We are putting in place new standards for vocational qualifications that are on a par with GCSEs. These new, rigorous and demanding Technical Awards will have to meet specifications so they properly prepare young people for the world of work, Skills and Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock announced today (18 June 2014).
The qualifications for 14- to 16-year-olds will have to meet tough new criteria on employer value, marking them out as gold-standard qualifications. They will allow pupils to study real-life practical and technical skills that are used in daily life and can act as a starting point for a future career.
The government has already removed thousands of low-quality vocational qualifications for 14- to 16-year-olds, ensured qualifications are rigorously assessed and graded and introduced employer-led rigorous qualifications.
Now the government is going further by introducing Technical Awards, which have a higher requirement for external assessment and command the respect of employers, meaning young people can be sure they are rigorous and valuable. Pupils can study up to 3 Technical Awards alongside a minimum of 5 core GCSEs, which will ensure strong grounding in core skills like English and maths alongside vocational options.
Developed in partnership with employers they will offer opportunities to develop knowledge and practical skills that are essential in our growing economy. Previously, courses were offered to students with no indication that they would lead to further training and on to employment.
From September 2015, Technical Awards will be the first step on a new vocational route available to young people through from the ages of 14 to 19:
for 14- to 16-year-olds, pupils will be able to study Technical Awards alongside GCSEs
for 16- to 19-year-olds, alongside or instead of A levels, students will be able to study Tech Levels -Tech Levels can be studied as part of the TechBacc, which also comprises an advanced maths qualification and extended research project
after completing school and college, young people will be ready for an advanced apprenticeship, university or skilled employment