Vocational qualification reform

Where we have identified a need for vocational qualifications to be reformed, for example through the findings of a sector review, we undertake a programme of work to ensure that new qualifications that meet the needs of learners, employers and centres in Wales are developed and made available.

There are two ways in which we can do this. 

We may either: 

  • develop and publish approval criteria and invite awarding bodies to submit qualifications that meet this criteria; or 
  • commission, through a competitive procurement exercise, a single awarding body to develop one or more new qualifications to meet the specific needs of learners in Wales.  

For either of these routes, we engage extensively with learning providers, employers, sector bodies and other interested professionals to identify what each qualification needs to cover, and how it might be best assessed. We also take steps to ensure that learning providers are supported by an effective programme of change management to help them prepare to deliver the new qualifications. 

Our approach is to ensure that each reformed qualification is: 

  • valid: it assesses the right knowledge, skills and understanding in the right way 
  • reliable: it is fair to all learners and tests the same things, to the same extent, no matter where or when it is taken 
  • manageable: learning providers and awarding bodies are able to manage the logistics of teaching and assessing the qualification within reasonable resources; and
  • engaging: so that, in terms of content and assessment, it secures the interest and attention of learners to make it more likely that they will do their best.