An awarding body for the further education sector formed in 1974 as a result of a merger between the Business Education Council (BEC) and the Technician Education Council (TEC). It now operates under the name of Edexcel and, having taken over the examination of the General Certificate of Education (GCE) Advanced Level (A level) and General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE), formerly carried out by the University of London Schools’ Examination Board in 1995, it is now one of the three unitary awarding bodies which offer both academic and vocational qualifications in both the schools and the further education sectors. During the 1980s and early 1990s BTEC awards in a range of general vocational areas such as business studies and sports studies formed one of the few alternative progression routes into higher education available to those who did not choose to study for GCE A levels. A BTEC First Diploma claimed equivalence with four or five good GCSE passes, and provided a means of progression to either A levels or a BTEC National Diploma, which some universities accepted, at distinction level, for the purpose of university entry, as the equivalent of two sound A level passes. On the introduction of the General National Vocational Qualification (GNVQ) in 1993, BTEC initially resisted allowing their qualifications to be subsumed under the GNVQ umbrella; and it is a measure of its reputation that many providers continued to refer to these BTEC qualifications by their original BTEC titles even after they had been endorsed as GNVQs. In some vocational areas, the qualifications remained as BTEC National awards, while others, such as the BTEC National Health and Social Care, have survived the demise of the GNVQ to re‐emerge with the original BTEC title.