NCFE Level 3 Diploma in Preparing to Work in Renewable Energy Engineering

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This QIP covers a vocational qualification which is not listed on the Department for Education (DfE) 16 – 19 performance tables for England.

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.

  • England
  • Wales

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.

The NCFE Level 3 Diploma in Preparing to Work in Renewable Energy Engineering provides students with a structured and challenging individualised learning programme that supports their development and progression in line with their future career plans.

It is the substantial qualification component of the study programme and aims to enable students to develop the skills, knowledge and understanding required to work in the renewable energy industry or to undertake further learning.

It develops the students’ knowledge and understanding across a range of practices. It enables the student to further develop essential knowledge in areas such as mechanical, electrical and electronic principles, energy efficiency, wind, solar, wave and tidal energy generation.

Students will develop generic, transferable skills valued by employers, such as effective teamwork, communication, planning and health and safety principles.

They will also research job opportunities and assess their strengths in areas such as positive attitude, punctuality and self-motivation.

In addition, the requirement to complete optional units means that students are able to develop more specialist knowledge about different aspects of renewable energy. For those who wish to study at a higher level, the qualification will enable them to develop higher level learning skills such as independent working, research, self-reflection and collaborative learning.

Education context

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 technical 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.

This qualification forms part of a study programme. Study programmes normally include substantial academic or applied and technical qualifications, non-qualification activity including work experience, and the study of English and mathematics where students do not hold a GCSE graded A* – C in these subjects.

Awarding organisation
  • NCFE
Qualification code
601/3194/9 (NCFE Level 3 Diploma in Preparing to Work in Renewable Energy)

Students must successfully complete all mandatory units in Group A and 20 credits from the optional units in Group B.

Students may also choose from additional units in Group C, which do not count towards the achievement of the qualification:

Subject areas

Group A units

  • Introduction to renewable energy engineering (L/506/2424)
  • Mathematics for engineering technicians (R/506/2425)
  • Engineering project (Y/506/2426)
  • Health and safety in the renewable energy engineering workplace (D/506/2427)
  • Mechanical principles and applications (H/506/2428)
  • Features and applications of electrical machines (D/506/2430)
  • Electrical and electronic principles (H/506/2431)
  • Electro, pneumatic and hydraulic systems and devices (K/506/2432)

Group B units

  • Energy efficiency (M/506/2433)
  • Wind energy generation (T/506/2434)
  • Energy from waste (A/506/2435)
  • Solar energy generation (D/506/2444)
  • Wave energy generation (J/506/2437)
  • Tidal energy generation (L/506/2438)
  • Hydroelectric energy generation (R/506/2439)

Group C units

  • Energy management in the renewable energy industry (J/506/2440)
  • Business operations in renewable energy organisations (L/506/2441)
  • Environmental management within organisations (R/506/2442)
  • Quality management for the renewable energy industry (Y/506/2443)
  • Introduction to working in the renewable energy industry (L/506/1371)
  • 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.


The qualification is graded Pass, Merit, Distinction and Distinction*.

The unit grades are aggregated to form the final overall qualification grade. A Distinction* grade will be awarded to students who have consistently achieved a Distinction grade in every unit.


Internally assessed and externally quality assured portfolio of evidence.

Students are set assignments. These may be in the form of briefs, scenarios, problem solving exercises and research investigations. They are contextualised using realistic scenarios. The assessment may require students to write a report, write a business proposal, deliver a presentation, or make conclusions based on extensive research into a practical investigation.

All assessment is criterion-referenced, based on the achievement of specified learning outcomes. Each unit within a qualification has specified assessment guidance.

Contribution of assessment components to overall grade

100% of the assessment is by the internally assessed and externally quality assured portfolio of evidence.

Resit arrangements

To achieve the NCFE Level 3 Diploma in Preparing to Work in Renewable Energy Engineering, students must successfully demonstrate their achievement of all learning outcomes of the units as detailed in the qualification specification.

Students who aren’t successful can resubmit work within the registration period.

Guided/notional learning hours
660 hours
Guided/notional learning hours notes

Total qualification time (TQT): 1,100 hours.

UCAS Tariff points

NCFE Level 3 Diploma in Preparing to Work in Renewable Energy Engineering

Grade Points
D* 112
D 96
M 64
P 32


Key issues for UK HE admissions

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.

Students may combine the Level 3 Diploma in Preparing to Work in Renewable Energy Engineering with other qualifications e.g. A levels or other vocational qualifications.

Timing of assessments/results for learners

Students are assessed throughout their programme of learning and may submit their portfolio of evidence at any point.

Results are provided on a rolling basis.

Qualification dates notes

This qualification is current.

Reporting and certification information

The results of this qualification are reported to UCAS through Awarding Body Linkage (ABL).

View the results available through ABL.

Certification of these qualifications is reported on the basis of the number of certificates achieved over a 12-month period.

Progression information

This qualification has been developed in partnership with employers, universities and other subject experts to ensure that the content is current and relevant and can lead to employment in the renewable energy sector.

For those who wish to study at a higher level, the qualification requires students to analyse, draw conclusions, interpret or justify, which are all examples of higher level skills. These skills support progression to higher education.

Further information