YMCA Awards (previously CYQ) Tech levels (interim-reformed)

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The QIP covers all YMCA 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.

In June 2015 YMCA Awards changed its name from CYQ to better reflect the wider learning systems and structure.

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.


The aim of the YMCA awards in Personal Training is to recognise the skills, knowledge and understanding required for an individual to work unsupervised as a personal trainer. This includes being able to offer one-to-one training, baseline assessment, nutritional advice and progressive programming which is specific to individual needs.

The Diploma in Personal Training and Instruction allows for additional knowledge and skills in the areas of business planning, outdoor fitness and sports conditioning.

The Diploma in Personal Training (Gym-based Exercise) has the prerequisite qualification (Level 2 Certificate in Fitness Instructing) built into it, allowing learners with no previous skills or knowledge to progress straight onto the personal training qualification.

The qualifications are designed for:

  • those who want to pursue a career in the health and fitness industry as a self-employed or employed personal trainer
  • those wishing to use the qualification as a platform for progression on to further learning within the health and fitness or active leisure sectors, such as:
    • a degree in exercise and sports science
    • a degree in personal training

The qualifications feature in the Advanced Fitness and Exercise SASE apprenticeship framework. They are industry recognised and allow Level 3 entry to the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs). In 2016/17 SFA catalogue they feature as legal entitlement qualifications.

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 2016/17 YMCA 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.


YMCA Awards specialises in qualifications in the leisure sector. In June 2015 it changed its name from CYQ to better reflect the wider learning systems and structure. The qualifications are listed as CYQ in the published list of those included in 2016/17 performance measures.

Awarding organisation
  • YMCA Awards
Qualification codes
600/1275/4 (Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training and Instruction)
601/0195/7 (Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training (Gym-based Exercise))
Structure

These qualifications can be taken over a variety of periods; as part of an advanced apprenticeship they are typically taken over a 12 month period.

They are credit-based and unitised; each comprises 10 mandatory units.

For specific unit and content information, please view the qualification specification on the YMCA Awards website.

Subject areas
  • Personal training and instruction
  • Personal training (gym-based exercise)
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

Pass

Assessment

The qualifications comprise a combination of internal knowledge and competence assessments and three or four external theory paper assessments each lasting approximately one hour.

The Diploma in Personal Training and Instruction requires the completion of 48 credits.

The Diploma in Personal Training (gym-based exercise) requires the completion of 52 credits.

Contribution of assessment components to overall grade

All unit assessments need to gain a pass mark to achieve an overall pass for the qualifications.

Resit arrangements

Students can resit the qualifications as many times as they wish, within the shelf life of the qualification.

Guided/notional learning hours
Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training and Instruction: 340 hours
Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training (Gym-based Exercise: 346 hours
Guided/notional learning hours notes

Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training and Instruction – this qualification includes an additional 140 hours (practice/ assessment/ homework) Total hours 480.

Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training (Gym-based Exercise) – this qualification includes an additional 174 other hours (practice/ assessment/ homework) Total hours 520.

UCAS Tariff points

YMCA Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training (Gym - Based Exercise) (QCF)

Grade Points
P 32

YMCA Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training and Instruction (QCF)

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

Students are assessed throughout the course.

There are no set assessment days or periods; these are scheduled by the training providers.

External assessments require a seven day notice period to the awarding organisation.

Qualification dates notes

These qualifications are current.

Reporting and certification information

The results of YMCA Award qualifications are not reported to UCAS through Awarding Body Linkage (ABL). This does not reflect the validity of the qualification. HE providers will need to ask applicants to provide their own evidence of achievement.

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.

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.


These qualifications may support progression to degree or higher learning in the exercise sciences, personal training and strength and conditioning fields of study, in conjunction with other qualifications.

A holder of the qualification is entitled to work as a fitness instructor or personal trainer; this can be done in combination with further study.

They help to enhance the practical skills a learner would require when entering one of these fields of work and highlight how the knowledge learned at degree level can be practically applied.

Specific progression routes may include:

  • apprenticeship in exercise and fitness
  • Level 3 Certificate in Sports Massage (Soft Tissue Therapy)
  • Level 3 Diploma in Exercise Referral
  • other Level 3 and 4 sector related courses
  • HE degree in exercise and sports science (alongside HE entry requirement qualifications)
  • HE degree in personal training (alongside HE entry requirement qualifications)