professional qualification.
  • To offer students the chance of career progression in their chosen field.
  • To allow flexibility of study and to meet local or specialist needs.
  • To offer a balance between employability skills and the knowledge essential for students with entrepreneurial, employment or academic aspirations.

Relevant external reference points  

  • Ofqal subject benchmark statements for Business and Business Management


Credit value  

60 credits, Level 3.  

Learning Outcomes

Students will be expected to gain the following knowledge during the course of study:  

  • Developing the knowledge, understanding and skills of organisations, the business environment in which they operate and their management.
  • Demonstrating knowledge and understanding markets, and Marketing and sales, the management of resources including the supply chain, procurement, logistics, and outsourcing.
  • Equipping students with awareness of Customer management and relationship and leadership.
  • Developing knowledge of different financial sources and the use of accounting and managing financial risk.
  • Understanding the use of relevant communication in business and management including the use of digital technology.
  • Developing appropriate policies and strategies within a changing environment to meet stakeholders’ interest and the use of risk management techniques.
  • Providing innovative business ideas to create new products, services or organisations.
  • Realising the need for individuals and organisations to manage responsibility and behave ethically in relation to social, cultural, economic and environmental issues.
Teaching, Learning and Assessment Strategies

The College recognises that its Teaching, Learning and Assessment Strategy is fundamental to achieving the aims set out in its Mission Statement and to satisfy expectations contained in appropriate indicators in Chapter B3, B4 and B6 of the UK Quality Code for the Assurance of Academic Quality and Standards in Higher Education.  

The aim of the Teaching, Learning and Assessment Strategy is to achieve the following:  

  • To widen participation from students who are mature, from Black and Minority Ethnic Communities, and come from lower socio-economic backgrounds
  • To educate students who are motivated and self-directed critical thinkers, capable of independent enquiry
  • To provide students with both sound academic knowledge and vocational expertise
  • To foster independent and collaborative learning among students and to encourage lifelong learning leading to enhancing their career potentials
  • To develop and implement approaches to feedback and assessment that maximise learning and student outcomes.

(For more details please see The College Quality and Enhancement Manual)  


The College adheres to the adopted assessment policies and procedures that are published in the Quality and Enhancement Manual (QAEM) which is in line with the UK Quality Code. Effective assessment rests with the purpose for which the assessment is carried out as well as the nature and type of appropriate assessment tools used. In essence the assessment materials and tools should be fit-for-purpose. The College assessor and internal verifier ensure that the assignments, based on the Assignment briefs, are fair and accurate as much as possible.  

The College uses both formal and informal assessment strategies. The College uses a variety of assessment methods to enhance learning and improve the validity of assessment. The assessment methods improve the knowledge of the assessment criteria and what is required to achieve higher grades. There is a range of assessment methods that is utilised, such as: presentations; written reports.  As an informal assessment strategy, the College implements a formative feedback which requires students to submit ‘Learning Outcome by Learning Outcome” into the Formative Feedback folder during the semester.  

For further information on Pearson assessment procedure, please see:  https://  

Student support

The teaching philosophy at ICON College requires students to be exposed to a range of learning methods and materials.  

All tutors now support their classes by using the “ICON VLE”, a suite of electronic web-based materials that permits students to use the ICON intranet to access materials such as syllabi, Course plan, reading lists, reading assignments, and PowerPoint presentations for each of their courses.  

Student survey is the primary method of obtaining and gauging student feedback at ICON College.  The evaluation forms are comprised of both qualitative and quantitative elements. In addition, Staff and Student Liaison Panel meetings, held each semester to discuss course issues and concerns, are other ways to support the student.  

A Personal Tutorial System is an essential part of the College’s Teaching and Learning and Assessment Strategy. It is also aimed at contributing to enhancement of the teaching and learning experience of the students. The College assigns every student a designated Personal Tutor who is available by appointment throughout the academic year as needed. The relationship between the student and the personal tutor is built on trust and confidentiality.  

Whether the problem is related to a financial hardship, accommodation matters, or learning disabilities and academic difficulties, the Personal Tutor is the first contact point at the College who would act as a mentor, and guide the student to the right person for further action.  

Evaluation and revision

The Assessment Board evaluates the External Examiner’s reports every year and ensures that the action plans produced from their reports are well managed and the progress is reported to the Academic Board. The College also provides formative feedback to assignments (Learning Outcome by Learning Outcome) in the VLE. This system has been commended by Pearson Standard Verifiers as supportive and effective.  

Internal verification ensures that before any assignment brief is released to students, clear assessment criteria, and correct administrative information on assignment are included. Internal verifier teams identify what changes, if any, in the Assignment brief are required and what corrective action should be taken by assessor and should ensure that it is fit for purpose. Internal verifiers check a range of assessment decisions for all assessors and units by sampling some of the assignments. In case of unexpected assessment decisions, (e.g., everybody achieving Distinction in the assignment), additional sampling will be conducted on individual units/assessors.  



  • Award: ATHE Level 3 Diploma in Business

  • Course Id: ICON001L3D

  • Location: London

  • Awarding body: ATHE

  • Credit Value: 60

  • Course Structure: 4 Units X 15 Credit value

  • Accreditation: NVQ

  • Accreditation No. (QAN): .

  • Duration: 6 months

  • Academic year: 2022-23

  • Mode of Study: Part-Time

  • Language of study: English

  • Course Fees*: 0

  • Timetables: Day

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