This toolkit is designed to support providers in their delivery of Higher Technical Education, through the sharing of good practice and highlighting the benefits of offering an approved Higher Technical Qualification.
What are Higher Technical Qualifications
Higher Technical Qualifications are either new or existing Level 4 and 5 qualifications (such as HNDs/Foundation Degrees/Diploma HE) that have been approved by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE) as meeting occupational standards for the relevant sector. These are the same set of standards that are the foundation of apprenticeships and T Levels.
The qualifications have been developed by awarding bodies in collaboration with employers and businesses.
The benefit of studying an approved Higher Technical Qualification is that the knowledge, skills and behaviours that a student will learn and acquire have been identified by employers. This means that on completion of their course, learners will be ready to enter employment or to progress within their chosen occupation or sector. It will also provide a high-quality option for all learners looking to progress from A Levels, T Levels or apprenticeships.
They are largely classroom based, giving the opportunity for practical skills to be learnt in an education setting, through workshops and simulated work environments for example. Flexible classroom learning will also make higher technical skills accessible to workers at different stages of their career. Higher Technical Qualifications are different to apprenticeships which combine practical training in a job with study.
The first teaching of approved Higher Technical Qualifications will be from September 2022 starting with Digital, then Construction and Health and Science in 2023, with full roll-out over a four-year period.
Find out more about Higher Technical Qualifications
How to get a qualification approved as a Higher Technical Qualification
Timelines for future cycles of qualification approval
Which qualifications have been approved as Higher Technical Qualifications so far
If you have questions about the Higher Technical Qualification approvals process or want more information, please contact IfATE on [email protected].
Getting ready to deliver Higher Technical Qualifications
To support providers to offer high quality higher technical courses, we want them to have access to industry standard facilities and equipment, teachers with relevant industrial experience and to broker strong links with employers. To that end, we recently launched an £18 million Growth Fund through which we are supporting over 100 further education (FE) and higher education (HE) providers to get ready for teaching Higher Technical Qualifications. The funding was awarded to successful providers to help them invest in new equipment that will support them to expand technical studies, and boost high-quality training opportunities with businesses in areas including digital, health and science, and construction.
The full list of successful Provider Growth Fund applicants can be found below.
Providers have shared the below examples of how they intend to get ready to offer Higher Technical Qualifications. This information has been gathered through our engagement with Institutes of Technology, Higher Education, Further Education and independent training providers via surveys, webinars, focus groups and Provider Growth Fund applications.
We are keen to make sure these products remain relevant to providers and that they are regularly updated by those offering Higher Technical Qualifications. Please get in touch with the Higher Technical Education team on [email protected] if you would like to share your examples/case studies.
Please note, these are not DfE/ESFA recommendations, but are examples of the types of activities and capital purchases you might want to consider.
We are going to offer HTQs from 2022 in Digital and build upon this into Construction to launch in 2023. We have undertaken the route of HTQs as we believe they have considered skills gaps and the needs of our employers.
By aligning to the technical standards, the HTQs will provide a wider technical training to include skills, knowledge and behaviours associated with the industry and therefore learners studying for a higher technical qualification will be better equipped to join the workforce. The HTQ qualifications are recognised by industry and offer parity with traditional academic qualifications usually obtained by learners attending university. We feel that learners studying and achieving a HTQ will therefore be highly valued by employers.
In order to prepare for delivery of HTQs we are investing in staff training and upskilling. We have undertaken workforce planning exercises to model staffing skills gaps we may face in the future. Where gaps exist, we are investing in staff to upskill and retrain to ensure our staff have the most up to date industry and academic knowledge to deliver the HTQs.
In addition, we are ensuring that our facilities are in line with industry standards in order to ensure our learners and our employer partners can access and train on equipment relevant to the current industry standards.
Newcastle College University Centre
Having the HTQ badge against our courses is a great benefit as it is an extra set of external verification to prospective students and employers that our courses are aligned with industry needs and will equip our students with the correct sets of skills and behaviours that are needed in industry, making our graduates stand out and giving them the best opportunity to be successful in their career choices.
Nelson and Colne College Group
The opportunity to offer HTQs is a real advancement for our sector, for our students and our employers. It creates a base for strong working relationships with local employers and exciting high-tech research.
Solihull College & University Centre
At Solihull College & University centre, we agree that there is a need and opportunity for more young people and adults to be undertaking Higher Technical Qualifications. We are working with awarding bodies and employers to design HTQs to meet skills gaps at levels 4 and 5. We believe in Higher Education that enhances the employability outcomes for our learners; this could be upskilling and retraining staff.
Our goals are to deliver HTQs that are high-value choice for individuals and bring further diversity to our existing Higher Education offer.
Engaging with employers
We want to support providers to offer high quality higher technical courses and develop close links with employers. The benefit of an approved Higher Technical Qualification is that it provides the skills that employers need. Collaboration between providers and local employers to design and/or deliver the curriculum will ensure that the Higher Technical Qualifications on offer reflect the local need and that employers will have access to the qualified workforce that they require.
After a successful construction employer event in September 2021, we will be holding 3 further events in 2021/22 that have been designed to help employers find out everything they need to know about Higher Technical Qualifications and how to get involved. We encourage you to promote these events to your local employers.
Employers can sign up for the following events:
Health and Science, 09:30 to 11:00 Wednesday 3 November
Digital, 11:00 to 12:35 Wednesday 1 December
Apprenticeship Ambassadors, 11:00 to 12:35 Tuesday 25 January
Use of quality mark
We have developed a Higher Technical Qualifications quality mark to be used prominently and clearly, as a vital part of our strategy to promote this new option to potential students.
Through the quality mark, we want to:
promote approved Higher Technical Qualifications
raise awareness of the Higher Technical Qualification programme amongst potential students, employers and the general public
signal the employer value these courses offer
For more information about how you can use the quality mark and to download the logo, please see the branding guidelines on our Higher Technical Qualifications page.
Have your say
We want to keep our conversation with providers going to ensure that this content remains up to date and as useful as possible. We are particularly interested to hear your views on the following questions, but please get in touch with the team on [email protected] for any related enquiries.
What’s working well as you prepare to teach Higher Technical Qualifications?
Is there anything you’d like to share with other providers regarding the delivery of Higher Technical Qualifications?
What do you want to know about how other providers are getting ready to deliver Higher Technical Qualifications?
What resources or contacts would help you?
Do you have any other questions about delivering Higher Technical Qualifications?