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.
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 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.
This qualification is appropriate for students who are aged 18+, and is designed to ensure:
- a substantial portion of the learning will focus on developing skills, knowledge, and understanding of construction skills, so all students are effectively prepared for progression to further study or working in the construction industry
- all students develop knowledge and skills about responsible work practice, such as health and safety, so they are well prepared for the world of 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 Education 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, and AS and A levels. Vocational qualifications must comply with the regulator’s general rules, as is the case with all regulated qualifications.
The qualification is unitised. There are three mandatory units, which make up 50% of the qualification.
The mandatory units are:
- Construction Technology
- Health, Safety, and Welfare in the Construction Industry
- Mathematics for the Construction Industry
The optional element is designed with sufficient flexibility to meet the diverse needs of the target group of students. There is a choice of 17 units from which the student will do a minimum of three units. The units cover the following broad areas:
- Computer Aided Design of Buildings
- Building Surveys and Sustainable Upgrading
- Construction Industry, Organisation, and Procedures
- Environmental Sustainability
- Materials and Products
- Site and Brief Analysis
- Sustainability and the Built Environment
- Waste and Waste Management
- Construction and the built environment
- Level 3
Level 3 qualifications are regulated to the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) in England and Northern Ireland, and the Credit and Qualifications Framework for Wales, though many may be offered on a three-country basis.
Level 3 is broadly aligned to the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) Level 6/7.
All units are graded Pass/Fail.
All units are internally assessed and externally verified.
All units must be passed to achieve the qualification.
All units can be resat, should candidates fail one of the units. There are no restrictions on the number of resits in order to secure a Pass.
Certa Level 3 Certificate in Construction Skills
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 apprenticeship.
- If they are presented for admission to HE, it is likely to be in conjunction with other qualifications.
Assessment is on demand.
This qualification is current.
The results of the Certa Level 3 Certificate in Construction Skills 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.
Certa submits certification information to Ofqual.
Certa also submits certification information to the following agencies:
- Bath Data (AKA RM Data, MPDAAT, NISVQ, BIS, DfE, MPD-PT, Leap, Serap)
This qualification is not available as part of an apprenticeship framework, and is not specifically designed to lead directly to employment. However, it will support students who are experienced at working in the construction industry to progress to relevant Level 4 qualifications (and will be vocationally, focussed and skills-based).
The Level 3 Certificate in Construction Skills is ideally for students in the workplace who are already working at, or qualified to, Level 2 in construction, or who are working at, or hold, a Level 3 qualification in a related discipline (including craft and engineering), and who need a progression route to appropriate Level 4 qualifications, including HNC and HND.
Further information can be found at www.certa.org.uk/qualifications_and_units/search/130956