City & Guilds Technicals Tech levels (reformed)

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The QIP covers all City & Guilds Technicals Tech level qualifications that meet the full requirements set by the Department for Education (DfE) and contribute towards performance measures from 2018.
Countries
  • England
  • Northern Ireland
  • Wales
Purpose

The Department for Education (DfE) describe Tech level qualifications as follows:

Tech levels are rigorous advanced (level 3) technical qualifications on a par with A Levels and recognised by employers. They are for students aged 16 plus who want to specialise in a specific industry or prepare for a particular job. They cover jobs and careers where employers recruit people at this level or where a level 3 qualification is needed before students can progress to a related higher education course. Tech levels give students an opportunity to develop specialist knowledge and skills to help them get an apprenticeship or job, for example in engineering, IT, accounting or professional cookery, or progress to a higher level qualification. In some cases, a tech level qualification is a ‘licence to practise’ or can exempt someone holding the qualification from a professional exam. Tech levels are recognised by trade or professional bodies or at least five employers. Alternatively, the qualification may be accepted by a national licensed professional registration scheme.

Education context

Some vocational qualifications offered at Level 3 have been reformed as a result of changes to school performance tables. Vocational qualifications must meet the criteria set by the Department for Education (DfE) in order to count towards school performance tables. These reforms mean that 91% of the Level 3 qualifications that previously counted towards school performance tables were removed from performance tables in 2016.

For accountability purposes, vocational qualifications are now be classified as:

  • Tech level qualifications: The purpose of these qualifications is to lead to a ‘recognised occupation’. Examples provided by the DfE include engineering, accounting, construction, manufacturing, agriculture and IT. These qualifications must meet a number of criteria, including the endorsement of five employers registered at Companies House.
  • Applied General qualifications: The purpose of these qualifications is to provide a broader vocational education. They ‘are designed for students wanting to continue their education through applied learning.’ These qualifications must meet a number of criteria, including endorsement by at least three universities and colleges.

The reform to vocational qualifications is being conducted in two stages: an interim stage and full stage. Each of these stages introduced new criteria for vocational qualifications to meet in order to count towards school performance tables.

The first teaching of the qualifications reformed on an interim basis was from 2014 and these counted towards school performance tables in 2016. Only qualifications that meet the full criteria count towards performance tables from 2018. Schools and colleges may offer qualifications that are not included in the performance tables, if the qualifications are approved for teaching by the Secretary of State under Section 96.

Read Section 96

The characteristics that must be met by Tech level qualifications as detailed in the DfE criteria are as follows:

 

Interim Requirement (for qualifications counting in 2016 performance tables)

Full Requirement (for qualifications counting in 2018 performance tables)

A. Declared Purpose

X

X

B. Size

X

X

C. Recognition

X

X

D. Synoptic Assessment

 

X

E. External Assessment

 

X

F. Grading

 

X

G. Employer involvement (Technical Level Qualifications only)

 

X

H. Progression

 

X

I. Proven Track Record

 

X

 

These changes include, but are not limited to:

  • Size: Tech level qualifications must require at least 300 guided learning hours (GLH). Applied General qualifications must require at least 150 GLH.
  • Appropriate content: A qualification specification must state the specific content that students must pass to achieve the qualification. Mandatory content and the associated contribution to the overall grade must make up at least:
    • 40% of a Tech level
    • 60% of an Applied General
  • Appropriate assessment: Tech levels must have at least 30% external assessment. Applied General must have 40% external assessment. Students will also be given one opportunity to resit.
  • Synoptic assessment.
  • Grading: All vocational qualifications must be graded using three grading points or more, such as Distinction/Merit/Pass.
  • Employer involvement: Tech levels must be recognised and endorsed by a trade/professional body or at least 5 employers registered with Companies House.

Tech levels and Applied Generals, whilst both being vocational qualifications, differ in size and purpose. City & Guilds Technicals range from 360 - 1080 GLH, are aimed at learners with an interest in a particular industry or occupation, and help provide entry into employment, onto an apprenticeship, or into higher education in a related vocational area. Applied Generals are smaller, are for students who want to continue their education through applied learning, include a higher proportion of external assessment and may help learners enter to a range of higher education courses.

HEPs should take care when reviewing vocational qualifications for entry, see ‘Key issues for UK HE admissions’.

Further information about Tech level qualifications, and the range of qualifications that meet these requirements, can be found on the DfE website.


Regulation of Tech level and Applied General qualifications

The regulation of Tech level and Applied General qualifications delivered in England is the responsibility of Ofqual.

The regulatory approach undertaken for Tech level and Applied General qualifications differs to A levels. This is because there are no specific qualification-level criteria for Tech levels, as there are for GCSEs, AS and A levels currently.  Tech level is a category introduced by the Department for Education for accountability purposes rather than a specific type of regulated qualification.  To be included in the Tech level category, qualifications have to demonstrate particular features outlined in the table above.

Tech levels must comply with Ofqual’s general rules, as is the case with all regulated qualifications.

Awarding organisation
  • City & Guilds
Qualification codes
601/7401/8 (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Certificate for Legal Secretaries (360 GLH))
601/7448/1 (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Certificate in Agriculture (360 GLH))
601/7518/7 (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Certificate in Animal Management (360 GLH))
601/4510/9 (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Certificate in Constructing the Built Environment (360 GLH))
601/4513/4 (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Certificate in Digital Technologies (360 GLH))
601/4535/3 (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Certificate in Engineering (360 GLH))
601/7184/4 (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Certificate in Equine Management (360 GLH))
601/7507/2 (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Certificate in Forestry and Arboriculture (360 GLH))
601/7453/5 (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Certificate in Horticulture (360 GLH))
601/7557/6 (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Certificate in Land and Wildlife Management (360 GLH))
601/7382/8 (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Certificate in the Automotive Industry (360 GLH))
601/7499/7 (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Diploma for Professional Chefs (Kitchen and Larder) (450))
601/7498/5 (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Diploma for Professional Chefs (Patisserie and Confectionary) (450))
601/7419/5 (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Diploma in Architectural Joinery (450))
601/7346/4 (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Diploma in Barbering (450))
601/7236/8 (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Diploma in Bricklaying (450))
601/7515/1 (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Diploma in Business Travel (450))
601/7307/5 (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Diploma in Electrical Installation (450))
601/7400/6 (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Diploma in Medical Administration (450))
601/7492/4 (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Diploma in Nail Technology (450))
601/7420/1 (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Diploma in Painting and Decorating (450))
601/7417/1 (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Diploma in Plastering (450))
601/7201/0 (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Diploma in Plumbing (450))
601/7497/3 (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Diploma in Professional Cookery (450))
601/7418/3 (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Diploma in Site Carpentry (450))
601/7370/1 (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Diploma in Supervision in Food and Beverage Services (450))
601/7462/6 (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Diploma for Professional Chefs (540))
601/7452/3 (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Diploma in Agriculture (540))
601/7520/5 (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Diploma in Animal Management (540))
601/7352/X (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Diploma in Beauty and Spa Therapy (540))
601/7355/5 (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Diploma in Complementary Therapies (540))
601/4509/2 (City & Guilds y & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Diploma in Constructing the Built Environment (540))
603/0367/0 (Advanced Technical Diploma in Coordinating Business Support (540 GLH))
601/7439/0 (Level 3 Advanced Technical Diploma in Early Years and Childcare (540))
601/4507/9 (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Diploma in Engineering (540))
601/7185/6 (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Diploma in Equine Management (540))
601/7444/4 (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Diploma in Floristry (540))
601/7348/8 (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Diploma in Hairdressing (540))
601/7207/1 (Level 3 Advanced Technical Diploma in Health and Care (540))
601/7456/0 (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Diploma in Horticulture (540))
601/7558/8 (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Diploma in Land and Wildlife Management (540))
601/7501/1 (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Diploma in Media Make-up Artistry (540))
601/7514/X (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Diploma in Theatrical, Special Effects, and Media Make-up Artistry (540))
601/7451/1 (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Extended Diploma in Agriculture (720))
601/7550/3 (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Extended Diploma in Animal Management (720))
601/4508/0 (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Extended Diploma in Constructing the Built Environment (720))
601/4511/0 (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Extended Diploma in Digital Technologies (720))
601/4506/7 (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Extended Diploma in Engineering (720))
601/7186/8 (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Extended Diploma in Equine Management (720))
601/7455/9 (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Extended Diploma in Horticulture (720))
601/7565/5 (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Extended Diploma in Land and Wildlife Management (720))
601/7383/X (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Extended Diploma in the Automotive Industry (720))
601/7440/7 (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Extended Diploma for the Early Years Practitioner (Early Years Educator) (1080))
601/7459/6 (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Extended Diploma in Agriculture (1080))
601/7549/7 (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Extended Diploma in Animal Management (1080))
601/5640/5 (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Extended Diploma in Constructing the Built Environment (1080))
601/7187/X (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Extended Diploma in Equine Management (1080))
601/7517/5 (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Extended Diploma in Forestry and Arboriculture (1080))
601/7200/9 (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Extended Diploma in Health and Care (1080))
601/7454/7 (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Extended Diploma in Horticulture (1080))
601/7564/3 (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Extended Diploma in Land and Wildlife Management (1080))
601/7463/8 (City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Extended Diploma in Land-based Engineering (1080))
Structure

City & Guilds Level 3 Technicals are a suite of qualifications covering a range of occupational areas. There are three types of City & Guilds Technical qualification in five sizes:

  • Advanced Technical Certificate (360 GLH)
  • Advanced Technical Diploma (450/540 GLH)
  • Advanced Technical Extended Diploma (720/1,080 GLH)

The specifications are modular in structure. City & Guilds Technical qualifications include a minimum of 40% mandatory units, with some qualifications exceeding this requirement. The majority include mandatory units only, providing the main skills and knowledge required to work in the industry.

For more detailed information on the units/structure of an City & Guilds Technical, you should review the specification of the individual qualification you are interested in on the City & Guilds website.

Subject areas
  • Land-based technology
  • Agriculture
  • Construction and the built environment
  • Digital technology
  • Travel and tourism
  • Engineering
  • Equine
  • Land and wildlife
  • Business travel
  • Animal Management
  • Legal secretaries
  • Medical administration
  • Automotive
  • Bricklaying
  • Complementary therapies
  • Hairdressing
  • Barbering
  • Special effects and media make-up artistry
Levels

Level 3 qualifications are regulated to the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF).

Level 3 is broadly aligned to the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) Level 6 / 7.

Grading

The overall qualifications are graded P, M, D, D*.

Individual units are graded P, M, D. The grades for each unit attract points which are added together to identify the final overarching qualification grade.

Assessment

As noted in Education Context, to be classified as a Tech level qualification the qualification in question must meet certain criteria. This includes:

  • A minimum of 30% external assessment
  • A minimum of 40% mandatory core content
  • An element of synoptic assessment
  • There is a single resit opportunity

The above is the minimum requirements set out by the Department for Education. City & Guilds Technicals are assessed using the following assessment methods:

  • Externally set, externally marked theory exams
  • Externally set, internally marked, externally moderated synoptic assignment.
  • Independent assignments or theory exams (optional units only)

Overall aggregation is graded from mandatory content (synoptic and external test). Optional unit grades do not contribute towards the overall qualification grade. There is no compensation, and only one resit opportunity for each synoptic assessment and exam.

To gain the qualification, learners must achieve a minimum of a Pass in all assessments, including optional units.

For detailed assessment information you should review the specification of the individual qualification you are interested in.

Contribution of assessment components to overall grade

40% externally set and externally marked theory exam; 60% externally set, internally marked and externally moderated synoptic assessment.

Resit arrangements

Reformed qualifications are only allowed one resit opportunity. The resit must be a new task or assignment, different to the original assessment.

Guided/notional learning hours notes

Tech levels require a minimum size of 300 GLH to provide learners with sufficient time for meaningful skills development that will equip them to follow a particular trade or profession, for comparison, the size of one A level is 360 GLH.

UCAS Tariff points

City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Certificate (360)

Grade Points
D* 56
D 48
M 32
P 16

City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Diploma (450)

Grade Points
D* 56
D 48
M 32
P 16

City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Diploma (540)

Grade Points
D* 84
D 72
M 48
P 24

City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Extended Diploma (720)

Grade Points
D* 112
D 96
M 64
P 32

City & Guilds Level 3 Advanced Technical Extended Diploma (1080)

Grade Points
D* 168
D 144
M 96
P 48
Key issues for UK HE admissions

Tech level qualifications are advanced (Level 3) qualifications, mainly taken by 16-19 year old students who want to develop transferable knowledge and skills.

There are a number of key considerations for HEPs when reviewing Tech level qualifications that meet the full DfE criteria from 2018:

  • These qualifications are fundamentally different to their predecessors and Applied General qualifications, and are likely to result in learners developing different skills and aptitudes. HEPs should review their understanding of these qualifications to ensure it remains up to date.
  • The reformed qualifications include both external and synoptic assessment, as well as changes to resit processes. These changes are likely to result in fewer learners passing the qualification. Equally, it is likely that grade distributions will change. In light of this, HEPs may wish to review their entry requirements, offer making and decision-making strategies in relation to these qualifications.
  • The reformed and interim-reformed qualifications will be delivered by schools and colleges at the same time (see ‘Education context’). Therefore, HEPs may wish to consider their approach to setting and listing entry requirements for the specific qualifications.
  • The dual running of the qualification may result in applicants declaring the incorrect version within their application. UCAS will be working to support applicants and advisers in this area.
  • A larger mandatory core means that HEPs who require certain levels of achievement in particular units or ask for specific units to satisfy subject knowledge requirements should familiarise themselves with the new content specifications to ensure that these requirements are still valid. It should be noted that not all learners will be able choose their optional units and these may be prescribed by the school or college, therefore HEPs should be cautious if requiring achievement in optional modules as part of their entry requirements, offer making and decision-making strategies.

Progression to higher education is generally within the vocational area of the Tech level, and may be to a foundation degree.

Applicants holding reformed Tech level qualifications will have had experience of external and synoptic assessment.

Tech level qualifications are supported by at least five employers from the job sector the qualification is related to. All students have to take part in meaningful activity involving employers in the course of their study. Examples are work placements, taking part in projects, or some of the course being taught by someone who works in the industry.

Timing of assessments/results for learners

There is one opportunity in each academic year to sit the synoptic assignment.

  • Results: July

There are two opportunities to sit the theory exam in the same academic year (April and June).

  • Results: May and July (respectively)

Qualification grade awarded: July

Qualification dates notes

These qualifications are current.

Reporting and certification information

The results of City & Guilds Technical qualifications are reported to UCAS through Awarding Body Linkage (ABL).

View the results available through ABL.

Progression information

Tech level qualifications differ in size; some may meet the entry requirements for higher education in their own right in a related area and some may need to be offered in conjunction with other Level 3 qualifications, for instance A levels. In addition, some higher education courses may require specific levels of achievement in particular units or ask for additional qualifications to satisfy subject knowledge requirements.

Progression to HE will probably be in the vocational area of the qualification, and may be to a foundation degree or a Higher National qualification (HNC/HND).

All students have to take part in meaningful activity involving employers in the course of their study. Examples are workplacements, taking part in projects, or some of the course being taught by someone who works in the industry.