VTCT Tech levels (interim-reformed)

Last updated
Last verified
The QIP covers all VTCT Tech level (interim-reformed) qualifications that do not meet the full requirements set by the Department for Education (DfE) and do not contribute towards performance measures for 2018.

These qualifications meet the interim-reformed requirements for 2016 and/or 2017 performance tables.

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.

VTCT focuses on qualifications in the hair and beauty, and hospitality and catering sectors.

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. The qualifications listed in this QIP are classified as Tech level qualifications however do not meet the full criteria to count towards performance tables from 2018 in respect of content, assessment and grading. 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 2016 and/or 2017 VTCT Tech levels meet the interim requirements set by the DfE and therefore may be offered in schools and colleges alongside the 2018 fully reformed versions:

 

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

As noted in the table above, the 2016/17 and 2018 versions of Tech level qualifications are fundamentally different.

For more information on the specific changes to 2018 Tech levels, please refer to a reformed QIP. Please also see ‘Key issues for UK HE admissions’ for some additional considerations when assessing these qualifications.

Further information about Tech level qualifications, and the range of qualifications that meet the 2018 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.  Applied Generals 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 qualification.

Awarding organisation
  • VTCT
Qualification codes
500/8737/X (VTCT Level 3 Diploma in African-Caribbean Hairdressing)
600/8708/0 (VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Hairdressing Studies)
600/1482/9 (VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Women's Hairdressing)
500/7389/8 (VTCT Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Hairdressing)
600/8709/2 (VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Barbering Studies)
600/1484/2 (VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Barbering)
500/7386/2 (VTCT Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Barbering)
600/8761/4 (VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Fashion, Theatre and Media Hair and Make-up studies)
501/0896/7 (VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Theatrical, Special Effects and Hair and Media Make-Up)
600/4803/7 (VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Advanced Professional Cookery)
600/4804/9 (VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Advanced Professional Cookery (Kitchen and Larder))
600/9005/4 (VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Professional Cookery Studies)
600/4805/0 (VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Professional Patisserie and Confectionery)
600/4806/2 (VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Food and Beverage Service Supervision)
600/8665/8 (VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Beauty Therapy Studies)
600/8662/2 (VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Beauty Therapy Studies (Make-up))
600/8664/6 (VTCT Level 3 Certificate in Beauty Therapy Studies (Massage))
600/4846/3 (VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Complementary Therapies)
600/8663/4 (VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Spa Therapy Studies)
600/8908/8 (VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Nail Technology Studies)
601/4323/X (VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training (Gym Based Exercise))
601/4324/1 (VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training (Specific Populations))
600/8635/X (VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Preventing Injuries in Sport and Leisure Services)
Structure

Interim-reformed Tech levels are unit based, with a minimum of 30% mandatory units.The qualifications consist of mandatory units and optional units and 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. Details of Rules of Combination can be found by searching individual qualification details on the VTCT website at: www.vtct.org.uk/find-a-centre.

Hairdressing and barbering qualifications have four-six mandatory units and 12-13 optional units.

The Diploma in Theatrical, Special Effects and Hair and Media Make-Up contains eight mandatory units and learners must achieve at least two out of a choice of 25 optional units.

Sports qualifications contain between 10 and 15 mandatory units (no optional units).

The Diploma in Professional Cookery Studies contains five mandatory units and learners must achieve at least one out of a choice of 18 optional units.

Subject areas
  • Hairdressing
  • Barbering
  • Beauty therapy
  • Sports sciences and the active leisure industry
  • Sport and exercise science(s)
  • Hospitality: professional cookery
  • Advanced Professional Cookery
  • Advanced Professional Cookery (Kitchen and Larder)
  • African-Caribbean Hairdressing
  • Barbering Studies
  • Beauty Therapy Studies
  • Beauty Therapy Studies (make-up)
  • Complementary Therapies
  • Fashion, Theatre and Media Hair and Make-up Studies
  • Food and Beverage Service Supervision
  • Hairdressing Studies
  • Nail Technology Studies
  • Preventing Injuries in Sport and Leisure Services
  • Professional Patisserie and Confectionery
  • Spa Therapy Studies
Levels
  • Level 3

These are Level 3 qualifications regulated to the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF).¹

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


¹ The QCF was a credit-based transfer system which recognised qualifications and units by awarding credits. It has now been withdrawn for all new qualifications and replaced by the RQF. The RQF is the new system for cataloguing all qualifications regulated by Ofqual, indexing them by level and size.

Grading

All units and qualifications are graded Pass/Fail.

Assessment

Assessment arrangements differ between subjects.

Much of the assessment is internal; some qualifications require no external assessment.

Internal assessment generally comprises a combination of multiple choice questions, oral questioning and practical observation.

Some qualifications require a compulsory external examination; the subjects with an externally assessed examination component are:

  • Fashion, Theatre and Media, Hair and Make-Up Studies
  • Complementary Therapies
  • Beauty Therapy Studies
  • Beauty Therapy Studies (make-up)
  • Hairdressing Studies
  • Nail Technology Studies
  • Preventing Injuries in Sport and Active Leisure
  • Spa Therapy Studies

Some units are assessed by portfolio of evidence, some by external examination. Specific details are available by searching the qualification in the VTCT website at: www.vtct.org.uk/find-a-centre.

Contribution of assessment components to overall grade

All assessment components as detailed in the Rules of Combination must be passed to achieve the overall qualifications. All assessment components contribute equally to the overall qualification grade.

Resit arrangements

There are no resit arrangements – qualifications are claimed once all assessment criteria have been achieved. Where the qualification has examinations, learners are allowed a maximum of three attempts at each paper. A minimum of three papers is provided for each examination.

Guided/notional learning hours
VTCT Level 3 Diploma in African-Caribbean Hairdressing: 457 hours
VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Hairdressing Studies: 350 hours
VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Women's Hairdressing (520 TQT): 422 hours
VTCT Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Hairdressing (580 TQT): 439 hours
VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Barbering Studies: 363 hours
VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Barbering (520 TQT): 431 hours
VTCT Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Barbering (470 TQT): 134 hours
VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Fashion, Theatre and Media Hair and Make-up studies: 333 hours
VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Theatrical, Special Effects and Hair and Media Make-Up (480 TQT): 455 hours
VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Advanced Professional Cookery: 785 hours
VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Advanced Professional Cookery (Kitchen and Larder): 555 hours
VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Professional Cookery Studies (480 TQT): 455 hours
VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Professional Patisserie and Confectionery: 384 hours
VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Food and Beverage Service Supervision: 347 hours
VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Beauty Therapy Studies: 424 hours
VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Beauty Therapy Studies (Make-up): 350 hours
VTCT Level 3 Certificate in Beauty Therapy Studies (Massage): 306 hours
VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Complementary Therapies: 520 hours
VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Spa Therapy Studies: 329 hours
VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Nail Technology Studies: 336 hours
VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training (Gym-Based Exercise) (520 TQT): 346 hours
VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training (Specific Populations) (580 TQT): 377 hours
VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Preventing Injuries in Sport and Leisure Services: 408 hours
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

VTCT Level 3 Diploma in African Caribbean Hairdressing

Grade Points
P 32

VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Hairdressing Studies

Grade Points
P 32

VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Women's Hairdressing

Grade Points
P 32

VTCT Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Hairdressing

Grade Points
P 32

VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Barbering Studies

Grade Points
P 32

VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Barbering (431 glh)

Grade Points
P 32

VTCT Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Barbering

Grade Points
P 32

VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Fashion, Theatre and Media Hair and Make-Up Studies

Grade Points
P 32

VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Theatrical, Special Effects and Hair and Media Make-Up

Grade Points
P 32

VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Advanced Professional Cookery (785 glh)

Grade Points
P 64

VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Advanced Professional Cookery (Kitchen and Larder)

Grade Points
P 48

VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Professional Cookery Studies

Grade Points
P 32

VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Professional Patisserie and Confectionery (384 glh)

Grade Points
P 32

VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Food and Beverage Service Supervision

Grade Points
P 32

VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Beauty Therapy Studies

Grade Points
P 32

VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Beauty Therapy Studies (Make-Up)

Grade Points
P 32

VTCT Level 3 Certificate in Beauty Therapy Studies (Massage)

Grade Points
P 24

VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Complementary Therapies (520-550 glh)

Grade Points
P 48

VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Spa Therapy Studies

Grade Points
P 32

VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Nail Technology Studies

Grade Points
P 32

VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training (Gym Based Exercise)

Grade Points
P 32

VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training (Specific Populations)

Grade Points
P 32

VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Preventing Injuries in Sport and Active Leisure

Grade Points
P 32
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 skillsspecialise in a specific industry, occupation, or occupational group. They equip students with specialist knowledge and skills.

There are a number of key considerations for HEPs when reviewing Tech level qualifications that do not meet the full DfE criteria from 2018:

  • Applicants holding interim-reformed Tech level qualifications may not have had experience of external or synoptic assessment.
  • 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.
  • These qualifications are fundamentally different to the reformed versions and 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. HEPs may also wish to consider their approach to setting and listing entry requirements for the specific qualifications, and any differences should be clearly articulated.

Tech levels are designed to support progression to employment, an apprenticeship, or to higher education.

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

The exact curriculum studied may depend on the choice of optional units taken.

Timing of assessments/results for learners

Internal assessments may be completed at any time. All external exams are online on-demand, results are available to examinations officers immediately.            

Qualification date
Until 31 Jul 2018 (Currently set as last registration date for all qualifications)
Qualification dates notes

All qualifications are current. From September 2017 some of these are legacy qualifications.

Reporting and certification information

The results of VTCT Tech level (interim-reformed) qualifications are reported to UCAS through Awarding Body Linkage (ABL).

View the results available through ABL.

VTCT will supply results to UCAS in September 2018. Certification information is reported to Ofqual. Available by contacting customersupport@vtct.org.uk.

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.

These qualifications offer progression to higher education, an apprenticeship, or employment.

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).

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.

Details of progression opportunities can be found by searching individual qualification details on the VTCT website at: www.vtct.org.uk/find-a-centre/.

Further information

View DfE’s technical guidance

Full specifications can be found by searching individual qualification details on the VTCT website at: www.vtct.org.uk/find-a-centre/ and http://qualifications.vtct.org.uk/finder/qualfinder