VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Financial Trading

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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

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.

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 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.

Awarding organisation
  • VTCT
Qualification code

To be awarded the VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Financial Trading, students must achieve all three mandatory units:

  1. Financial market forces and their effects on the financial markets (40 GLH)
  2. Financial asset classes, underlying markets, and back office functions (40 GLH)
  3. Foundation financial trading strategies (40 GLH)

There are no optional units.

Subject areas
  • Accounting and financial studies
  • 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.




Students must produce a portfolio which contains assessed evidence, covering all the assessment criteria in the three units.

Students will apply knowledge in a simulated environment.

Data will be provided on a 15-minute delayed basis, with Students being able to view and apply knowledge to a variety of financial asset classes and products.

Contribution of assessment components to overall grade


Resit arrangements


Guided/notional learning hours
122 hours
UCAS Tariff points

VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Financial Trading

Grade Points
P 16


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 apprenticeship
  • This qualification is 122 GLH. If it is presented for admission to HE, it is likely to be in conjunction with other qualifications
Timing of assessments/results for learners

Results are available at the time of claiming the certificate.

Qualification date
Starting from 01 Nov 2016 (End date not set)
Reporting and certification information

The results of the VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Financial Trading qualification are reported to UCAS through Awarding Body Linkage (ABL).

View the results available through ABL.

Progression information

The primary purpose of this qualification is to prepare students for employment in a range of supporting roles in the financial services industry, for example, back office support/administrator, trainee compliance officer, investment administration, or trainee risk manager.

Further information

The specification for this qualification can found be found under the 'Documents' tab: www.qualifications.vtct.org.uk/finder/qualfinder/qual.php?qual=BU3D1