New level two qualifications called substantial vocational qualifications (SVQs) have been revealed by the government today.
They have been designed to help 16 to 19-year-olds with basic skills needs to go straight into a skilled trade or move onto a related Tech-Level.
Skills Minister Matthew Hancock said: “Substantial vocational qualifications at level two provide students aged 16 to 19 with a route into a skilled trade or occupation, where employers recognise entry at this level — most construction trades, care work and hairdressing, for example.
“They will also provide access to Tech-Levels. All of these qualifications will require public backing from employers, giving students confidence that the qualification they are taking is genuinely valued.”
A Department for Education (DfE) spokesperson said SVQs, available from September next year, would, “meet tough new criteria, including rigorous assessment arrangements and a requirement for employers to be involved, for example through work placements or projects set by industry practitioners”.
Official guidance on vocational qualifications for 16 to 19-year-olds, out today, also said SVQs could “provide a ‘licence to practise’ or exemption from professional exams”.
Mr Hancock also announced that new technical awards — vocational qualifications for 14 to 16-year-olds — would be available from September next year.
The awards will be studied alongside a minimum of five core GCSEs, including maths and English and could be studied in University Technical Colleges.
The DfE spokesperson said they would “have to meet tough new criteria on employer value, marking them out as gold-standard qualifications”.
Mr Hancock said: “Technical awards will give students the opportunity to learn practical skills which are valued by employers from the age of 14 and are recognised in the school performance tables.
“They can be studied alongside core GCSEs and offer a crucial first step towards securing a high quality vocational education.”