First approved digital functional skills awarding body revealed

New courses set to be launched in August 2023

New courses set to be launched in August 2023

The first awarding body to get their digital functional skills qualifications over the line has been revealed.

Gateway Qualifications today announced that regulator Ofqual has signed off on its offer ahead of delivery set to commence in August 2023.

With just four months to go before the launch date, 10 other awarding bodies continue through the stringent approvals process.

Digital functional skills qualifications (DFSQs) have been in the works for several years and form part of the Department of Education’s strategy for digital skills, alongside essential digital skills courses that became available in August 2020.

DFSQs will be available at entry level and level 1 and are being designed to provide learners with the skills to use a range of software applications, navigate the internet and keep safe online.

They will replace all existing functional skills ICT qualifications from July 31, 2023.

Paul Saunders, commercial director at Gateway Qualifications, said: “Digital skills are increasingly important for both life, study and work, and we are pleased to be at the forefront of making available this new, but essential qualification to colleges and training providers across the UK. 

“With the Covid-19 pandemic accelerating the adoption of digital technologies, the need for individuals to have basic digital skills has never been more important.”

Gateway Qualifications was also the first awarding body to gain approval for essential digital skills qualifications in August 2020.

It was in fact the only awarding organisation to get sign off to offer the courses in time for that deadline. The DfE and Ofqual will hope the other awarding organisations seeking to offer DFSQs will not repeat those delays this time around.

Each awarding organisation must go through a “technical evaluation” process with Ofqual to ensure they are “valid and fit for purpose” before being made available to colleges and training providers to deliver.

Ofqual publishes the progress so far for each awarding body and places them on a five-point scale – one being the furthest from approval and five meaning sign off has been granted.

Of the 10 other awarding bodies going through this process for DFSQs, three are at stage four, four are at stage three, and three are at stage one.

OrganisationEntry Level 3Level 1
BCS33
City & Guilds44
Gateway55
Highfield11
iCan Qualifications11
NCFE44
NOCN33
OCNLR44
Pearson33
TLM33
TQUK11
Source: Ofqual

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