This qualification is not listed on the DfE 16 – 19 performance tables because it is not designed to meet the requirements of the Key Stage 5 performance tables.
- Northern Ireland
Vocational qualifications are either work-related qualifications designed to enable students to gain the skills required to perform a particular job, or qualifications that may be taken as part of a wider study programme or an apprenticeship.
Schools and colleges may offer qualifications that are not included in the DfE performance tables, if approved for teaching to 16-19 year olds by the Secretary of State for Education in England under Section 96, where this is in the best interests of individual students.
British Institution of Facilities Management (BIFM) is the professional body for facilities management. BIFM has invested in building clear career development pathways through its range of facilities management (FM) qualifications.
The purpose is to support both individuals and organisations in developing facilities management expertise towards the achievement of a benchmark of excellence in the facilities management industry.
BIFM Level 3 qualifications in facilities management develop students’ ability to identify and use relevant understanding, methods and skills to complete tasks and address problems that, while well defined, have a measure of complexity.
- taking responsibility for initiating and completing tasks and procedures
- exercising autonomy and judgement within limited parameters
- reflecting awareness of different perspectives or approaches within an area of study or work.
This qualification is designed for post-16 students and falls under the oversight of the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Edcuation and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA). A significant number of students will undertake these qualifications post-19.
Following its 2012 review of post-19 qualifications the ESFA removed 1,800 qualifications from public funding and a further 1,000 in 2014. In March 2014 the government published a Reform Plan for Vocational Education.
This qualification has not been subject to the same reforms as Applied General and Tech Level qualifications (which are specifically designed for 16-19 year old students), however the ESFA has implemented a new set of business rules for the approval of qualifications for funding, based on the 2013 Review of Adult Vocational Qualifications in England. These rules recognise that adults may have different needs, aspirations and ambitions to younger people and include that qualifications should be:
- relevant to individuals and employers and affordable for all sizes of business and for individuals
- rigorous and based on a robust future-looking occupational standard designed and assessed by the sector
- recognised as worthy of investment, giving a clear signal of the economically valuable skills, knowledge and understanding required in an occupation now and in the future.
Regulation of vocational qualifications
The regulation of vocational qualifications is the responsibility of the respective regulators in each UK country – Ofqual (England), CCEA Regulation (Northern Ireland) SQA (Scotland) and Qualifications Wales (Wales). The regulatory approach undertaken for vocational qualifications is different from A levels. This is because there are no specific qualification criteria for vocational qualifications, as there currently are for GCSEs, AS and A levels. Vocational qualifications must comply with the regulator’s general rules, as is the case with all regulated qualifications.
Includes five mandatory units that total 26 credits and optional units to be chosen to total a minimum of 22 credits.
A minimum of 10 units.
A minimum of 48 credits overall.
- Facilities management
- Level 3
This is a Level 3 qualification regulated to the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF).¹
Level 3 is broadly aligned to the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) Level 6 / 7.
¹ The QCF was a credit-based transfer system which recognised qualifications and units by awarding credits. It has now been withdrawn for all new qualifications and replaced by the RQF and the Credit and Qualifications Framework for Wales.
Achieved or not achieved.
All centres must gain BIFM recognition to deliver and assess the BIFM qualifications.
All assessment criteria of the unit must be achieved in order to achieve the unit and its credit value.
A minimum of 48 credits must be achieved to complete the BIFM Level 3 Diploma.
The following methods for the internal assessment of BIFM units can include:
- a requirement for the application of knowledge of a facilities management work-based scenario whenever possible
- review of evidence from work
- review of evidence from simulated work (i.e., course assignments or projects, including making presentations)
- review of coursework
- oral questioning to supplement other evidence
- professional interviews
- written tests.
BIFM centres can also use any other methods that will provide valid and reliable assessment, subject to the BIFM’s approval.
Assessment can be for an individual unit or for groups of units in combination, although in the latter case there remains a requirement that the results can be disaggregated so that credit can be awarded or withheld for the individual units in the group.
BIFM does not allow centres the final decision on awarding the qualification. Assessment is subject to moderation by BIFM (depending on the centre’s risk rating a 10-20% sample is taken from the centre’s upload of provisional results).
Students who achieve the minimum credit value specified by the rules of combination, as described in the previous section, will achieve the qualification.
If a learner does not meet all the assessment criteria for a unit there are two outcomes:
- resubmit – the learner is given the opportunity to revise their assignment to meet the assessment criteria not met, with any amends in red. A learner can resubmit their assignment up to two times.
- refer – if, after discussion, it is agreed that the non-achievement is because the level of the unit is not appropriate for the learner, then the learner should consider registering for a lower level of qualification.
Minimum of 198 hours.
BIFM Level 3 Diploma in Facilities Management
There are a number of key considerations for HEPs when reviewing vocational qualifications that are not listed on the DfE 16-19 performance tables for England:
- Some of these qualifications are occupational, and may not be designed specifically for progression to HE.
- Applicants holding these qualifications may be school or college leavers, however, some may be more mature students who are likely to have other relevant experience alongside these qualifications.
- These qualifications may have been taken as part of a wider study programme or an apprenticeship.
- If they are presented for admission to HE it is likely to be in conjunction with other qualifications.
Achievement of this qualification can support progression to a foundation or full degree in Facilities Management or a related subject, depending on the learner’s overall programme.
In normal circumstances, centres will upload their provisional results in the last week of each month. BIFM will moderate and verify results within 6 working weeks. Centres will then inform their students of achievement.
In normal circumstances, certificates will be printed by BIFM during the second week of each month and sent to the centre for onward transmission to the learner.
This is a current qualification. The structure of the BIFM Level 3 Diploma programme has remained unchanged since the qualification’s introduction but has had an additional unit added as an optional unit choice.
The results of this qualification are not reported to UCAS through Awarding Body Linkage (ABL). This does not reflect the validity of the qualification. HEPs will need to ask applicants to provide their own evidence of achievement.
BIFM reports certification on a quarterly basis to its regulators but does not release the information publicly.
A learner has a registration period of two years in which to complete a BIFM qualification unless there are special considerations.
- In 2015 there were 30 certificates issued
- In 2014 there were 5 certificates issued
Achievement of the Level 3 Diploma can lead to the learner progressing to a higher level qualification such as the BIFM Level 4, dependent on career development plans.
Progression to Level 4 allows the learner to carry 1 unit (max 6 credits) from their Level 3 achievement towards either the BIFM Level 4 Certificate or Diploma (however all the relevant mandatory units at Level 4 will need to be achieved).
Achievement of the BIFM Level 3 Diploma meets the academic criteria of the BIFM Associate (ABIFM) grade of BIFM professional membership: http://www.bifm.org.uk/bifm/membership/advantages.
Achievement of the BIFM Level 3 Diploma should allow progression onto a Foundation degree in facilities management or a related subject.
Achievement of the BIFM Level 3 Diploma should allow progression onto a Degree in Facilities Management.
Further details on the BIFM Qualifications can be found here: http://www.bifm.org.uk/bifm/careerdevelopment/newbifmqualificationnetwork/level3