AQA have acquired Training Qualifications UK, it has been announced, in a deal which will see it seek to re-establish itself in the vocational awarding market.
The takeover will see all of TQUK’s awarding, international and end-point assessment functions, worth £3.5 million in the 2021/22 financial year, transfer to the awarding giant in a move which AQA described as “a major step into vocational qualifications.”
TQUK has just shy of 290 qualifications on offer from level 1 to level 6 in a range of sectors including health and social care, leadership and management, education and hospitality.
It received EPA approval in 2017 and currently offers EPA services for 29 standards, according to the latest register of end point assessment organisations.
Ofqual’s latest vocational qualifications data puts TQUK and 10th in the ranking of the number of certificates awarded between October 2021 and September 2022 having made 105,180 awards over that period. AQA was ranked 13th over that period having awarded 81,170 certificates.
The acquisition will boost the presence of AQA in the vocational education and training market, as it is currently better known for its GCSE and A level offering.
FE Week understands AQA have been exploring acquisitions in the vocational awarding sector for some time.
Andy Walker, managing director of TQUK, said the staff team, which stood at 65 according to TQUK’s latest accounts, will remain in place. Walker said:
“Our customers will experience the same world-class service and dynamic approach to EPA and awarding they have come to expect from us, at the same time as benefitting from all of the opportunity this partnership will bring. Our team will remain in place, invigorated and committed to progress that will benefit our centres, training providers, learners and apprentices.”
AQA described the acquisition as a “keystone” in its ambition to diversify and reach more learners.
Colin Hughes, chief executive at AQA, said: “This is an exciting step for AQA, and for TQUK, bringing together our standing and expertise in assessment with a dynamic and fast-growing vocational provider. The acquisition puts a keystone into AQA’s plan to deliver more high-quality assessments to a wider range of learners.
“We look forward to working together and combining our assessment, research, talent, and technology expertise to enhance and expand the offering to more students.”