- Northern Ireland
These qualifications are listed on the DfE 16–19 performance tables for 2016 and 2017 in the Tech level category.
Tech level qualifications are primarily developed for learners aged 16 – 19 studying on either a full or part-time basis.
Tech levels are aimed at learners with a keen interest in a particular industry, occupation or occupational type.
Along with developing transferable skills required to work within a number of job roles, these qualifications are designed to equip learners with the high level specialist technical knowledge and skills to enable them to work in a specific industry.
They can help provide entry into employment in a particular sector, onto an apprenticeship or into higher education in a related vocational area.
Tech level qualifications are recognised by trade or professional bodies or at least five employers.
Cskills Awards specialise in qualifications in construction, planning and the built environment.
Following the Wolf review of vocational qualifications in England in 2011, the Department for Education announced a number of characteristics that Level 3 Tech level qualifications have to demonstrate in order to feature in performance tables for 2016.
As a result, over 90% of the Level 3 qualifications previously recognised in performance tables will not be recognised in 2016 and beyond.
The new characteristics for Tech levels included in the 2016 performance measures define purpose, size and recognition.
Qualifications to be included in the performance tables from 2018 will have to meet further requirements in respect of content, assessment, and grading.
Qualifications can be included in the 2017 performance tables according to the interim (2016) or full (2018) requirements.
The additional 2018 requirements are reflected in this suite of qualifications, with the exception of the Diploma in Construction Plant or Machinery Maintenance (Construction), Diploma in Plant Maintenance, and Diploma in Wall and Floor Tiling.
- Cskills Awards
The following qualifications consist of mandatory units only:
- Diploma in Bench Joinery
- Diploma in Construction Plant or Machinery Maintenance
- Diploma in Painting and Decorating
- Diploma in Plant Maintenance
- Diploma in Wall and Floor Tiling
The following qualifications consist of mandatory and optional units:
- Diploma in Bricklaying
- Diploma in Plastering
- Diploma in Site Carpentry
- Diploma in Stonemasonry - Banker
Where the qualification comprises mandatory and optional units, the number and proportion of mandatory units differs between subjects.
Some of the mandatory units may be specialised.
The rules of combination for the qualifications specify the minimum credit to be achieved through mandatory and optional units.
- Bench joinery
- Construction plant or Machinery maintenance
- Painting and decorating
- Site Carpentry
- Stonemasonry – banker
- Wall and Floor Tiling
- Level 3
Pass, Merit, Distinction
Assessment – Skills Test
- Practical assignments have been developed for each individual unit, which gives the flexibility to assess learners in the manner most fit for purpose. This gives the option to sign learners off on a unit-by-unit basis to aid with retention and recognise every learners' achievements.
- The practical assignments have been designed so that certain units are able to be delivered together; however others can be delivered in isolation. Ultimately learners will cover all of the skills learning outcomes and assessment criteria for all of the units.
- They are designed to be taken within a simulated construction environment, away from the stresses and distractions experienced on a real site.
- They are practical assignments that are to be taken within a set period of time.
- The assignments can be delivered by single unit, several units at a time or at the end of the whole qualification.
- The assignments are monitored and marked by the trainers.
Assessment – Knowledge Test
- The knowledge assessment is designed to be taken on a computer using the Cskills Awards online testing platform. However paper testing is also available.
- The tests are externally set and marked.
- They are multiple choice tests where learners can choose one of four possible answers.
- The tests cover the learning outcomes for each unit and measures that they have been met.
- Testing can be by single unit, several units at a time or all the units at the end of the whole qualification.
The Skills Test contributes 50% of the overall grade.
The Knowledge Test contributes 50% of the overall grade.
One resit of each test is allowed.
For comparison, one A level is 360 glh, three A levels are 1080 glh
Cskills Awards Level 3 Diploma in Bench Joinery (Construction)
Cskills Awards Level 3 Diploma in Bricklaying (Construction)
Cskills Awards Level 3 Diploma in Construction Plant or Machinery Maintenance (Construction)
Cskills Awards Level 3 Diploma in Painting and Decorating (Construction)
Cskills Awards Level 3 Diploma in Plastering (Construction)
Cskills Awards Level 3 Diploma in Site Carpentry (Construction)
Cskills Awards Level 3 Diploma in Stonemasonry - Banker (Construction)
CSkills Awards Level 3 Diploma in Wall and Floor Tiling (QCF)
Cskills Awards Level 3 Diploma in Plant Maintenance (QCF)
Tech levels are designed to support progression to employment, an apprenticeship or to higher education.
These qualifications meet the full requirements for Tech levels which include:
- a minimum of 30% external assessment
- an element of synoptic assessment
- new rules for internal assessment, with only one opportunity to submit each assessment
- a core of at least 40% of units
Progression to higher education is generally within the vocational area of the Tech level and often to a foundation degree.
There are rolling assessment points.
A certificate is awarded once all knowledge and skills tests have been passed.
The qualifications demonstrate a robust understanding of the subject and sector area.
Holders of the qualifications have the knowledge, skills and understanding to enter employment and/or to progress to Level 4 NVQ in the appropriate subject.
As tech level qualifications they have the rigour to support progression to higher education. This may be in conjunction with other qualifications.
Progression to higher education is likely to be in the vocational area covered by the qualification and may be to a foundation degree.