“Tech level” qualification announced


Technical courses could carry the same status as A-levels from 2014, the government announced today. In a radical shake up, 16 to 19-years-olds studying technical courses woulc be put on the same level as those studying A-levels – provided they are given the relevant support by businesses and universities.

Some have voiced concerns over the “variable quality” of vocational courses in recent times, so this act goes some way to alleviating this.

As a result of these changes, secondary league tables will only include vocational courses that reach Tech-level status from 2016. This means that around 80 per cent of vocational courses for those aged between 16 and 19 will be removed.

As mentioned above, all tech-levels will need to be endorsed by a professional association, or five separate employers each registered with Companies House. As they are vocational qualifications, courses will focus on hands-on, practical training, aimed to prepare students for a specific occupation. Such courses will take the same time to complete as traditional A-levels.

As well as this, Applied General Qualifications will be completed in the same time as AS-levels, with the focus being broader and not inherently linked to one particular occupation. AGQs will need to be backed by at least three universities to feature in performance tables.

Prof Alison Wolf’s review of vocational qualifications two years ago proved to be the catalyst for the changes, as she felt the current system failed young people as institutions concentrated more on qualifications that gained the most points in performance tables.

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