How to engineer a qualification

Why partnership is key to crafting the qualifications of the future.

Why partnership is key to crafting the qualifications of the future.

2 Nov 2023, 9:00

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Pearson is joining forces with employers like Schneider Electric and a wide range of other provider stakeholders to integrate innovation and industry-relevant skills into their upcoming Engineering Higher Technical Qualifications (HTQs).

These HTQs, ranging from Level 4 to Level 5, are poised to become alternatives to traditional apprenticeships and degrees. With rigorous standards set by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE), these qualifications ensure practicality and relevance to the ever-evolving job landscape.

HTQs have garnered enthusiastic support from all sides. Despite policy shifts, demand remains strong, and employers and colleges alike recognise their intrinsic value and have been investing time and finances to assure their success.

For providers, HTQs can be particularly useful in addressing skills gaps within specific sectors. From an employer perspective, according to Pearson’s recent Skills Outlook report, two-thirds (62 per cent) of business leaders are worried about finding recruits with the right skills for their vacancies. A third (36 per cent) revealed they have not expanded due to the skills gap.

David Abrahams, a Key Client Manager for Schneider Electric’s IT’s Global Operations division, has worked with Pearson to develop the new Engineering HTQs.

“We are committed to shaping the future of buildings, infrastructure and industries through innovation,” says David. “To do this, we need a steady influx of recruits who possess not only the core skills needed in this highly technical field but also the softer skills that allow them to work effectively within a team, network and flourish into leadership roles.”

Dr Sahithi Siva, Pearson’s Subject Lead for Engineering for Higher Education, currently working on Higher National product development, echoes this sentiment: “We greatly value employer participation and appreciate the commitment they make, and David has been fantastic. The process is rigorous, but the outcomes benefit everyone involved.”

Getting HTQs approved by IfATE involves mapping knowledge, skills, and behaviours, and ensuring the qualification aligns with industry standards. This process is iterative, requiring frequent feedback and amendments, followed by approval from OFQUAL and a separate submission process with IfATE. “It is a complex, lengthy process but is essential to ensure the quality and relevance of our qualifications,” states Sathithi.

Pearson is actively working to future-proof its qualification units, ensuring they remain relevant for at least the next five years. The company also developed a new space technologies Higher National qualification to deliver the space engineering technician standard, with organisations like Airbus Defence and Space and National Space Agency providing crucial feedback.

As technology progresses at a breakneck pace, Pearson believes partnership with employers and providers is vital for ensuring innovation is built into qualifications and learners acquire the hard and soft skills needed for the future and thrive in tomorrow’s industries. Pearson has recently received accreditation for HTQs in the Digital, Construction, Healthcare, Sport, Business, and Engineering sectors, and is planning to develop more HTQs in some of these key sectors. Find out more about developing and delivering HTQs with Pearson

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