2 July 2021 Sophie Noble

Gatsby welcomes the first set of approved digital Higher Technical Qualifications by the Institute for Apprenticeship and Technical Education (IFATE), alongside the unveiling of its new quality mark.

Thirty Higher Education Qualifications have been approved for teaching from September 2022, to provide training for digital occupations including cyber security, software development, and network engineering. The government quality mark given to these qualifications will help employers and learners identify which programmes will deliver the knowledge, skills, and behaviours they need.   

Higher technical qualifications and higher apprenticeships work for both young people and adults, as a direct route into skilled careers or as flexible and affordable opportunities to upskill or retrain later in life. The new approval process for higher technical qualifications, originally recommended in the Sainsbury Review, is part of the government’s wholesale reforms to higher technical education (HTE). HTE is a critical part of England’s education provision, and the proposed reforms aim to place students and employers at the heart of the system, which in turn will close skills gaps and boost productivity.

Alongside other providers of higher technical education, Institutes of Technology (IoTs), another key component of the Government’s reforms, will be flagships for the delivery of STEM Higher Technical Qualifications. IoTs are unique collaborations between further education colleges, universities, and leading employers focused on strengthening higher technical education and boosting productivity in their local region.

Ginny Page, Director of Programmes at Gatsby, said:
“Clearer signalling of nationally-approved Higher Technical Qualifications represents a vital step in opening up progression routes for learners of all ages into high-killed occupations, particularly those starting their career journey with T Levels. It will also help teachers, parents and careers professionals support young people to better navigate the often confusing landscape of post-18 options.”

Gillian Keegan, Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills, said:
"I am delighted that the Institute has announced the first set of approved Higher Technical Qualifications. These digital qualifications, for first teaching in September 2022, are the next step in our reforms to technical education designed to improve the quality and choice of options for learners and employers. For the first time, learners and employers will know which digital Level 4 and 5 qualifications map to employer-led standards for specific roles – a great option for students aged 18-plus and adults looking to retrain or upskill."

The second approvals window for higher technical qualifications will open on 5 July and will welcome applications from the health and science and construction sectors, as well as digital. This will run until 17 September 2021.

To learn more about higher technical qualifications, please see here.

To learn more about Gatsby’s interest in this area, read this blog by Ginny Page.